Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) posted a study titled Productivity, Engagement and Workplace in which they discussed the opinions of employees in regards to commuting to work and what limits they are willing to accept in order to continue their commute vs looking for another job.
This got me thinking about my life and how my commute really affects my lifestyle. In the report, JLL states that 1 hr 45 min is the maximum acceptable commuting time for the employees surveyed. They also indicate that 9 in 10 employees hope to be able to telecommute.
In thinking about about this, I posted the article on my Facebook page and posed the following thought “I don’t quite understand why more companies aren’t seeing this as a true work benefit and figuring out ways to make it happen. I spend almost 3 hours per work day commuting to do a job that I could do from my computer at home.”
One of my Facebook friends stated that she had this discussion at work recently and they came to the conclusion that there is too much risk for hacking into the network and thus telecommuting isn’t an option.
I happen to believe that the security of the network is an issue that can be handled and that can’t be the only reason that telecommuting is so limited. My personal belief is that companies don’t have faith in their employees to believe they will be as productive and the company won’t have the control over the daily production that they currently do. This too, in my opinion, is not a valid point because there are measuring criteria that can be used for production from someone at home just as there are for those in the office.
What then is the reason behind a lack of telecommuting jobs? How do we find jobs that allow telecommuting? Is Telecommuting even a word that should be used anymore with the advancement in technology?
I have a friend from high school who lives in Maine and works for a company based out of Washington DC. She has been working with a local organization to spread awareness of a term she coined, “Work-in-place.” This essentially means a person who works where they are without having to report to a centralized office location with the rest of their coworkers. You can see a panel discussion here. The video is about an hour long, but it has a great discussion about some of the benefits for both employees and employers. The problem is there really isn’t much data available for research on this topic.
With the advancement in technology and people living further and further away from their workplace (or are they?) due to urban sprawl, what is the future of the traditional office space? How will the desire to “work in place” impact commercial real estate? How do we, as developers, need to keep the idea of the “Third Place” in our development ideas? How does quality of life affect people’s decision on where to live vs work? This is probably a topic I will explore further in future blog posts.