Surveys Show Why Non-Traditional Work Environments Are Becoming More Popular

wahjobsWorking from home used to be the exception rather than the norm, but according to a recent Accountemps survey, more large companies are allowing — even encouraging — their employees to work outside of the office.

According to the survey results, chief financial officers (CFOs) at big companies (more than 1,000 employees) are becoming more supportive of work-from-home policies, even more so than CFOs at small businesses (20 to 49 employees).

From interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas, researchers found that 68% of CFOs at large companies believe that remote working opportunities are becoming more popular and effective, while only 34% of CFOs at small businesses believe that this trend is on the rise.

Ultimately, as Consumer Affairs states, this survey makes two conclusions very clear:

  • Workers who want the flexibility of working from home (or from any remote areas outside of a traditional office) have a better chance of finding that flexibility at a large company.

  • Larger companies have likely had more resources to experiment with turning traditional office jobs into telecommuting positions; up until a few years ago, it was widely accepted that “employees would be unproductive if not supervised by a hovering boss in an office environment.”

The study also found that most CFOs had similar reasons for supporting remote work environments: 35% said that remote work opportunities fostered better morale and employee retention rates, and 28% believe that these opportunities actually boosted productivity simply because it eliminates the time wasted by commuting every day.

“Among the biggest benefits of a virtual office is the low cost options which are available,” says Linda Grund, Center Manager, STAT Office Solutions. “You can have a prestigious address and local telephone number, while dramatically reducing the overhead cost that would be incurred with traditional office space. A virtual office can be up and running in one day, which is simply not possible with a traditional office. You can establish yourself as a local presence in a particular market, thus complying with government regulations.”

But the benefits of telecommuting jobs don’t just apply to the companies; the flexibility allowed with remote jobs may actually lead to better overall health and happiness of employees. According to a Pennsylvania State University research study conducted by the school’s biobehavioral health department, the nine-to-five work day in traditional office environments likely plays a major role the number of American adults who are chronically sleep-deprived.

The Penn State study followed 474 individuals, half with flexible work schedules and half with strict traditional work schedules. The people who had more flexibility were overwhelmingly healthier and content, and even got more sleep — every single night — than the workers on strict schedules.

Since it’s estimated that about 30% of all American adults are sleep-deprived, this shift in the traditional corporate environment could actually be a major game-changer, both in terms of business productivity and overall health.