Survey Shows that Managers Support Teleworking, But Have Concerns

Sept. 25, 2007
Business leaders and managers are becoming more comfortable with their staff working remotely

According to a survey of more than 1,100 managers by Sunnyvale, CA-based SonicWALL Inc., business leaders and managers are becoming more comfortable with their staff working remotely, although concerns remain about the impact of the remote work force on employee productivity, effective team building, and computer security.

The survey of management views on remote working, conducted in the United States and Australia, indicates that more than half of the respondents believe that offering their employees the ability to work remotely is a competitive necessity or, at a minimum, a motivating perk for employees. More than a third of the managers surveyed have employees that work out of the office more than 20 percent of the time.

The chief reasons for managers with no formal remote worker policy to change their minds are employee motivation (26 percent), cost of office space (15 percent), rising gas prices (14 percent), and traffic or weather conditions (14 percent).

Half the poll takers also reported that their firms have formal remote worker policies in place, but, despite the growing support for offsite working, business leaders identified several concerns unique to managing a remote work force. The top three anxieties included worry over whether their remote workers will remain productive, challenges to building strong teams, and concerns about potential security breaches.

Location of their remote workers also matters to managers. Most (22 percent) prefer to think of their staff working from home, followed by 16 percent who find working from hotel business centers acceptable. Coffee shops, airports, public libraries, and wireless hotspots received limited support.

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