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Teleworkers happier than those in office

Nov. 17, 2010 at 1:45 AM

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Employees who telecommute avoid distracting and stressful aspects of the workplace and as a result have decreased work-life conflict, U.S. researchers say.

Kathryn Fonner of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Michael Roloff of Northwestern University say workers who telework at least three days a week benefit from the flexible work arrangement to accommodate family life -- while alienation from workplace communication, often cited as the biggest telecommuting disadvantage, was minimal, the study's participants said.

Teleworkers say they exchanged information with co-workers less frequently than those in the office, but both groups had similar timely access to work-related information, the researchers found.

Meanwhile, the telecommuters were shielded from much of the distracting and stressful aspects of the workplace, such as office politics, interruptions, constant meetings and information overload, Fonner said.

"Our findings emphasize the advantages of restricted face-to-face interaction, and also highlight the need for organizations to identify and address the problematic and unsatisfying issues inherent in collocated work environments," Fonner said in a statement. "With lower stress and fewer distractions, employees can prevent work from seeping into their personal lives."

The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research.

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