How working from home affects wage growth

by Lauren Acurantes23 Jan 2017
A study recently released by researchers from the University of Iowa (UI) and the University of Texas (UT) revealed that telecommuting or working from home adds more time to an employees work week with little to no extra pay.

"To think that telecommuting eases the burden may be a little simplistic,” said Mary Noonan, study co-author and professor of sociology at UI to Science Daily. 

“It cuts down on commuting time, and it appears to add more flexibility to the work day. But it can extend the day, and it doesn't get you much more in terms of wage growth," she added.

The study was based on a long-running survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which polled workers from 1989 to 2008, with workers reporting that they have telecommuted at some point during the survey period.

They found that workers who opt to work part-time from home during a regular work week end up working at least three hours more per week without claiming (or being offered) overtime pay.

"It doesn't seem like telecommuting is used by people to replace work hours. When people telecommute, they use it mostly to do more work," said Noonan.

She also added that employees who work from home feel added pressure to be more productive than those who are visible in the office and working mothers experience the added stress of juggling home life with work.

"There's a lot more stress with some people that if they don't do more, they could lose their jobs, and if they don't do their job, stay connected, the next person will. It's hard when there's anxiety about performing," she said.

Noonan said one bright side is that some employers now understand the value of offering telecommuting to talented workers and have either actively discouraged employees to working overtime at home or offered to pay for the extra hours.

Her advice is for companies and employees to come up with a way for companies and employees to track their time and keep each other apprised of work done away from the office.

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