Abstracts: February 11th, 2009

This research into teleworking, where people work from home for some of the time, instead of travelling to a place of work, was commissioned by the Department for Transport.

It describes attitudes towards teleworking, the factors and conditions motivating and facilitating different groups to work this way along with barriers preventing this type of working. It also outlines the impact of teleworking on travel choices and behaviour.

Researchers found that barriers to teleworking included disquiet about the blurring of the work-life boundary where participants described being unable to switch-off. There was also an increased sense of isolation when teleworking, and in particular missing the sociability and face-to-face interaction associated with the workplace.

Self discipline was considered to be a key personal attribute or characteristic associated with successful teleworking. Self-discipline was described by some teleworkers as comprising a number of vital characteristics including an ability to stay focused until work is completed. This included ‘blocking out’ domestic tasks until work is finished. It is also essential to structure and plan work tasks for the day and to agree with friends that if they visit during working hours they will rearrange the visit for another time.

It was also found that self discipline was required to get back to work after scheduled breaks, for example lunch with partner.

Understanding needs, attitudes and behaviours of teleworkers is available from the DfT. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/scienceresearch/social/teleworkers/travelbehavioursofteleworker.pdf