Survey shows e-workers beat stress and meet goals

12 Nov 2003

People who use e-working technologies during their working day experience less stress in their lives and enjoy a better work/life balance, a new study has found.

The project studied 60 workers in Eircom, Eastern Health Shared Services and the Department of Finance over a nine-month period from September 2002 until May 2003. The participants worked between home and the office using the latest internet and computing technologies.

The project found that 90pc of the participants discovered that they suffered significantly less stress in their lives as a result of e-working. Some 87pc of the 60 workers discovered they had more spare time and used this to improve their work/life balance.

Half of the workers used the spare time for family activities and responsibilities. A further 25pc became involved in leisure activities whilst 12pc engaged in community activities.

The HR director of Eircom, Brian Montague said: “In Eircom we have over 2,000 staff who participate in some form of e-working. We feel that e-working as a means of flexible working accommodates the needs of both the company and the employee. Eircom’s rollout of broadband makes e-working a very viable option for employees and businesses alike. Using broadband, e-workers can be networked directly and securely into their companies’ computer network, have up to 10 times faster internet speeds and managers can easily control costs due to the flat-rate nature of broadband.”

Almost 60pc of the workers surveyed saved a significant amount of time commuting each week. Of these, 29pc saved more than nine hours each week, 17pc saved between six and nine hours and 33pc of the e-workers saved from three to six hours commuting each week.

Before the study started, it is understood that project managers expressed concern about the day-to-day management of their e-working staff. The project found that these concerns were not realised. Over the nine-month period, work objectives were met, delivery of results remained constant and work standards were maintained. Some 83pc of managers stated that managing e-workers in terms of achieving results was the same as their counterparts in the office.

The study found that the key to successful e-working was training all parties involved, including managers, e-workers and their non e-working colleagues.

By John Kennedy