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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Teleworking myth exploded
angry teleworker
Flexible working from home creates a whole new set of stressful problems, according to research done by a business school in Nottingham.

Teleworkers face increased pressure from family, feelings of guilt unless they work long hours, and disruption of normal home life, the study shows.

Dr Susanne Tietze from the Nottingham Business School, who led the study, said: "Many companies are becoming more and more flexible with working patterns - and for some people that can be a godsend.

"But for others it is having a dramatic effect on family life and often leaves partners with a kind of secretarial role keeping disruptions to a minimum," she said.

'Always available'

Dr Tietze said many home workers put in far more hours than they would have done at the office to ensure colleagues do not think they are taking advantage of the flexible work arrangements.

In many cases, family life was severely disrupted with children and partners having to learn to:

  • Not use the telephone.
  • Give up rooms for office use.
  • Not interrupt the home-working parent.

Teleworkers, especially women, often find themselves becoming more and more involved with running the home because they are always available.

One home worker said he felt "stretched" and that everyone got only a little part of him.

Men were more effective at separating work from home and found it easier to divide themselves off from the demands of young children while working.

Urban hassles

A number of people said they are considering returning to their offices full time, not for practical reasons but because they wanted a more normal working day, despite the added pressures of commuting and finding suitable childcare.

Researchers spent up to half a day with families in Nottingham, Sheffield, Market Harborough in Leicestershire and Alfreton in Derbyshire as part of the study.

Dr Tietze said: "Teleworking is not a bad thing, but it is much more complex than what you hear in the media... it can be quite a difficult thing for the whole family."

Despite the problems, working from home is a growing trend because people can avoid commuting, traffic and other urban hassles, she said.


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06 Jun 02 | Business
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