Project: Qualititive Research to Understand Attitudes and Motivations of Teleworkers

Reference: C/07/008

Last update: 27/09/2012 14:17:26


There are three main objectives to this research:

1) to explore attitudes to teleworking, including:

- what is the potential for teleworking?
- what are the motivations for teleworking?
- what are the barriers?
- what are the perceived benefits, disbenefits and trade-offs?
- how important is ICT in being able to work from home?
- what are interviewees' attitudes to current frequency of teleworking; to what extent would it be possible/desirable to work from home more often - why, and what are the barriers?
- has their frequency of teleworking increased/decreased in recent times - how and why?
- what are interviewees' aspirations and expectations about teleworking in the future? eg is it anticipated that frequency will increase or decrease - and why?
- what are interviewees' experience and attitudes to satellite offices/collective teleworking, and perceptions of how this might encourage/discourage teleworking?

2) to explore the impacts of teleworking on travel choices and behaviour

- impact on monthly/annual car mileage (individual and household). Perceptions of whether teleworking has led to an increase or decrease in car-use for the individual and the household
- modal choice for different types of trip
- on teleworking days, what sort of trips are made, for what purposes, what mode is used, what distance is travelled, what time of day are these trips made, trip chaining - and why?
- impact of teleworking on travel behaviour of other members of the household - how and why? (eg does it free up the car for others to use?)

3) to explore the wider impacts of teleworking.

- how, why and in what ways do people perceive that teleworking has impacted on issues such as:

* choice of where to live;
* job satisfaction;
* structure of working day;
* individual productivity;
* consideration of future career moves;
* working hours;
* home energy use;


This research will include the development, conduct and reporting of exploratory (qualitative) research to examine in depth the attitudes, motivations and transport behaviours of teleworkers. The research will be conducted as a follow-up study with a sample of NTS respondents identified as being current teleworkers.


National Centre for Social Research
35 Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0AX

Faber Maunsell
The Johnson Building, 77 Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8JS

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £86,743.00

Actual start date: 31 August 2007

Actual completion date: 31 July 2008


Understanding the Needs, Attitudes and Behaviours of Teleworkers
Author: Clarissa Penfold, Stephen Webster, Hayley Neil, Helen Ranns and Jenny Graham at Nat Cen
Publication date: 16/01/2009
Source: National Centre for Social Research
More information:

Summary of results

  1. Key findings
    Teleworking practices and teleworkers' attitudes and motivations
    . Teleworkers are not a homogenous group. Teleworkers have very different motivations and needs from teleworking and there is enormous variation in the extent to which teleworking is undertaken.
    . Amongst other factors, features of participants' employment such as role and level of seniority were associated with teleworking frequency. For example, those in more senior roles and part time workers were more likely to telework.
    . Patterns of teleworking varied with some individuals engaging in partial teleworking (for part of the day) while others work whole days from home.
    . Frequency and patterns of teleworking were shaped by seasonal variation related to either work or personal demands, which could both increase and decrease frequency of teleworking.
    . There was also diversity in how working hours were managed amongst teleworkers. For example, some work the same number of hours but start earlier or later, others spread their work hours over a longer time period with extended breaks, and others would work longer or shorter hours than they would normally at work (e.g. by replacing commuting time).
    . Patterns of teleworking and time management when teleworking were underpinned by participants' motivations for working from home. Work-related and personal or domestic-related motivations included task-related productivity, commute displacement or reduction, family contact and work-life balance. These motivations were also the key positive impacts or outcomes of teleworking for many teleworkers.
    . Notably the range of motivations given for teleworking would tend not to support the widespread use of 'telecentres' (also referred to as telecottages). Although awareness of telecentres was limited, a number of issues were identified that reduced their potential desirability or use as almost all teleworkers did not believe that such resources would offer the benefits of working from home cited previously.
    . Although teleworking is not an option for many people because of the nature of their work where it is possible a number of significant barriers were identified. These include personal work ethics (e.g. lacking the self-motivation to work productively on certain tasks when away from the office or being too motivated to break away from an uncompleted task at the end of the working day), impact on family life (e.g. working longer hours at home reducing family contact), working conditions both at home and resulting from being away from the workplace, employer attitudes, ICT and task needs. These barriers would need to be addressed as necessary to increase prevalence (and where appropriate frequency) of teleworking where it is possible. Importantly there is not a 'one size fits all' approach to addressing the barriers and differences across the teleworking 'population' must be considered.
    . These barriers would need to be addressed as necessary to increase prevalence (and where appropriate frequency) of teleworking where it is possible. Importantly there is not a 'one size fits all' approach to addressing the barriers and differences across the teleworking 'population' must be considered.