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to a recent survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of
Staples Inc., telecommuters say they rely on email (96 percent), instant
messaging (68 percent), video conferencing (44 percent) and unified
communications technologies (25 percent) to stay connected. While more than
two-thirds of telecommuters said they didn’t receive IT security training in
preparation for home office work, many are applying good judgment and security
best practices—95 percent say they install operating system updates right away
and 84 percent don’t store personal data on their machines.

nearly one in three telecommuters say they never back up their data—which could
leave them and their companies vulnerable to data loss. A report based on the
survey cautioned that it’s important to educate telecommuters on how and when
to back up their data, and data backups should be automated and tested to
ensure functionality.

can be the lifeblood of an organization, so it’s important to provide telecommuters
with IT training and security best practices,” said Ed Ludwigson, vice
president and general manager for Staples Technology Solutions, the technology
products and services division of Staples Advantage. “Because advances in
technology continue to help dissolve geographical barriers, companies should
also provide their telecommuters with tools that make it easy and efficient to
collaborate and stay connected.”

addition, the survey found 86 percent of telecommuters said they feel better
and are more productive when they work from home. When asked to draw
comparisons, telecommuters say their stress levels have dropped 25 percent on
average and their overall happiness increased 28 percent since working from
home. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) even say they eat healthier when
working from home.

the trek to the office—on average, a 77-mile round-trip for respondents—76
percent of telecommuters are more willing to put in extra time on work and say
they are more loyal to their company since telecommuting, and more than 80
percent say they now maintain a better work-life balance.

results indicated with the right setup and support from employers,
telecommuting programs can be rewarding and productive options for employees.
In fact, telecommuters claim they’d even be willing to sacrifice a few of their
favorite things to continue working from home. Respondents would give up their
favorite TV show (54 percent), forgo an extra hour of sleep (48 percent), swear
off a favorite food (40 percent) or take a pay cut (40 percent) rather than
stop telecommuting.

Advantage conducted the online survey with responses from more than 140
telecommuters at companies of various sizes and across industries. The survey,
conducted in May 2011, asked respondents, who work at least one day per week
from home, about their home office setup and technology, as well as their
overall experiences telecommuting. The number of telecommuters is on the rise
and is expected to reach 63 million in the United States by 2016, according to
a March 2009 report, “U.S. Telecommuting Forecast, 2009 to 2016,” from IT
analytics firm Forrester Research.