File picture: Reuters Research shows you actually likely to be more productive working at home

THOSE who work from home are sometimes accused by jealous colleagues at the office of skiving off so they can watch daytime television.

But it turns out that they can hold their heads up high after research showed they were actually likely to be more productive.

They put in more hours than if they were at the office and are more likely to go beyond what is needed.

It may be the fear of looking lazy or the lack of distracting chatter across the desk, but remote workers have a better work ethic, researchers at the University of Cardiff.

More than four million people in Britain spend at least half their time working from home.

The findings on their work habits compared with those at fixed workplaces are taken from the Government-funded Skills and Employment Survey.

Professor Alan Felstead, from Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences, said: ‘Work is gradually being detached from traditional places such as the office, factory or shop.

‘Our study shows that employers benefit from increased effort as workers strive to show that working remotely is not a slackers’ charter.

‘However, remote workers find greater difficulty in redrawing the boundaries between work and non-work life.’

The researchers examined the responses of around 15,000 working people supplied in 2001, 2006 and 2012.

Just under a quarter of people in fixed workplaces, 24 per cent, put in extra effort to work longer than their formal hours. But 39 per cent of remote workers said it was ‘very true’ that: ‘I often have to work extra time, over and above the formal hours of my job, to get through the work or to help out.’

When it came to putting more effort than required into their job, almost three-quarters of remote workers, or 73 per cent, said they did this. But the same was true of only 68.5 per cent of workers based in one place.

Professor Felstead said: ‘The evidence suggests that remote workers are over-compensating to prove to their colleagues they are not in their pyjamas at home and prove to their employers they are a safe pair of hands willing to go the extra mile in return for the discretion an employer gives them to work at home or in a remote location.’

He found that the proportion of the workforce working mainly in a workplace such as an office or shop fell from 75 percent in 2001 to 66 per cent in 2012.

The findings, published in the journal New Technology, Work and Employment, also show home workers may struggle to switch off because they do not clock off or have an evening commute at the end of the day.

Just under 44 percent of remote workers struggle to unwind after work, compared to 38.1 per cent of staff in a fixed location. Professor Felstead said: ‘There are positives and negatives to remote working.’

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