Is working from home an efficient alternative to the traditional office job or a productivity killer? The results of a new survey on telecommuting may bolster the arguments for both sides. While nearly one third (32 per cent) of Canadians who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day on work, 13 per cent work eight or more hours. Forty-five per cent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day.

The national survey – conducted May 19 to June 8, 2011, with more than 400 employees – reveals that nearly one-in-five Canadians (18 per cent) say they telecommute for work.

“With mass adoption of smart phones and advanced network technologies, telecommuters are connected to their offices like never before. As a result, we’re seeing more companies embrace the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours while at home,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “However, to avoid situations where telecommuters aren’t putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives. The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn’t diminish productivity.”

Telecommuters are largely split as to whether time spent at home or at the office is more conducive to high-quality work. Thirty-seven per cent say they are more productive at the office, while 26 per cent report they are more productive at home. Thirty-seven per cent do not see a difference, stating they are equally productive at home and the office.

While most offices have their fair share of productivity roadblocks, home is hardly a disturbance-free zone. Telecommuters say the following are the biggest distractions:

— Household chores – 31 per cent

— TV – 22 per cent

— Errands – 20 per cent

— Children – 18 per cent

— Internet – 18 per cent

— Pets – 9 per cent