Study: Telecommuting Reduces Ethics Violations

Last Updated Sep 12, 2011 2:54 PM EDT

Here at Business Hacks, we're big fans of telecommuting policies. Study after study shows that telework improves morale and productivity while simultaneously saving money. Now there's a new advantage to telework: It might make employees more honest and ethical.

The Ethisphere Institute is a think tank "dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability." And Ethisphere has recently concluded that open workspaces and telecommuting can measurably reduce ethics violations among employees in the workplace.

Here's what happened: Ethisphere surveyed more than 200 companies and assessed the behavior of employees in various work environments. Here are some of the results:
  • Among regular telecommuters, 11% of companies reported ethics violations in the last year
  • In contrast, the rate of ethics violations was 36% among employees with offices.
You can read the details of the study at Ethisphere's website, but it's important not to jump to conclusions -- the study is far from conclusive, and it's clear from Ethisphere's mission statment that they have a pony in this particular race. First and foremost: The study does not highlight causation. For example, were office-bound employees less ethical because they had more opportunity to engage in shenanigans at work than people at home? Or is it more about the types of employees who telework? Company executives are not only far less likely to work from home, but they are far more likely to have motive and opportunity for illicit behavior. And the payoff is far more tempting.

So while I am not convinced by the study, it's certainly another consideration when planning a telecommuting program. And after all, telework is great for the company budget, for productivity, and some say it's even more green. What's not to love? [via WebWorkerDaily]

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