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Workers dream of staying at home

By Simon Hooper for CNN

Commuters now spend an average two hours a day travelling.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Anyone who has ever tried getting to or from the office during the rush hour has dreamed of working from home.

But new research suggests employers also have plenty to gain from liberating their staff from the daily grind.

In a survey conducted among commuters at New York's Penn Station and London's Liverpool Street Station, eight out of 10 people said they would rather work from home if their employers offered the option.

Nine out of 10 said they felt having the choice of working at home or the office offered a perfect work-life balance, according to the results of the "Flexible Working Survey 2004," conducted by Netilla Networks and Infosecurity Europe.

Most workers felt that swapping their desk for the kitchen table would make their jobs less stressful, enhance their relationships with their partners and improve their quality of life.

One woman said it would perk up her love life, as she wouldn't be so tired after hours of commuting, while one man said long office hours had led to the breakdown of his marriage.

Increased productivity

While employers may have concerns about the reliability and trustworthiness of home workers, more than 70 percent of those surveyed felt their productivity would increase if allowed to work in a flexible environment.

Nor would most workers want to spend all of their time at home. Eight out of 10 said they would still enjoy going into the office for the social life.

And with the average commuter now spending almost two hours a day traveling between home, work and back again, both employers and workers can gain from a more flexible approach.

A person working from home for one or two days a week can save a company up to $12,000 a year though lower staff turnover, reduced office space and lower sickness levels.

"This survey proves what we have all suspected but never had the evidence to prove," said Netilla president Reggie Best.

"We all seek the freedom to work when and where we want to, whether it is at home when the kids are off sick, or it's snowing or we're away in a hotel, at an Internet cafe, or indeed a crowded railway station using a wireless network."

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