Gas prices continue to soar and the economy forces employees to do more with less, threatening the work/life balance everyone craves. With that in mind, Microsoft and Ipsos Public Affairs released a new study that assesses the opinions and attitudes of 4,500 information workers in 15 U.S. markets, including Boston, toward telework at their businesses. According to the study, Boston workers report having the longest commute out of all 15 cities surveyed, and many wish to work outside of the office to not only avoid traffic, but create a better work/life balance.  

The resolution for Boston businesses is to adopt a “Work without Walls” mentality and policy, which essentially allows people to break free from the traditional office and, with the right technology, enables them to conduct business from anywhere in the world at any time. 

Sounds like a pretty good perk, right? Actually, telework is becoming less of a “nice to have” and more of a “need to have.”  Luckily, many Boston businesses already recognize this as a business imperative because Boston ranks number 6 on the list of most telework-friendly cities surveyed.  Rankings are based on a number of factors including employee use, employer support, technology available and other factors.

For example, 61 percent of Boston respondents said that their company had a formal remote work policy in place, higher than the national average of 57 percent. It’s important that companies view remote working policies as an essential practice because this type of business environment can not only help companies gain a competitive edge by enhancing productivity and collaboration, but also can  improve employee retention, reduce costs, improve responsiveness and increase profitability.

Further, the recent adoption of telework regulations across the U.S. government and a push for businesses to operate in a results-only climate have set the bar, making Work without Walls a widely endorsed business practice. 

Luckily, Microsoft offers many technologies and solutions that can help Boston businesses take advantage of a flexible work policy such as the Windows Azure Platform,  Office 365, Lync, SharePoint 2010, and Windows Phone 7.

To see the full survey results and how Boston netted out against other cities, be sure to visit the Microsoft News Center here.