Employees More Ethical on the Homefront

Telecommuters are more ethical than those toiling in the office every day — or maybe being at home or another remote location simply offers fewer opportunities to get oneself into trouble.

Those are the less than clear conclusions from a recent study.

In a survey of 200 firms by the Ethisphere Institute and Jones Lang LaSalle, only 11 percent said work-from-home employees had committed ethics violations in the past two years.

But 36 percent reported "visible ethics violations" by employees who don’t work from home regularly, and 43 percent reported non-visible violations for this group, such as expense account fraud or bribery, MarketWatch reports.

Those of us who usually work from home would like to think this is because of our high ethical standards.

But it turns out we are nothing special. We’re just isolated.

"You can see why someone working from home wouldn’t get embroiled in some of the things that lead to trouble," Mark Ohringer, executive vice president and global general counsel for Jones Lang LaSalle, was quoted as saying.

When a worker isn’t in the office, the opportunity to tell inappropriate jokes or harass people diminishes (much to our annoyance).

Other misconduct includes theft, expense-report abuse and misusing social media, other experts say. In fact, the employee’s eagerness to maintain his or her work-from-home privilege may make that person extra careful to comply with a company’s ethics policy, MarketWatch says.

Telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular, and some employees may also behave well because they’re afraid of losing their work-from-home privileges, MarketWatch states.