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Deep latent desire to telecommute or a biased survey question?

A study by Catalyst on telecommuting and law departments surfaced in a report by The Project for Attorney Retention (PAR), an initiative of the Program of Worklife Law at American University’s Washington College of Law (10 Wm. & Mary J. of Women & L. 367 (Spring 2004)). The Catalyst study “found that nearly three out of four of the female and over half of the male in-house counsel surveyed wanted to telecommute, i.e., to work some hours or days from home.”

If the survey question was along the lines of the summary above, namely “If it were possible, would you want to work some hours or days from home?” it jolts me that of the in-house counsel surveyed, there weren’t in fact more who answered yes. Most lawyers take care of some work at home in the normal course of a road or rail commute career.

A rigged question, by an organization that supports working rights for women, doesn’t help us with its proselytic findings. Had the survey question hit closer, such as “If it were possible, would you work from home regularly – such as two days a week in a telecommuting arrangement?” I would respect the findings more. (See my post of Sept. 25, 2005 on the same topic.)

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