by Shane O'Neill

Five Worst Cities for Teleworking

May 27, 20113 mins
Data Center

A surprising number of employees in major American cities report poor teleworking policies. Get out of the office, willya!

Teleworking, either from home or on the road, is no longer seen as an employee luxury; it is the best way to do business quickly and efficiently in the modern age. And it can go a long way in keeping workers happy.

Any forward-looking company is aware of the importance of teleworking and has company policies in place and uses technologies like VPN and remote tech support to facilitate “working from home.”


But a surprising amount of companies in major cities like New York and Chicago are still behind the times, according to results from Microsoft’s 2011 annual “Work Without Walls” survey of 4,500 information workers in 15 major American cities about their companies’ preferences for teleworking. Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix won the top three spots for friendliest cities for teleworking.

Among all the 4,500 survey respondents, 77 percent say their company provides access to technology support for working remotely, and 57 percent say their company has a formal policy allowing employees to work remotely.

With that said, here are the five cities that finished at the bottom of the teleworker pile.

5. New York City — You’d think a cultural and business hotbed like the Big Apple would nail teleworking. But not so much. New York does rank high for supporting technology for remote workers (those working out of the office most if not all the time), but bosses and peers in NYC don’t tend to support teleworkers (those who live within commuting distance of the office). This may be because New York City-based businesses rank below the national average when it comes to offering formal policies allowing telework.

4. Philadelphia — Philly businesses are still sticklers about teleworking, falling below the national average for offering a formal remote work policy and offering technology to support remote workers. The City of Brotherly Love is also below the national average for using secure, internal networks for collaborating among employees and customers.

3. Los Angeles — The City of Angels ranks third to last, with only 50 percent of companies reporting formal telework policies. LA businesses were dead last when it comes to using secure, internal networking tools for worker collaboration and also ranks lowest in providing tech support to remote workers. Among Los Angeles survey respondents, the top reason to telework is to avoid traffic, which is understandable in such a sprawling metropolis.

2. Detroit — The Motor City is not a telework-friendly place. Less than half of businesses were reported to have a formal telework policy allowing remote work. In addition, Detroit businesses are below the national average for providing adequate tech support to remote workers.

1. Chicago — When it comes to teleworking, The Windy City blows, finishing dead last in Microsoft’s survey. This is pretty surprising for a city with long, snowstorm-riddled winters. Information workers in Chi-Town report the lowest levels of interaction with customers and colleagues over secure, internal social networking channels. Chicago teleworkers also feel the least amount of approval and support from their colleagues.

Shane O’Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at