Telecommuting comes with its benefits and its challenges. Working remotely requires a tremendous amount of organization and independence. Some days, it’s great. But, other times it can be pretty tough to muster the discipline that the arrangement requires.
However, you can’t beat the flexibility that comes with most telecommuting arrangements. Maybe that’s why 80 to 90 percent of people say they’d like to have the option to telecommute, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Their research highlights several key facts about the current state of telecommuting in the U.S.
1. A significant percentage of the workforce now works from home occasionally.
Approximately 20 to 25 percent of the workforce telecommutes on at least a part-time basis. Telecommuters tend to be college-educated workers. Typically, they are over the age of 45 and make about $58,000 annually. However, 75 percent of telecommuters make over $65,000 per year, putting this group in the 80th percentile for all workers in terms of annual earnings.
Working from home is definitely on the rise. Regular telecommuting has risen 115 percent since 2005 — and that’s not including freelancers.
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2. More jobs could be done remotely.
Researchers estimate that about 50 percent of jobs in U.S. are compatible with at least a part-time telecommuting arrangement. Forty percent more employers encourage telecommuting than they did five years ago. But, only 7 percent offer the option to most of their workers. More jobs could be done remotely, although some industries are better suited for this than others. Many workers who could do their jobs from home do not have that opportunity currently.
3. According to this research, most workers would prefer to telecommute.
A large portion of the U.S. workforce say they’d like to work from home. Eighty to 90 percent of workers say they’d like to have the option to telecommute, at least part-time. The trend to want to leave the office is even evident among employees who don’t work from home. Studies show that workers at Fortune 1000 companies around the globe aren’t at their desks 50 to 60 percent of the time.
4. The size of the company impacts telecommuting rate as does geographic region.
Larger companies tend to offer the option to their employees more often than smaller organizations. And, the geographic region where the job is located plays a part as well. The regions where employers are the most likely to offer telecommuting options are the Mid-Atlantic region and New England.
Additionally, non-union organizations are more likely to offer the option than those with unions. (Although the rate at which unionized workers have the option is growing rapidly.) Also, full-time workers are four times more likely to have the opportunity to work from home than those who work part-time.
5. More telecommuting arrangements would benefits companies and the economy.
Many workers would enjoy being given the option to work from home. The change makes good financial sense, too. Workers who enjoy some flexibility around work are more productive, and it’s less costly to employ them when they aren’t commuting into the office each day.
Researchers expect that the rates of telecommuting will continue to rise in the years ahead, benefiting workers and employers. They estimate that the national savings could total more than $700 billion if workers with compatible jobs and the desire to work from home did so just half of the time. A typical business would save about $11,000 per year per employee. And, the typical telecommuter would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year.
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