#232. Telecommuting/Teleworking

Posted on | The Agurban


It has been quite some time since we reported on telecommuting. With the volatility in fuel prices over that past 12-18 months, we were curious of the effect on telecommuting. We found a recent report from WorldatWork, entitled Telework Trendlines 2009.

According to the report, the number of Americans who worked from home or remotely at least one day per month for their employer increased from approximately 12.4 million in 2006 to 17.2 million in 2008. The rise represents a two-year increase of 39-percent, and an increase of 74 percent since 2005.  In addition, the survey found that the number of employees who work on contract, are self-employed or are business owners (“contract telecommuters”) who work at home or remotely at least one day per month rose slightly, from 16.2 million in 2006 to 16.6 million in 2008. Therefore, the sum of employee telecommuters and contract telecommuters rose from 28.7 million in 2006 to 33.7 million Americans in 2008, a 17-percent two-year increase.

The trend toward more telecommuting likely is due to a combination of factors, including:

    • *The proliferation of high-speed and wireless Internet access (which has made it both less expensive and more productive to work remotely)
    • *Rising fuel and commuting costs, and
    • *The trend by employers to embrace work-life balance concepts.

Another finding from the study was that many workers not currently telecommuting think some of their job tasks might be suitable for remote work, but they are usually unwilling to give up pay to telecommute.

Finally, the report provided a snapshot of information about the demographic profile of those who telecommute today. Most telecommuters in 2008 were male, under age 55 (most around 40 years old), college graduates, and living in a household earning $75,000 or more per year.

The proliferation of high-speed connectivity and the explosion of hand-held devices occurred during the early 2000s and have become a mainstream way of working for many employers and employees. The WorldatWork report concludes by stating, “History may record someday that the technology required for productive remote working and the urgent need for remote working (due to high fuel prices) converged in 2008”.Source: Telework Trendlines 2009, WorldatWork.