Technology companies and employers of tech workers across all vertical industries continue to battle it out for the best talent in an increasingly tight labor market.  This along with more reliable global internet connectivity, the increasing influence of millennials in management practices, and a need for a more decentralized workforce is making telecommuting less of a perk.

The days of narrowing in on hiring someone within a 50 mile radius, or forcing new employees to relocate so they are able to come into an office are dwindling.  It’s no secret that telecommuting gives employers an advantage when recruiting talent that is in short supply and high demand.  Companies that are sticking to requiring employees to be in a physical office are suffering the consequences of a greatly reduced pool of viable job candidates.   Providing workplace flexibility options to employees enables a company to substantially widen the pool of candidates that they can consider for business-critical hiring requirements.

We are seeing the majority of our clients offer distributed workforce policies via part-time, and full-time remote work opportunities as a standard workforce policy.  Even companies we’ve worked with for many years that have fought the trend are giving in; simply to stay competitive and attractive as a potential employer.

Telecommuting comes with some pitfalls since many in management roles are used to seeing their teams physically in an office setting.  There’s a sense of more control by being able to see whether an employee is working or not, and what they are working on.  With a more distributed workforce, management is having to adopt new policies and in some cases re-learn how to manage people in this type of setting.

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Below are the latest available statistics regarding telecommuting trends in the U.S.

Source: based on an analysis of 2005-2018, released in fall 2019

  • Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 173% since 2005, 11% faster than the rest of the workforceand nearly 47x faster than the self-employed population.
  • 7 million employees(3.4% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.
  • From 2005 to 2018:
  • Forty percent more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace optionsthan they did five years ago. Still, only 7% make it available to most of their employees.
  • Larger companiesare most likely to offer telecommuting options to most of their employees.
  • New England and Mid-Atlantic region employersare the most likely to offer telecommuting options.
  • Full-time employeesare four times more likely to have work-at-home options than part-time workers.
  • 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatiblewith at least partial telecommuting and approximately 40% of the workforce works remotely at some frequency
  • 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to teleworkat least part-time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
  • Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show desks are vacant 50-60% of the time.
  • A typical telecommuter is college-educated, 45 years old or older, and earns an annual salary of $58,000while working for a company with more than 100 employees. 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 per year, putting them in the upper 80th percentile of all employees, home or office-based.
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Most agree that the cost savings, productivity of workers, improved retention and other benefits far outweigh the downside. Remote work is now being seen as a way of helping employees better manage their work-life balance.   Work is no longer about where people sit but more about the results of the work that they do.

Would love to hear any comments or challenges you have in management an increasingly distributed workforce.

Telecommuting no Longer a “perk”