- Telecommuting grew by 115% between 2005 and 2015, according to a new study by job-posting site FlexJobs and consulting firm Global Workplace Analytic. The 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report found that 3.9 million employees were telecommuting by 2015, up from 1.8 million in 2005.
- The study also found that women and men telecommute at the same rate, and that telecommuters tend to be around 46 years old, have a bachelor's degree and earn more than office workers. Telecommuting beat out taking public transportation among commuters' choices.
- The pros and cons of telecommuting fall largely along class and economic lines. Although most employees would likely benefit from the work-life balance and flexibility telecommuting offers, higher-paid workers appear to receive the benefit more often.
There's no denying the telecommuting explosion. Another study showed that telecommuting has grown 159% since 2000. The same study also found that most telecommuters are high-wage earners, and many are managers.
Telecommuting has been connected with the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome, whereby remote workers are being passed over for promotions or miss out on on-site wellness programs and other in-office benefits and activities. Earlier this year, IBM's global marketing team took the reverse action by calling its employees back into the office for more face-to-face time and relationship-building. Yahoo ended telecommuting a few years ago for similar reasons, as well as concerns that people were taking advantage of the system.
Still, many more studies found that telecommuters and remote workers, in general, were more likely to love their jobs than in-office employees, and that employees left jobs or thought about leaving because their employers didn't offer telecommuting.
Has the gig economy affected telecommuting? The growth in telecommuting over the years seems to coincide with the massive growth in on-demand work — and how employers may be trying to adapt to increased calls for work-life integration.