One in Five Americans Choose Teleworking

Teleworking is on the rise. A new study examines its appeal for employees.

For growing numbers of Americans, their morning commute consists of shuffling between their coffeemaker and their home office.

The number of employees who telework - work away from the office at least one day a week -- continues to increase, according to a new study conducted by the International Telework Association and Council (ITAC). The study found that the number of employees who telework in the United States increased to 28.8 million in the past year, a jump of almost 17 percent.

The survey explores both the business and human factors of current telework practices and provides helpful insights for businesses and other organizations looking to meet the need for new or expanded telework programs for their employees. Researchers found that the overwhelming majority of teleworkers are more satisfied with their jobs, are more productive, and feel more loyal to their employers.

"This year's survey broadens our definition of teleworking and confirms that it's a winning situation all around," said John Edwards, president of ITAC. "Employees achieve a greater balance of work and family life, employers gain the benefits of lower overhead costs and increased productivity, and all of us continue to reap the rewards of less traffic congestion and pollution."

The survey found that most teleworkers work on the road (24.1 percent) or from home (21.7 percent). A smaller percentage work at telework centers (7.5 percent) or at satellite offices (4.2 percent). Most do multiple forms of teleworking, with more than 42.4 percent saying they combine working at home with some other form of teleworking.

"Telework has evolved beyond the pioneering telecommuters of the 80s," said Chuck Wilsker, executive director of ITAC. "It appears to be entering the mainstream practices of today's workforce."

The survey found that the typical teleworker:

  • Works at least one full day per week away from the traditional office environment;
  • Lives in the northeast or western regions of the U.S.;
  • Has a college education;
  • Is 35 to 44 years of age; and
  • Married.

Teleworking is most often found at either a very small or very large company, with teleworkers holding a managerial or sales position and earning $40,000 or more annually. Teleworking is most common within real estate, management of enterprises, and the information industries.

Other survey results include:

  • More than two-thirds of teleworkers express greater job satisfaction.
  • An overwhelming majority (almost 80 percent) feels a greater commitment to their organization and most say they plan to stay with their employer.
  • Almost three-quarters of at-home teleworkers reported a major increase in productivity and work quality.
  • Almost twice as many teleworkers as non-teleworkers say they work before and after normal work hours or on weekends.
  • Many teleworkers report that they experience less conflict between work and family life, and say that their families experience an enhanced quality of life.

"Our internal research validates the findings of increased productivity and job satisfaction among teleworkers," said Dr. Brad Allenby, AT&T's vice president of Environment, Health, and Safety. "According to our employees, the increases are a result of access to high-speed connections, an improved ability to concentrate and a better balance between work and family responsibilities."

To obtain a copy of the report's executive summary or a complete survey report, call ITAC at 202-547-6157, or send an e-mail request to [email protected]

edited by Sandy Smith

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