Remote workers save around $4,000 on average according to this survey. And employers stand to collectively save $44 billion each year. Learn more about the power and impact of telecommuting and what it can mean for you.
In recent figures released by BLS, the impact of the Covid-19 can be seen quite clearly. But there is also a disturbing trend that showed only certain professions can avail of this mode of working. The main highlights are:
· In June, 31% of workers teleworked as compared to 35% in May. This number represents only those who teleworked at some point in time due to the coronavirus and does not count the employees who were already availing of this option.
· Women were more likely than men to have teleworked because of the pandemic (36 percent in May versus 27 percent in June).
· Younger workers were less likely to have teleworked because of the pandemic than older workers. In June, 15 percent of employed people ages 16 to 24 had teleworked because of the pandemic, versus 35 percent of workers ages 25 to 54 and 30 percent of workers age 55 and over.
· Workers with higher levels of education were more likely to have teleworked because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This translated to 54 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree and higher.
· By industry, 66 percent of workers in educational services, 62 percent in finance and insurance, and 60 percent in professional and technical services teleworked in June because of the pandemic. In contrast, 7 percent of those working in accommodation and food services and 6 percent in agriculture teleworked.
· Government workers were more likely than private wage and salary workers to have teleworked because of the pandemic (49 percent versus 29 percent in June).
· Full-time workers were more likely than part-time workers to have teleworked because of the pandemic (34 percent versus 19 percent in June).
All this talk about teleworking is not new. People have been debating about it and experimenting with it from way back in the 70s. The term ‘telecommuting’ is said to have been first coined by in 1972 by Jack Nilles when he was working remotely on a NASA communication system. The concept gained strength later when in 1979, Frank Schiff, authored an article “Working From Home Can Save Gasoline.” in the Washington Post about ‘flexplace’ and its advantages.
Fast forward to the future and the facts do speak for themselves.
It is estimated that nearly 5 million employees (3.6% of the U.S. workforce) work from home for at least some of the time. And worldwide, that figure translates to 260 million (7.9% of the world workforce) who worked from home entirely.
Research also estimated that by 2028, 73% of all departments would have some number of remote employees.
Even before Covid-19 changed the entire workplace dynamics, there was an increasing preference among employees for work from home options. The biggest draw was the ability to skip the long and frustrating morning commute. It is estimated that on average Americans spend around 200 hours every year commuting. And now with the enforced work from home options due to the Covid-19, people now spend the saved time with their family, getting more work done, catching up on their hobbies. Less pollution and a better work-life balance are the definite pluses to this way of life.
These advantages come with their own share of problems of course. Covid-19 forced people to convert their homes into makeshift offices with very little time to plan it out. What this has resulted in was the need to share space with children and pets, not to mention a lack of ergonomic solutions.
Back and neck pain
Poor sleep patterns
These are some of the health conditions that people must deal with. Another problem is the difficulty in bonding with their colleagues. Most people also reported that because they were ‘homebound’ they ended up working much longer than usual and are feeling the pressure of handling family responsibilities together with the need to maintain their productivity levels at work.
Despite all these factors, given the option, many workers would prefer to continue working from home in the foreseeable future. A Gallup survey found that 60% would like to keep their teleworking options for at least a few days in the week. As we continue to navigate the ‘new normal’, conversations such as these are just the starting point in defining a new way of life in the future.