The Rise of Telework

Woman in front of a laptop with her son on her lap

Remote work offers greater flexibility, reduced commuting times and cost, and even lower child-care expenses.

Roughly 23% of the total U.S. workforce now work remotely at least part of the time, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. And those numbers are projected to grow in the years ahead.

American workers ranked flexibility — time and location of work and leave — as a close second in importance as health benefits, according to a study in Harvard Business Review. Research suggests that flexible working hours improve work-life balance and, in turn, reduce stress. And for parents, it can help them better balance the demands of both work and raising children.

Research by Global  Workplace Analytics reports that:

  • 40% more U.S. employers offered flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. Still, only 7% make it available to most of their employees.
  • Larger companies are most likely to offer telecommuting options to most of their employees.
  • New England and Mid-Atlantic region employers are the most likely to offer telecommuting options.
  • Full-time employees are four times more likely to have work-at-home options than part-time workers.
  • 50% of the U.S.  workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework.
  • 80% to 90% of the workforce says they would like to telework at least part-time.
  • Two or three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of focused work at home and collaborative work at the office.

Telecommuting offers benefits to both employers and employees. Workers have greater flexibility, reduced commuting time and costs, and even lower child-care expenses. Employers are no longer bound by location. They can hire the best talent without regard to geography. A remote-work option is a sought-after benefit that can help employers to recruit a competitive workforce. Finally, telecommuting can help reduce a business’s carbon footprint.