Working at home is the latest trend to hit the workplace. A recent study conducted by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found a 115% rise in telecommuting employees. That increase took place in only one decade.
Any position that lets its holder stay home in their pajamas has massive appeal. But what has driven this increase in telecommute jobs? And how do they benefit both workers and employers?
Read on to find out.
What Are Telecommute Jobs?
A telecommute job is a position that workers attend remotely via telecommunications. The most common form of telecommunication used is the Internet by way of a laptop or PC.
Many people tend to think lowly of telecommute jobs. They see them as “jobs for stay-at-home moms” or part-time jobs for low-level workers.
That misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, when Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics conducted their study, they looked only at full-time workers.
There is also the view that telecommuters are lazy. Likely this stereotype stems from the fact telecommuting workers usually don’t have to endure a traditional commute or dress up for work. For that reason, they can take more time for themselves in the morning and during lunch breaks.
But again, this misconception is far from reality. Larger businesses tend to offer more telecommute jobs than smaller businesses. In fact, most telecommute jobs examined in the survey were offered by the U.S. government.
Many industries now employee telecommute workers. The most common industries include recruiting, human resources, real estate, and finance.
The ability to telecommute depends greatly on the industry and the worker’s situation. Workers who need to come to the office usually work as part of a team or need the office’s equipment. Those who work independently or require no special equipment are the ones who receive offers to telecommute.
Generally speaking, most telecommuters are older workers. They typically hold managerial positions that require them to look at workers’ numbers. If an issue arises, they can e-mail or call the workers involved.
Telecommuters are evenly divided between male and female.
The Commute To Telecommute Jobs
There are several major factors that have led to the rise of telecommute jobs.
The first factor is the changing family dynamic.
Years ago, it was common for one parent to work while the other stayed at home to take care of their children. Now, it is more common for both parents to work. When both parents work, they must set aside money to pay for a babysitting or daycare service.
Unless one of the parents has a telecommute job.
Another factor is technology.
Now we can communicate with anyone in the world at the click of a mouse. Someone in the United States can video chat with someone in China at any time.
Besides global connectivity, there is the availability of software. Companies set up private networks and servers that only their employees can access. Through those networks and servers, employees can utilize shared programs and software.
Another reason is the Great Recession.
The recession hit both businesses and employees alike. As a result, businesses turned to alternative types of employees. One of those types was telecommute workers, whose lack of presence meant increased profit.
The Benefits of Telecommuting
Telecommute jobs hold a number of benefits for employees and employers alike. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits below.
Benefits For Employees
Telecommuting doesn’t just mean extra time in the morning and during lunch. It means extra time to make sure workers are rested and ready for the day. It also means extra time to take children to school or go to a doctor’s appointment.
Speaking of extra time, one of the major draws of telecommute jobs is flexibility. Telecommuters decide when they start, when they go on breaks, and sometimes when they finish. They also decide which days they’re available for work.
When it comes to income, telecommuters save big-time. Not having to fill up on gas every week or pay for parking or public transportation adds up. The same goes for dry cleaning for dress clothes.
The savings don’t just apply to the work commute. Less driving means less wear on workers’ cars. Telecommuters don’t have to go in for oil changes or maintenance work as frequently as traditional workers.
They also don’t add as much mileage to their cars. As a result, telecommuters’ vehicles retain value longer.
That’s if telecommuters have a car. Some workers need a car solely to get to work.
Since telecommuters don’t need to drive to work, they may be able to swing not having a car. Owning a car is very expensive. Not having a car means no car payments, car repairs, or car insurance to invest in.
Benefits For Employers
How employers benefit from having telecommute workers depends greatly on the telecommute positions.
Many telecommute positions are full-time. Retaining full-time employees means paying them benefits such as paid time off, sick leave, and insurance.
However, many other telecommute positions are contract or part-time. Contract and part-time employees usually aren’t given any benefits — just a paycheck.
Another major advantage of hiring telecommuters is increased selection. A business that opens telecommute positions isn’t limited to only the candidates who live in the area or are willing to move. Additionally, businesses that hire telecommuters won’t be expected to pay for employees’ moving expenses.
Fewer in-office employees also mean less in-office maintenance.
Having fewer employees on-site results in having to provide fewer pieces of equipment. Typical office equipment includes computers, printers, desks, and chairs. All of these pieces of equipment are expensive to purchase and maintain.
Making fewer employers come on-site also means less custodial work. Floors and surfaces won’t need cleaning as often. The same goes for trashcan emptying and bathroom cleaning and maintenance.
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