A report from the Telework Research Network, sponsored by Citrix, has some interesting findings on the State of Telework in the US (which is the name of the free report – available here)
Key findings include:
Working from home, telecommuting and flexible working is still a perk rather than an accepted business practice.
A typical ‘workshifter’ is 49 years old, college educated and in a management, senior employee or professional role.
More than three quarters of employees working from home earn over $65,000 per year, putting them in the upper 80 percentile of all employees.
64 million US employees hold jobs that could be done at home at least part of the time, yet fewer than three million get the chance (despite the fact that half of all non-teleworkers are interested in working from home).
In fact 37% of non-teleworkers would take a pay cut to be able to have more independence in where and how they work.
The study found no correlation between cities with the most congestion or longest commute times and number of workshifters.
There are some real differences here between the US and the UK. Citrix points out that in the UK 5.6% of the population teleworks regularly, compared to just 2.3% in the US. Much of that is to do with travel time, cost and reliability in the UK, although reducing the emissions from transport is increasingly being targeted by corporate CSR departments, so it kills two birds with one stone (as much green ICT does). And once set up, teleworking tends to get used more and more as the savings and advantages become apparent.
Citrix also points out that companies will ultimately have little choice but to implement virtual work practices more widely. The flexibility is a business advantage as well as offering a better work-life balance. Most of us already have, and use, much of the communications and collaboration technology to enable us to work anytime, anywhere, so it seems strange for employers to stand in the way of teleworking. As Citrix puts it ‘Outdated management thinking is often the only serious obstacle to more flexible and virtual work practices’.
Particularly since it saves money and helps save the planet.