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04 Jun. 2012 | Comments (0)

The nature of work is changing…and in so many different ways.  With advancements in technologies, work can occur in an office, at home, or traveling through an airport.  Research reveals the undeniable trend of both employees and employers shifting to alternative work arrangements to better accommodate work-life pressures, changing perceptions of the traditional workplace, and employees’ desires for flexibility. Since the recent economic crises has not reduce the challenge of finding and attracting the right talent, a telework program that is appropriately implemented can have significant positive impact on talent acquisition and employee engagement. 

Employees are taking more frequent advantage of such workplace flexibility across the board. A new report by The Conference Board finds that the proportion of employees who work predominately from home (or another remote location) has, over the last decade, more than tripled in many industries, while nearly doubling nationwide among all full-time (non–self-employed) U.S. workers.  Eighty-four percent of employees who telework more than once per month now work remotely at least one day per week. In 2008, that number was 72 percent.     

The latest research finds that teleworking rates  (just over 2 percent nationwide) remain highest in occupations traditionally associated with the practice—including child care workers (9.1 percent in 2010), writers and authors (9.3 percent), and sales representatives (10.8 percent). The fastest growth, however, has been outside these familiar work-from-home roles, with the most dramatic increases seen in computer-related positions and others reliant on remote access to technical systems. The advancements in home networking over the last decade have been accompanied by huge teleworking gains among records clerks, 5.5 percent of whom teleworked in 2008–10 (up 516 percent since 2001–2003); insurance underwriters (4.5 percent, up 275 percent); lawyers (2.0 percent, up 166 percent); computer software developers (6.1 percent, up 127 percent); and many similar professions.

Teleworkers often cite improved performance and better productivity with fewer distractions and less involvement in office politics, higher autonomy, and more control over how work is done, which can lead to greater job satisfaction.  Ultimately, this leads to lower turnover, fewer family-work conflicts, lower absenteeism, and less stress and depression, leading to higher job commitment, job satisfaction, and loyalty.  Companies can also tap into wider talent pools beyond their “local” offices, such as military veterans, individuals with disabilities, or mature workers that have delayed retirement. Across the country, there may also be pockets of specific talent (i.e., hi-tech) from which creative companies can draw talent with teleworking, while reducing the need for buildings and office space.

Are you currently a teleworker?  If so, please tell us about your experience working from a remote location?

For further information, see the new report, “The Incredible Disappearing Office: Making Telework Work."

A webcast on the topic featuring, among others, the CEO of The Conference Board, Jon Spector, will take place on 07 June, 11:00 AM EST. 

Register now for this webcast.

View our complete listing of Talent Management, Strategic HR, and Employee Engagement blogs.

  • About the Author:Amy Lui Abel, PhD

    Amy Lui  Abel, PhD

    Amy Lui Abel is Vice President of Human Capital Research at The Conference Board. She leads research efforts focusing on human capital analytics, leadership development, labor markets, strategic …

    Full Bio | More from Amy Lui Abel, PhD

  • About the Author:Gad Levanon, PhD

    Gad Levanon, PhD

    Gad Levanon is Vice President, Labor Markets for The Conference Board, where he oversees the labor market, US forecasting, and Help Wanted OnLine© programs. His research focuses on trends in…

    Full Bio | More from Gad Levanon, PhD


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