Men comprise nearly 60% of telecommuters nationwide, but women are gaining ground, a recent survey shows.
Overall, about one-third of full-time employees work remotely at least part of the time, with women representing 39% of teleworkers in 2015, up from 29% in 2013, according to the survey, which was sponsored by Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit and Citrix.
The survey coincides with other research related to the increasing popularity of telecommuting.
A 2015 poll by Gallup found that 37% of American workers had worked from home, up significantly from the 9% who telecommuted 20 years ago. The average worker telecommuted two days a month, and college-educated and higher-income employees were more likely to work remotely.
The Gallup poll also found that 46% of workers were more likely to telecommute instead of going into the office during regular business hours compared with 45% who were more likely to work remotely in addition to going into the office. Seven years earlier, those percentages were 33% and 54%, respectively.
“This represents a significant shift in the nature of telecommuting, from its use as a supplement to the normal workday to its use as a replacement for being in the office,” the pollsters reported.
Additionally, a recent report by Global Workplace Analytics found that while the employee population grew by 1.8% between 2013 and 2014, the telecommuter population grew by 6.5%.
About 2.5% of the U.S. workforce spend at least half their time working from home and demand for the telecommuting option is strong, according to the Global Workplace Analytics study, which was based on an analysis of 2005-2014 U.S. Census data. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of workers express a desire to work remotely at least part time, ideally two to three days a week.
As telecommuting has become more common – thanks, in large part, to technological advances – concerns have eased that people who work remotely may not work as hard as their office-bound colleagues.
Gallup’s pollsters found that 58% of Americans believe there’s no difference in productivity between telecommuters and traditional workers. That’s up from 47% in 1995. Among telecommuters, 80% said remote workers are at least as productive as office-based employees.
About 90% of respondents to the Flex+Strategy Group survey said they felt trusted by their supervisor to complete their duties regardless of work location.
Gallup reported that businesses may view telecommuting as a way to keep talented employees who might otherwise quit because of life changes. Previous research indicates that workers who telecommute at least part of the time tend to have higher levels of career engagement, and engaged workers typically go hand-in-hand with higher profits, better productivity and happier customers, the report noted.