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Telecommuting Trends: Is It For You?
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Despite telecommuting's promise of big cost savings and increased productivity, most businesses aren't ready to let employees work at home yet.
Experts once predicted that telecommuting would be the norm by the early 21st century, but employer mistrust of unmonitored workers is delaying the dreams of American employees, 80% of whom would like to work from home, according to recent survey data from WorldatWork. Though the number of workers who call home their primary workplace jumped by over 60 percent from 2005-2009, says Telework Research Network, this translates to only 2.8 million employees.
However, that figure does not include home-based businesses, which accounted for another 3.1 million workers in 2008, or employees who worked from home at least one day a week, which accounts for another 20-30 million workers.
“Part-time teleworkers include millions of mobile workers (“road warriors”) who charge a lot of business expenses to their credit cards,” said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey. “What’s more, 10.3 percent of small business owners use credit cards to help finance their start-ups.”
Tran noted that the typical teleworker is a college-educated 35- to 54-year-old, non-union employee working in telecommuting-compatible professions such as accounting, graphic design, engineering, computer programming, journalism/copywriting, administrative support or customer service. At least 40% of the U.S. workforce (52 million people) holds telework-compatible jobs.
“Despite the bottom-line benefits, it’s mostly the larger companies (those with 100+ employees) that are hopping on the telework bandwagon,” says Tran. “In the long term, it’s inevitable that many more jobs will be done at home, but in the near term, the spirit is willing, but employer trust is weak.”
There are plenty of benefits for employees or business owners who work from home, there are also many concerns. Some of these issues are outlined below.
How to Get Started
Visit career and job-finding websites, as well as other online resources, for checklists that help you determine:
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