Work-at-Home Revolution. After all, the Work-at-Home movement didn’t seem very progressive. Often it seems as though the revolution was more of a small rebellion, with just a few businesses and individuals involved.
It is also possible that the revolution is only beginning to find its foundation and the future of telecommuting that we were all told was to come is still likely to occur.
What the News Tells Us
If you keep up with news reports about working from home, you may find it hard to say where the revolution is. Hiring people who work from home can be a significant cost saving for businesses that are just getting off the ground. And some major businesses like Dell just that’s why they allow their employees to operate from home; Dell expects 50 percent of their employees to be telecommuting by 2020.
But for every Dell or startup, there’s a business like IBM or Google that needs workers to join the office or to prevent home-work.
What Workers Care About
Work-at-Home Revolution. Workers finding a work-life balance may also be questioned as to whether they should be working from home. If they remain too far away from the workplace, they might be concerned about not having intimate, face-to-face interactions with their higher-ups and colleagues, and being seen as less important to the project than their peers who are still at their desk. And those worries could lead them to believe that when it comes time for a promotion, it will mean out of reach.
On the other hand, working from home will make life much simpler and more rewarding: there is no traffic burden, and with your loved ones you can have more “face time.” And if you can force yourself to get things done even though the boss is nowhere in sight, you will be just as efficient – if not more efficient – at home as you will be at the workplace.
What the Numbers Tell Us
Work-at-Home Revolution. In 2018, according to the U.S., 24 percent of U.S. employees did some or all of their homework. Bureau of Statistics for Labor (BLS). The figure dropped marginally from a high of 24.1 percent in 2015 and increased from 23.4 percent in 2017.
Now compare the figure of 24% in 2018 to the figure for 2003, when the BLS reported 18.6% of working people worked at home. A rise of 5.4 percentage points in 15 years doesn’t sound like all that much.
The higher the level of education that somebody has, the more likely they are to work from home. For all 25 years of age or older who have advanced degrees, 42 percent did some or all of their homework in 2018. (Nevertheless, the percentage dropped from 45.6 percent in 2017.) However, just 12 percent of those 25 years of age or older with a high school diploma did any homework in 2018. (This number dropped marginally from 12.4 percent in 2017.) There was no drastic change in the real-time spent working at home each day. The total amount of time spent working at home increased from 2.6 hours to 2.9 hours from 2003 through 2018.
Telecommuting acceptance within organizations has been generally on the rise. The Human Resources Management Society (SHRM) reported in 2016 that 60 percent of the organizations surveyed said they enabled telecommuting, up from 20 percent in 1996.
What the Future Holds
Work-at-Home Revolution. Both employers and workers are still getting used to the idea of working people from home. Results from a survey of U.S. employees by Randstad U.S. published in June 2018 revealed that 80 percent preferred working outside the office — either at home or elsewhere — within flexible hours as they are more productive and innovative and felt more fulfilled with jobs. And 66 percent of staff said they tend to often work outside the office from home or from another location. Nonetheless, 62 percent of those aged 18 to 24 said they were in favor of working in the workplace, and that percentage increased to 65 percent.
Sixty-six percent said they liked the opportunity to work outside the office but couldn’t do it, while just 35 percent said their employer-provided them with the equipment they needed to work from home. And just 36 percent said they could work from home whenever they wanted.
Both responses indicate that staff like the idea of a flexible workspace more than they do the day-to-day reality of working outside the workplace, and that managers and owners have not readily accepted employees’ flexible work arrangements stating they want to.
If workers can persuade managers and employers in the coming years that flexibility in the workplace contributes to improved efficiency and client loyalty, then the number of people employed outside the office will pop up a bit. But unless there is a revolution in the sea it seems likely that employees who spend much of their time at home will remain in the minority.