Wednesday, October 02, 2019

25% of Workers Sometimes Work from Home

Remember when computers and the internet were going to revolutionize the world of work? The ability to work remotely would solve all sorts of social and economic problems—allowing parents to care for young children, saving workers the time and expense of commuting, and lowering the cost of office space for employers. We're still waiting...

Wage and salary workers by work-at-home status, 2017–18
Total wage and salary workers: 100.0%
Workers who occasionally worked at home: 24.8%
Workers with days worked exclusively at home: 14.7%
Workers who worked exclusively at home at least one day per week: 8.0%

While 25 percent of wage and salary workers occasionally worked at home during the 2017–18 time period, according to the American Time Use Survey, many were just finishing up office work after hours. Only 15 percent of wage and salary workers spent a day working exclusively from home, and just 8 percent worked at home exclusively at least one day per week.

Why haven't computers and the internet created a sizable work-at-home labor force? Parents found out it was too hard to manage child care and job duties at the same time. Workers discovered face time at the office was worth the hassle of the commute. Employers grew weary of remote management. For whatever reason, working at home has not turned out to be as popular as once predicted. Of those who occasionally worked at home in 2017–18, the 56 percent majority did so primarily for personal reasons—it was their preference, they were trying to fit work in with personal or family needs, or they wanted to reduce commuting costs. But a substantial 43 percent worked at home primarily out of necessity—they had to catch up on work, their employer required it, or bad weather kept them at home.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Flexibilities and Work Schedules—2017–2018 Data from the American Time Use Survey

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