A recent study found that those telecommuting, on average, worked slightly more hours per week than traditional employees.
A study by the University of Minnesota found that those who worked remotely had a more positive work-life balance, felt less job stress, and were more satisfied with their jobs than traditional employees. In contrast, a study at the University of Texas at Austin found that those working from home experienced more social isolation than their office-based peers.
A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior suggested that employees are more collaborative and 12% more productive when they work from home. Due to its popularity, there are many services available to help those who wish to work from home. Telecommuting came into prominence in the 1970s to describe work-related substitutions of telecommunication and related information technologies for travel.
In the 1990s, telecommuting became the subject of pop culture attention. In 1995, the motto that “work is something you do, not something you travel to” was coined. Variations of this motto include: “Work is something we DO, not a place that we GO” and “Work is what we do, not where we are.” Telecommuting has been adopted by a range of businesses, governments and not-for-profit organizations. Organizations may use telecommuting to reduce costs (telecommuting employees do not require an office or cubicle, a space which needs to be rented or purchased, and incurs additional costs such as lighting, climate control, etc.).
Some organizations adopt telecommuting to improve workers’ quality of life, as teleworking typically reduces commuting time and time stuck in traffic jams. Along with this, teleworking may make it easier for workers to balance their work responsibilities with their personal life and family roles (e.g., caring for children or elderly parents). Some organizations adopt teleworking for environmental reasons, as telework can reduce congestion and air pollution, with fewer cars on the roads.
As of 2012, estimates suggest that over fifty million U.S. workers (about 40% of the working population) could work from home at least part of the time, but in 2008 only 2.5 million employees, excluding the self-employed, considered their home to be their primary place of business. Research conducted by University of Texas at Austin found that those working from home experienced more social isolation than their office-based peers. A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior suggested that employees are more collaborative and 12% more productive when they work from home. Due to its popularity, there are many services available to help those who wish to work from home.
Employees who stayed home to work were happier and more productive than those who worked from office. This data was confirmed by Gallup’s September 2019 Employee Engagement survey. Employees who spent more time working from home were happier and more engaged than those who worked from office.
Covid changed the world for remote work, and nearly half of Americans now work consistently from home and will do so until there is widespread distribution of the vaccine.
A broader definition of telecommuting is a “workplace that is not bound by the physical limitations of traditional commuting patterns”. For example, a telecommuter may work from various locations throughout a specified day or week. The ability to work from home, or anywhere there is Internet connectivity, has spawned the growth of the location independent workforces. Virtual location independence allows employees to save on transportation costs, which can be particularly beneficial to those who have limited access to a vehicle.
The term telecommuting became popular in the United States in the late 1980s. The term teleworking appeared in print as early as 1985. The term telework was used in a New York Times article about ‘off-hours’ working in Chicago in 1989. The term telework was used in a Baltimore Sun article in the same year. The term teleworking was used in a Wall Street Journal article in 1990.