When you hear the words “remote worker,” what images come to mind? Perhaps you picture a tech-savvy twenty-something sitting in a cafe and tapping away on his tablet. Maybe you think of a mother in her thirties trying to balance the demands of career and family, by working from her home office. Or, you imagine a team of independent, international contractors.
Whatever the setup, the practice of working remotely, or off-site from a physical business, is very common these days- more common than you may think. Around 33 million people in the US work remotely at least half of the time they work. In fact, the number of remote and stay-at-home workers increased by 79.7 percent from 2005 to 2012.
So, who are these people and their employers? A recent infographic entitled, “The Profile of the Remote Worker” offers a pictorial representation of the average telecommuter as well as some of the amazing benefits to be enjoyed by both the employee and his or her employer.
What’s particularly interesting is that according to data from the U.S Census Bureau, the average remote worker seems to break many of the common stereotypes. Telecommuters are on average 49-years-old, college educated, and tend to be employed by a company that has more than 100 workers. They are not working for peanuts, either. The average annual salary is $58,000 dollars. This means, that many remote workers may actually be holding mid to upper level positions within their companies.
Most remote stay-at-home workers are in the services industry, followed by the management and financial industry and then office and administrative support. Not surprisingly, states with vast rural areas and harsher weather, such as Oregon, Montana, Colorado and Vermont, have the largest remote work force.
Benefits All Around
What is convincing so many companies to embrace a remote workforce? The data reveals that remote workers tend to have greater productivity, job satisfaction, and better work-life balance, plus even though they are working away from the office, they actually feel more connected to their coworkers. You can’t go wrong with that, and most likely businesses are also saving on the indirect costs of having a totally on-site workforce as well, such as utilities and office supplies.
The bottom line is that telecommuting has quietly become the standard way of doing business; and it’s not just a fallout of advances in telecommunications and mobile computing. It’s because it just make sense- for both the business and its employees.