How do knowledge workers fit into the organizational ecosystem? As their numbers increase in businesses all across the world, so do telecommuting and flexible work, according to a recent PGi infographic.
Over the past 20 years, telecommuting has been on the rise, as knowledge workers—engineers, writers, consultants, developers and others—grow in numbers throughout the global workforce. Unlike hands-on employees, knowledge workers only need a place to think and create. The traditional office is losing its place as the center of work, as 80 percent of surveyed knowledge workers said that their organization offers telecommuting options.
One of the contributing reasons for this rise in flexible work is that technologies now exist to make “anywhere work” possible. The PGi survey reported that 91 percent of telecommuters have a company-issued laptop, 76 percent have remote or VPN access to company data, 75 percent have web conferencing tools and 62 percent have a cellphone or smartphone.
These findings also illustrate what businesses and workers alike are coming to accept: Telecommuting, even one day per week, provides employees with emotional benefits and businesses with operational improvements.
According to the survey, telecommuting employees see improvements in their stress level (82 percent), morale (80 percent), productivity (70 percent) and absenteeism (69 percent). Of those who do telecommute, 50 percent report telecommuting one day a week and 22 percent spend five or more days telecommuting each week. For businesses, a reduction in real estate and travel costs blend with a rise in worker productivity and global talent acquisition to make flexible work arrangements an important opportunity for growth and success.
Employees worried that telecommuting could cause their career to suffer can take solace in the fact that 77 percent of respondents reported telecommuting improves or has no impact on career advancement. The survey also found that telecommuting is widespread, with 80 percent of respondents reporting their office allows employees to telecommute. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of knowledge workers report they participate in their employer’s telecommuting program.
The survey findings come more than one year after notable companies announced the end of their telecommuting policy. While the decision set off a firestorm of discussions about telecommuting, interestingly, 89 percent of respondents stated their telecommuting policy did not change during the past year. And, for those who did report a change only six percent stated their company ended an established program.
About the Survey
PGi conducted an online survey of U.S.-based customers and knowledge workers in February 2014, securing responses from 933 individuals.