The number of people working out of their homes has jumped 40% in the past two years,
largely spurred on by better technology and horrifying commuting traffic.
Teleworkers are a booming part of the American workforce. In 1997, there were 11.6 million
Americans employed by a company but working from home. Today that number has hit 23.5
million, according to research from the Dieringer Research Group, which compiled the 2003
American Interactive Consumer Survey. The ITAC, or International Telework Association and
Council, revealed the study.
”This latest research quantifies what we have believed about the growth of teleworking in
America,” says Tim Kane, president of both ITAC and the Kinetic Workplace. ”Telework is
coming of age, as the enabling technology, tools and training become available.”
Teleworkers are defined as people who work outside the company’s main location. This
includes a home office, a satellite office or a hotel room while the worker is on the road
for business. This recent study deals with teleworkers who work out of their homes.
Bob Smith, executive director of ITAC, says technology, like broadband service and instant
messaging, is making it easier for people to work outside the office.
”It’s a variety of technologies,”says Smith. ”It’s the use of email. It’s the growing use
of broadband. And our research shows that while broadband is still in a minority, in terms
of how people connect, it also demonstrates that when you do have broadband in the home,
people look at working in the home no differently than working in the office. They have all
the capabilities, in terms of speed and access for email, research, communication and
collaboration with people in remote locations.”
Smith adds that they’re seeing explosive growth in instant messaging. ”It’s quickly gone
from nothing to a very high percentage of people using IM for their business
communications,” he adds.
And Smith says he foresees teleworking continuing to increase.
”To me, there’s a variety of incentives for it to continue,” Smith says. ”Commuting in
metropolitan areas is not going to get any better. And people want to be able to maintain
business continuity in terms of natural and man-made disasters. The technology also is
making it easier and cheaper to keep people connected in remote locations. And we can’t
forget the incentive, particularly with large organizations, with saving real estate office
space by encouraging people to work at home.
Smith adds, ”There’s so many personal and business savings that the number of teleworkers
should definitely continue to increase.”