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April 27, 2007

Telecommuting

A few years ago some futurists were predicting that a large percentage of workers would be telecommuting. Has the prediction come true? N.C. State University economist explains what the facts and figures show.

“Well you see this more and more … Unfortunately we don’t have precise numbers on telecommuting. But the best numbers we do have indicate that about 15 percent of the workforce, which comes to about 21 million workers, do telecommute or work from their home at least once a week,” says Dr. Walden.

“Now there are several issues here. One is simply that many jobs aren’t suitable for telecommuting because they have to be performed on site. Obviously if you work in a factory you have to go to that factory. If you go repair appliances you have got to go to that person’s home. So many of us are not going to have an option to telecommute.

"Also from the company’s perspective, there’s the questions about the cost of the equipment, control over the equipment and certainly supervising workers. And then for the worker there are some issues related to motivation. Some people work better in groups rather than (alone). Also lack of ready access to your colleagues -- that may affect productivity.

"Bottom line," he concludes, "certainly telecommuting is just right for some people. It’s not right for others."

Posted by deeshore at April 27, 2007 07:47 AM