Almost 80% of all employees said they would work from home if they could. Fifty million U.S. employees who want to work from home hold jobs that are telework compatible, though only 2.9 million consider home their primary place of work (2.3% of the workforce).
The study claims the existing 2.9 million U.S. telecommuters save 390 million gallons of gas and prevent the release of 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gases yearly. If those with compatible jobs worked at home 2.4 days a week (the national average of those who do), the reduction in greenhouse gases (51 million tons) would be equivalent of taking the entire New York workforce off the roads.
In addition, the study report said the national savings would total over $900 billion a year; enough to reduce our Persian Gulf oil imports by 46%. The energy saved annually from telecommuting could exceed the output of all renewable energy sources combined.
The study found regular telecommuting grew by 61% between 2005 and 2009. During the same period, home-based self-employment grew by 1.7%.
Other survey findings include:
- Based on current trends, with no growth acceleration, regular telecommuters will total 4.9 million by 2016, a 69% increase from the current level but well below other forecasts.
- Seventy-six percent of telecommuters work for private sector companies, down from 81% in 2005—the difference is largely attributable to increased work at home among state and federal workers.
- Using home as a ‘reasonable accommodation’ per the Americans with Disabilities Act, 316,000 people regularly work from home.
- The typical telecommuter is a 49-year-old, college-educated, salaried, non-union employee in a management or professional role, earning $58,000 a year at a company with more than 100 employees.
- The biggest barrier to telecommuting, by a wide margin, is management fear and mistrust.