Nearly 4.3 million employees worked from home at least part-time during 2018, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics. That's an increase of 140% since 2005. Millions more work in positions that could easily lend themselves to flextime and telecommuting, at least a couple days a week.
Experts have long predicted that the emergence of mobile technology would eventually have a major impact on the way people work, and that time has come. EMarketer indicates that adults spent more than three and a half hours a day on their mobile smartphones in 2018, even when they worked in brick-and-mortar workplaces, and it's expected that they'll spend more time staring at their phones than at television screens in 2019.
That's a lot of texting, surfing the internet, and collaborating using mobile technology, both in the office and on the go. Smart employers have begun to offer a lot more flextime and telecommuting to keep up with these trends and employee preferences.
The Global Business Atmosphere
Companies have started to expand globally. Teams are no longer always sitting in the same office, or even in the same state or country. They have to work outside normal work hours to accommodate team members in other time zones, and this demands more flexibility in scheduling.
Traveling employees can take their work on the road with them to improve their productivity levels, and companies can safely outsource tasks to contractors in other regions.
Telecommuting Appeals to Younger Workers
Telecommuting and flextime appeal to the younger, more technologically savvy generation of workers. An employee benefits package that allows for flexible schedules and remote work options is a major boon if your company hopes to attract and recruit the freshest young talent.
Millennials now make up the single largest population of workers, just behind baby boomers who are retiring and leaving in droves. They're more inclined to work looser schedules that allow them to focus on work when they want to, and they prioritize their personal commitments the rest of the time.
It's expected that 75% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025, and they want more flexibility and versatility.
The Value of Work/Life Balance
More work/life balance is a new value in the workplace, with flextime and remote work leading the way. The Workplace Trends 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study revealed that while “67% of employers feel workers have work-life balance, 45% of employees disagree."
Many employees are part of the "sandwich generation"—they're taking care of ailing baby boomer parents while simultaneously raising their own children. Flexible schedule and telecommuting allow employees to make the most of their time without sacrificing their careers or personal lives.
The good news is that companies are taking steps to provide employee benefits that honor greater flexibility and the option to work from home as necessary. The Workplace Trends study indicated that seven out of 10 HR managers have made flexible work benefits a priority, and 87% of organizations have experienced improved employee satisfaction. About 71% have seen an increase in productivity.