Telecommuting has come a long way, baby.

FlexJobs recently partnered with Global Workplace Analytics to create the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report. FlexJobs, which underwrote the report, is the founder of 1 Million for Workplace Flexibility (and one of the top niche job search boards for flexible and telecommuting jobs). Global Workplace Analytics, which conducted the research and analysis for this report, is a 1 Million for Work Flexibility coalition member and helps businesses and communities understand the need for workplace strategies that help both employer and employee by advocating for telecommuting, flexible work arrangements, and well-being initiatives. Its Telework Savings Calculator helps companies understand the economic, environmental, and societal impact of flexible work.

The report that FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics produced is unique in that it is the only one that focuses on full-time employees who work from home at least half of the time, rather than including people who work from home only occasionally, freelancers, or the self-employed.

One of the major findings from the report is that the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased a whopping 115 percent in the last 10 years.

Some of the other top stats from the 2017 State of Telecommuting Report include:

  • Nine million U.S. employees, or 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005 (115 percent increase since 2005).
  • The average telecommuter is 46 years of age or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker.
  • Roughly the same population of women and men telecommute.
  • Telecommuting is more common among employees over 35 years of age and most common among baby boomers.
  • In more than half of the top U.S. metro areas, telecommuting exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice. It has grown far faster than any other commute mode.

CNN recently covered the FlexJobs and Global Analytics Report, noting that the biggest employer of telecommuters is, interestingly enough, the U.S. government, at 3.1 percent. Read CNN’s full analysis of the report here: “Working From Home is Really Having a Moment.”

What is causing this shift? There are several factors, including ever-evolving technology that makes telecommuting an easier option for companies, as well as a changing middle class family dynamic.

“The middle class norm changed from one parent working and one staying at home to two working parents being more common and growth in single-parent families are big factors driving telecommuting to save time when and where you can,” said Sutton Fell in the CNN article.

Telecommuting is also one of the greenest ways to work. It reduces the carbon footprint for each non-commuting worker, and companies also see some serious green—in the form of $11,000 annual savings per telecommuting employee.

It will be interesting to see what the future of telecommuting holds, and what the world of remote work will look like over the next decade.

photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com