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Telework on the decline, thanks to down economy

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The total number of people who worked from home or another remote location for an entire day at least once a month has declined for the first time since the non­profit WorldatWork began measuring telework in 2003.

The teleworking population in 2010 was 26.2 million, down from 33.7 million in 2008. That means about 20% of U.S. em­ployees work remotely at least once a month.

According to the authors of “Tele­­­work 2011: A Special Report from WorldatWork,” the pull-back from telework reflects a psychological shift driven by the anemic economy.

“The decline in the overall ­number of workers due to high unemployment appears to be a factor,” says Rose Stanley, CBP, work/life practice leader for WorldatWork, “along with heightened employee anxiety over job security and a lack of awareness of telework.”

Although the total number of teleworkers has decreased, the percentage of people who telework more often than once per month increased.

In 2010, 84% of teleworkers did so one day per week or more, up from 72% in 2008.

The typical teleworker is a 40-year-old, male college graduate, according to the report.

Nearly one in three employees surveyed viewed telework as a reward or employee benefit.

That’s the wrong attitude, says Kathie Lingle, executive director of WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress. Telework, she says, “is a business power tool that has been associated with impressive increases in employee engagement, productivity and profitability.”

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