Gallup reports that 43% of employees in the United States worked from home at least part of the time in 2016. The figure is up from 39% in 2012, highlighting the growing trend that American employees are working from home more often.
The percentage of time that remote workers spent at home working also rose from 24% of employees spending 80% of their time remote working to 31%. Workers that spent 20% of their time or less working remotely decreased their time working.
Telecommuting jobs are restricted to specific areas, with Student Loan Hero reporting that California has the highest number of positions available for telecommuters as of 2017. Ulta was among the top companies that were hiring remotely in California.
Texas ranked second, with large brands hiring remote workers, including Williams Sonoma and Wells Fargo. Virginia ranked third, with CVS Health and the American Red Cross both offering remote work in the state. New York came in at fourth, with Teach for America and American Express among the top companies paying employees to work remotely.
Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and Ohio all made the top 15 list for states with remote working opportunities.
Small towns across the country are feeling the impact of remote work. Grants, New Mexico is a town that once boomed with employment due to the town’s rich source of uranium. The mining industry helped build the town, which now is a shadow of itself. Motels line the once bustling streets and show signs of years of neglect.
Mining helped boost the economy, but once the mining boom was over, many residents were left without work. Residents still remained in Grant, but the time when work was plentiful is long gone.
Consistent work is difficult in the town, which lost its main source of industry. Unemployment rates are higher than the national average, and the local economy consists of private prisons, which offer little to no work. Locals have become accustomed to 80-mile commutes that land them in bigger cities where jobs are in higher supply.
Rural communities are suffering from residents choosing to leave cities that they grew up in and want to stay in for larger cities with adequate employment. Big industries in New Mexico are lured to urban centers that have adequate residents to fill vacant positions.
New Mexico is working to reverse this trend through grants that train workers in participation with SoloWorks. The grants connect workers to remote work out-of-state after training them to be qualified for the job.
The goal of the program is to bring money into many of the rural towns that are struggling to stay afloat after the mining boom settled. The program has been revised in 2018 with a focus on retention for employees. The program trains about 20 – 25 individuals with the hopes of helping the individuals find remote work. The results in 2018 are promising, with 12 of the 21 people trained finding remote jobs.
Two of the individuals have already started their jobs, while the remaining need further training before their job begins.
SoloWorks plans to expand their service to other communities in New Mexico. The program is facing hurdles due to a lack of infrastructure and broadband connectivity. Remote work positions often require broadband connections, which many of the potential employees are lacking.
The program is also missing the mark for higher-paying jobs. Individuals that have trained and landed jobs are often placed into low-paying positions, such as customer service or transcription. New Mexico lawmakers are hesitant to continue with the program, which is already underfunded due to the jobs created being low-paying.
Residents are trying to bring awareness to the lack of employment opportunities in their towns to help boost government support for remote work programs.
Residents of small, rural towns claim that they want to work and remote work offers them the opportunity to provide for their family while staying in the towns that they call “home.”
Remote work has proven to be beneficial to businesses that want to reduce costs and overhead. Worker productivity improves and employee efficiency rises. Surveys state that 30% of remote workers claim that they get more work done in less time when they’re allowed to work remotely.
Telecommuters, 82% of those surveyed, also suffer from less stress. Employee turnover is also reduced, according to a study from Stanford University. Millennials, those that are younger workers, responded with 68% stating that working remotely would greatly increase their interest in working for a company.