Labor Study Looks at Work at Home

About 19.8 million people said they usually work from home for at least part of their job, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March. The study looked at both the frequency and the nature of work that is being done at home.

Who Worked from Home.
Of the 19.8 million working at home 70 percent (13.9 million) were wage and salary workers, and 30 percent were self-employed.

Out of the 13.9 million wage and salary workers, 17 percent (3.4 million) had a formal arrangement to be paid for the work they did at home. The remainder (10.9 million) took work home from the job on an unpaid basis.

How Often.
On average those expressly paid for their work at home logged 18 hours per week at home, with 1 in 6 putting in 35 hours or more of work at home.

Of the 10.3 million workers taking work home from the job, the average time spent working at home was 7 hours per week, with fewer than 1 in 4 working 8 hours or more per week at home.

Reasons for Working at Home.
Excluding those who are self-employed, nearly 6 in 10 workers who took work home said the reason was to "finish or catch-up on work". 3 in 10 workers said they did work at home at least once per week because it was the "nature of the job", while1 in 10 arranged to work at home to "coordinate work schedule with personal or family needs"

Occupation and Industry.
Regardless of whether there was a formal arrangement to be paid for work done at home, most home workers were employed in managerial, professional, and sales occupations. Among those paid to work at home, about half worked in managerial and professional specialty jobs, and another 1 in 5 worked in sales occupations.

Managers and professionals accounted for a higher proportion (about three-fourths) of those just taking work home from the job. Schoolteachers (excluding college) especially were likely to do unpaid work at home, with 2.7 million--or almost half of all teachers--reporting such activity in 2001. Another 1.3 million persons who put in time at home without an explicit pay arrangement worked in sales jobs.

From an industry perspective, workers employed in the services industries (such as business services, educational services, and other professional services) were among the most likely to usually work at home in 2001.

The complete work-at-home report is accessible at