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National Survey Finds 11 Percent of Employees Telecommute

Over 10.6 million people - 11 percent of the workforce - telecommute full or part-time, according to the 2005/2006 National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS).

The NTRS survey also found that if everyone who had an employer policy allowing them to telecommute took advantage of it, the share of telecommuters would grow from 11 to 16 percent of the workforce.

The annual survey - sponsored by the Robert H. Smith School of Business' Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland and technology research firm Rockbridge Associates Inc. - asked non-telecommuters whose employers give them the option to telecommute how often they would telecommute. Like those already telecommuting, most indicated they would telecommute part-time, with 68 percent saying they'd do so one or more days per week and an additional 18 percent indicating they would telecommute less than one day per week. Only 14 percent said they would not telecommute.

"With national gas prices hovering near $3 a gallon, American workers could suffer less pain at the pump if they took advantage of workplace telecommuting policies," said Roland Rust, Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Service. "In addition to saving billions of dollars to the economy, the time and money saved on a long commute - even just two days a week - could significantly increase productivity and employee satisfaction."

Other findings from the 2005/2006 NTRS regarding telecommuting - working at home or outside the traditional workplace - include:
  • Of those who do not have the option to telecommute, 13 percent believe they have the kind of job that would allow them to telecommute at least some of the time without interfering with their productivity.
  • The median commuting time reported by U.S. workers with commutes is 20 minutes each way, and the median distance is 10 miles each way.
  • Eighty-two percent of full-time American workers have a Web connection at home, 69 percent of which are high-speed.
A summary of the 2005/2006 survey can be found online at www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ntrs/ or by clicking here.

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