Crunching the Numbers
Danny King of the Daily Finance has the numbers broken down a bit more. He believes that the number of telecommuters will grow by 12 percent, and actual home-based businesses will see a surge greater than 10 percent.
Why do improved economic times herald an increase in work-from-home opportunities? King quotes an IDC official who says that when times are tough, people feel insecure. They want to be seen at the office and feel like a part of the team. As conditions ease up, folks feel a little more relaxed, more confident of their roles in the company without necessarily being seen at the company water cooler. They are more apt to ask for permission to telecommute. Concomitant technological advances make this an easy thing to do--more on that in a minute.
That ties in with the ways that people respond to expectations from supervisors to get more done in a day. Companies put pressure on people to be more productive, and in order to meet that goal they are willing to take work home and do it—and in the case of salaried employees, they do not get paid any extra money for doing so.
As far as the baby boomers go, fewer people plan on retiring in their 50s compared with a decade ago. King also reports on a Gallup poll that shows the amount of boomers expecting to work past age 65 has increased by 15 percent since 1996. Many of them lost money in real estate and stock market ventures that they planned to use for their retirement, so they’re still packing their lunchboxes.
An added factor involves the greater reluctance among boomers who cannot retire to keep taking orders from someone else. They would rather make an effort to put in hours at home and work without direct supervision—whether it involves telecommuting or establishing their own business.
Some maturing boomers have the same problem as young parents: Both groups must provide care in the home. For the boomers, it’s an aged parent that requires their constant attention. Young parents are opting to work from home so they can save the cost of child care.
That brings us full circle to today’s young adults in the workforce. According to Dori Meinert in the Society for Human Resource Management, accessing flexible work time has become much more common to accommodate today’s cultural and economic trends. By the time today’s teens join the workforce, telecommuting may well be a ubiquitous choice.