Microsoft Tracks Telework Trends, Ranks Top Cities for Home Workers

Microsoft Tracks Telework Trends, Ranks Top Cities for Home Workers

Image CC licensed by Flickr user NetDiva

It's no wonder why teleworking is on the rise.

Employees can save about $6,500 a year by teleworking from home just one day per week. Workers are also more productive when they telework, often clocking in longer hours in exchange for avoiding that grueling commute. In fact, a telecommuting schedule that also includes flex-time can add up to a 55 hour-work week that doesn't leave workers feeling overwhelmed.

The findings of a recent survey (PPT) from Microsoft of information workers illustrates these trends. Across the country, employees said they want to telework twice as much (nearly nine days per month) as they actually do (four days per month), driven largely by the desire for better work-home balance and a commute-free work day. They said their peers are also more supportive of telework arrangements than their bosses, with the top pet peeves being a lack of face-time and quick responses.

The same survey also found that Atlanta outranks other major cities when it comes to letting information employees work from home in their pajamas. Part of this can be explained by Atlanta's growing position as a telecom and IT gateway to the Southeastern U.S., so these type of jobs naturally lend themselves to telework. Information workers in Georgia's most populous city work at home five days a month -- one day more than the national average.

Atlanta information workers also get a lot of props from their colleagues, with 55 percent reporting that their peers support remote working arrangements. Fifty-seven percent of Atlanta businesses have a formal telecommuting policy in place -- mirroring the national average -- while 80 percent said their companies provide access to technology support for working remotely. 

"We are not surprised," Brian Carr, director of communications for The Clean Air Campaign, said in an email. "Matter of fact, a survey released earlier this year from the Georgia Department of Transportation showed that telework in metro Atlanta has overtaken carpooling and transit as the No. 1 commute alternative. Long commutes combined with large numbers of corporate headquarters, political support and the ubiquity of high speed Internet access have created a great environment for the adoption of teleworking."

The nonprofit works to get more employers to embrace teleworking as a workplace strategy. Telework has shown to improve productivity and boost morale, which has helped to move some large employers that were once on the fence about teleworking to embrace it. While information workers are geared toward teleworking, growth as been across the board, Carr said. 

"But the growth of telework among all types of industry segments and job types cannot be understated," he said. "Forward-thinking employers are embracing telework as a business strategy, and the region has the infrastructure to support it. Today, 600,000 Atlantans telework at least occasionally … enough people to fill the Georgia Dome eight times."

Behind Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle and Denver rounded out the top five telework cities, according to the Microsoft 'Work Without Wall' Report: U.S. Telework Trends 2011 (PPT). The full list and ranking is below:

1. Atlanta
2. Dallas
3. Phoenix
4. Seattle
5. Denver
6. Boston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. San Francisco
9. Houston
10. Minneapolis
11. New York
12. Philadelphia
13. Los Angeles
14. Detroit
15. Chicago

Image CC licensed by Flickr user NetDiva.