NWFM 2018 Survey Results: Remote Work Fuels Flexibility for Families

NWFM Survey Results 2018

Virtual Vocations’ National Work and Family Month Survey results are in! In this article, we analyze the data and offer solutions for achieving your long-term career goals without sacrificing quality time with the people you love.

October 2018 National Work and Family Month Survey Results

In 2003, the U.S. Congress officially dedicated the month of October to acknowledge and support flexible workplaces that afford better work-life balance. National Work and Family Month (NWFM) celebrates traditional and alternative work environments that promote employee well-being, professional development, health programs, and increased family time.

At Virtual Vocations, we affirm that the telecommuting work model opens doors for career advancement and makes work-life balance possible. However, we also know that many jobseekers are still on the fence about remote employment. Therefore, we surveyed our members to gain insight into their experience, motivation, and how they approach their telecommute careers.

From October 1 to October 6, 2018, registered Virtual Vocations members had the opportunity to voluntarily participate in our 2018 Flexibility and Family Survey sent via email. Participants also entered a drawing to receive one of five prize packages valued at $200 each, including a resumé review by our certified resumé writer. We received 1,664 responses from individuals with a range of remote work experience, work-life goals, and occupational preferences. Based on the data, here’s what we learned about the state of telecommuting in 2018.

The State of Telecommuting in 2018

Overall, jobseekers want more flexibility in their schedules and turn to telecommuting as a solution. Here are a few notable statistics from the survey:

  • 44.2% of telecommuters have been working remotely for at least five years
  • 65.4% of telecommuters work in a designated home office
  • 42.7% of telecommuters are parents or caregivers
  • 54.2% of telecommuters work as independent contractors
  • 67.7% of telecommuters can have dinner with their families every night

In the next sections, we elaborate on this data, provide additional insight from survey respondents and external resources, and offer guidance for telecommute jobseekers.

Telecommuting Experience

Telecommuting can make for a lasting career – not just a short-term employment solution. Plus, telecommute jobseekers want long-term employment, but they’re not afraid to switch jobs to achieve their goals.

As evidence, 44.2% of telecommuting survey respondents have at least five years of telecommuting experience, and 23.2% have been in their current position for at least six years. Therefore, the 31.8% of respondents who started a new telecommute job within the past year can look forward to continuing remote employment for years to come.

Global Workplace Analytics concurs that the telecommuting workforce is growing faster than the traditional and self-employed workforce. Since 2005, remote professionals have increased by 140%, and 95% of companies recognize that remote work environments influence employee retention.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You can turn telecommuting into a long-term career strategy, but you don’t necessarily need prior telecommuting experience to get started. Also, it’s possible to find a job for life, but there’s no reason to stay in a position that does not align with your work or life goals.

Learn More: Back to Basics: Easy Telecommute Tips for Launching a Successful Career

Telecommuting Frequency and Work Location

Most telecommute respondents (68.3%) work remotely every day, while over one-third work from home at least occasionally. More than half have a dedicated home office, but at least one-third still prefer to lounge on the couch or set up shop in an empty corner.

Typically, the nature of an occupation dictates the telecommute frequency. For example, registered nurses who serve as remote case managers can usually perform all their tasks at home. However, nurses who administer direct patient care may visit hospitals, clinics, or patient homes on occasion.

Also, daily task requirements determine whether workers need a dedicated home office. Customer service representatives who answer phone calls and hold one-on-one conversations with clients, for instance, likely need a quiet space without background noise or disruptions. Web developers and writers, on the other hand, may do their best work at the kitchen table or cozied up on the sofa.

In either case, over half of all survey respondents like to work outside of their homes, such as a coffee shop, bookstore, or co-working space, on occasion.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You can find 100% telecommute positions or partial telecommute jobs based on your occupation, employment needs, and interests. Some telecommute jobs require travel to headquarters or client sites, but much of the administrative and independent tasks can be completed remotely. Also, home offices are best for productive work, especially if you have a full house. However, you have the freedom to work how and where you want to maximize creativity and efficiency.

Parents and Caregivers

Of all telecommuting survey respondents, 42.7% have children or a family member that they care for at home, while only 15% of respondents utilize in-home or outside care services. Many parents and caregivers find that working from home on a flexible schedule helps accommodate household members’ needs without completely compromising their career goals, income, and professional interests.

In 2015, the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 61% of caregivers alter their employment, such as call off frequently, reduce hours, take a pay cut, and forfeit benefits because they are unable to fulfill their professional duties while caring for their loved ones. However, Gallup found that absenteeism due to caregiving costs the U.S. economy $25.2 billion per year. Thus, it behooves employers to offer more flexibility and telecommute options so that they retain their workforce and avoid unnecessary costs.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You can find part-time and full-time jobs that work around your family members’ schedules. No more taking sick days when your kids stay home from school or using vacation time to take a parent to a doctor’s appointment. Though it’s challenging to earn reliable income while supporting your loved ones, telecommuting can relieve the burden and provide more financial and emotional stability.

Most Telecommute-Friendly Industries

Information technology, writing and editing, education, customer service, and healthcare are currently the hottest industries for telecommuters and account for more than half of all telecommuting jobs.

  • 14.1% of respondents work in information technology
  • 12.2% work in writing and editing
  • 11% work in education
  • 8.1% work in customer service
  • 7.4% work in healthcare

Other popular industries include marketing, consulting, administration, and business operations. Such sectors rely heavily on cloud-based technologies, which can connect individuals and teams from all over the globe, thereby reducing the need for in-office work arrangements. Additionally, customers are increasingly interested in and reliant on Internet-based products and services that enable them to fulfill and support their own needs quickly.

For example, Babson Survey Research Group found that over one-third of all higher education students enroll in at least one online course, and overall on-campus student presence dropped from 2012 to 2016. Therefore, the demand for online educators increases as more students participate in virtual learning environments.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You can find reliable employment now and for years to come in these top industries. However, most other industries and occupations have remote work options. Use the job filters and search bar in our telecommute job database to find your current or ideal occupation.

Learn More: Top 100 Telecommute Companies for 2018

Employment Status

Telecommuters can work as employees or independent contractors. While 54.2% of telecommute respondents work as independent contractors, the remaining 45.8% are classified as employees.

There are pros and cons to each employment type, such as tax deductions, healthcare insurance coverage, retirement savings plans, and time off. However, contracting and telecommuting tend to go together like copy and paste. As of 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that 6.9% of the U.S. workforce identified themselves as independent contractors, independent consultants, or freelancers. Plus, nearly 80% of all contractors admitted that they prefer an alternative work arrangement compared to a traditional environment.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You can find full-time, part-time, contractor, seasonal, and temporary telecommute jobs. It just depends on your financial needs and goals, work preferences, industry, and career path.

Learn More: Remote Work Types: W-2 Employee and Independent Contractor Pros and Cons

Work-Life Balance

Most telecommute workplaces afford better work-life balance, mainly due to time savings and flexibility. We found that 67.7% of telecommute respondents can eat dinner with their families every night and 71.8% feel their jobs have clear work-family boundaries.

This is great news for employers, as work-life balance proves to be a top contributor to employee satisfaction. In fact, in Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace Report, 53% of employees stated that work-life balance was very important and 51% would switch jobs for a more flexible schedule.

However, some jobs are naturally more demanding. For example, upper management positions and occupations that require you to be on-call may occasionally challenge your ideal routine, since such jobs entail greater responsibility. Also, you may experience a transition period where things feel unbalanced while you’re acclimating to the different work environment.

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: Just like traditional office roles, some occupations and industries are more intense than others. However, you can find telecommute jobs and employers that promote more balance. Plus, you can learn how to manage your home office and remote career to prevent burnout and unproductive overlap between work and home life.

Aspiring Telecommuters

Jobseekers value their time and want more control over their schedules so that they can care for loved ones and do more of what they enjoy. About half of non-telecommuting respondents are even willing to sacrifice pay slightly and occasionally travel to have a more flexible schedule and dodge commuting costs. Additionally, 69% of respondents have at least some remote work experience, which means they’ve tasted the freedoms of telecommuting at least once in their careers. It’s not surprising, then, that over half of non-telecommuters are actively applying for telecommute jobs.

However, most respondents are new jobseekers who have been looking for remote jobs within the past six months. Though 47.8% want to work from home most of the time, 27.6% seek a completely telecommute job, especially the 39% of jobseekers who have children or care for a family member at home. Top reasons for searching for remote work include:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Reduced commute times and cost
  • Staying at home to take care of kids or family members
  • Personal health or mobility limitations

What This Means for Telecommute Jobseekers: You’re not alone in your quest to find the ultimate work-life balance. Plus, you don’t have to take a pay cut to start working remotely. There are thousands of telecommute jobs for every career level in every industry that can match your financial goals.

Learn More: Do Telecommute Jobs Pay Less Than Onsite Jobs?

How Virtual Vocations Expedites Your Telecommute Job Search

Virtual Vocations helps jobseekers find legitimate, reliable telecommute jobs that afford better work-life balance and continuous career development. Whether this is your first or twenty-first telecommute job search, you’ll find that our remote job database, Telecommute Toolkit, career services, and outstanding staff helps you:

  • Save time hunting for remote jobs
  • Avoid scams and low-quality listings
  • Craft winning resumés that get you interviews
  • Thrive in a rewarding telecommute career

If all this sounds good, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Sign up as a Virtual Vocations member.
  2. Learn how to maximize your Virtual Vocations membership and use all the incredible features.
  3. Visit the telecommute job database and browse through thousands of listings.
  4. Sign up for email alerts based on your search criteria.
  5. Go to your Telecommute Toolkit and download resumé templates, sign up for e-courses, and read through the remote work guides.
  6. If you need resumé help, upload your resumé for a professional review or sign up for a resumé writing service according to your career level.
  7. Keep applying!
  8. Visit our blog for the latest industry news, guidance on remote interviews, and tips for managing home and work.

As ancient philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Thus, to achieve your work-life dreams, you may need to redirect your course.

Telecommuting is a reliable work model that can get you to your desired destination. Please contact us with any questions or concerns, and our brilliant telecommute job experts will help keep you on the path toward your dreams.

Which of these employee benefits is most important to you when considering your compensation packageConnect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about the employee benefits you value most. We’d love to hear from you! 

Photo Credit: 1. iStock.com/vgajic


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