Flexible work arrangements—including compressed workweeks, remote work, and flexible hours—have exploded in recent years, quickly becoming the norm rather than exception in certain industries. According to the latest U.S. Census data, the number of Americans working from home has increased by more than 2 million since 2010, reaching 8.2 million in 2018. Today, one in twenty American workers clock most of their hours from home, and all signs are showing that remote work is here to stay.
Demographic and technological change has ushered in a new era in terms of work-life balance. While in 1968, only one in four households had two parents working, that figure almost doubled by 2008, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. Coupled with longer commute times and improving technology such as videoconferencing, working from home has become a valued option for many workers. A Stanford study shows that in addition to making workers more content, remote work can boost productivity and reduce employer costs.
Unfortunately, working remote seems to be a benefit that is not uniformly offered to American workers. In the U.S., the largest shares of home-based workers are found in more affluent and educated cities. Additionally, there’s a strong association between working remote and employment in high-paying fields like management, business, and science.
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