Telecommuting has benefits, but here's why employers aren't more flexible - GreenBiz

More Americans are using flexible workplace practices — including telecommuting, co-working and off-peak start times — to add flexibility to their lives and eliminate or improve their commute.

One motivation? Rush hour traffic is getting worse, and commute times are getting longer.

For example, the average American today spends close to an hour getting to and from work. It’s worse in big cities. In the greater New York area, commutes average 1 hour 14 minutes round-trip.

We’re experts in urban planning and development, and started wondering why worsening traffic wasn’t encouraging more people to telecommute.

What do we know about the workplace flexibility?

Telecommuting — or working at home — has many benefits. Workers have been modifying commutes ever since the phone and portable computers made it possible.

Advances in technology within the last decade have greatly expanded our ability to work from anywhere at any time. Many of us are taking advantage of this flexibility.

Census estimates (PDF) show that the percentage of the workforce working from home the majority of the week grew from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2018, and is growing faster than additions to the workforce.

Most people adopt flexible workplace practices just a few times a month rather than full-time, and these numbers are also growing.

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