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Summary:

A new report from the Conferences Board reveals that while professions traditionally associated with remote work like writing and sales continue to have the highest rates of telecommuting, other less expected job categories are making huge gains. What are they?

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Who exactly works remotely these days? For years some jobs have been associated with dialing in from a distance. Writers, sales reps and childcare workers have been working from home since long before the tech advances that made the practice an option for many more professions. Do these stalwarts of remote working still make up the lion’s share of telecommuters?

The Conference Board recently crunched numbers from the U.S. Census to find out, producing a report entitled “The Incredible Disappearing Office: Making Telework Work.” The analysis reveals that while traditional teleworking professions still have the highest rates of remote working – 9.3 percent of writers worked remotely in 2010 and 10.8 percent of sales representatives did – these weren’t the professions where telecommuting was making the fastest gains. What job categories were the fastest growers?

  • Records clerks:  5.5 percent work remotely in 2008-2010, up 516 percent from 2011-2003
  • Insurance underwriters: 4.5 percent work remotely, up 275 percent
  • Lawyers: 2 percent telecommute, up 166 percent
  • Software developers: 6.1 percent telework, up 127 percent

In 2000, employees of non-profits were most likely to telecommute, the report also notes. Ten years later employees of for-profit businesses were now more likely to be working remotely. This shift in the telework landscape reflects the fact that “steady technical refinement…has made teleworking an increasingly attractive business proposition,” according to the release accompanying the report.

The report also agrees with the conventional wisdom that savvy management and thoughtful use of tech underpin telecommuting success. “Research concurs that the dual lynchpins of effective teleworking are strong management and robust IT,” said co-author Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board.

Are there any specific professions you are surprised don’t telecommute more (or less)?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Plutor.

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  1. I’m always surprised that telecommuting jobs in the medical/health field and education are so numerous! We regularly see positions for nursing and teaching on FlexJobs (www.flexjobs.com) where employees would work from home either assisting patients with medical questions, managing case loads, or teaching virtual classes for English, Math, Science, etc. Technology is advancing so quickly that almost any professional can be done virtually.

  2. “…2008-2010, up 516 percent from 2011-2003″ Typo or odd date math?

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