king, refers to work arrange- ments with employers that allow employees to work from home, at a customer site, or from other convenient locations instead of coming into the corporate office. The term telecommute is derived from combining “telecommunications” with “commuting,” hence these workers use telecommunications instead of commuting to the office. Mobile workers are those who work from wherever they are. They are outfitted with the technology necessary for access to coworkers, company computers, intranets, and other information sources. We use the term “remote workers” when we are referring to both telecommuters and mobile workers.
Factors Driving Use of Telecommuting
Telecommuting has been around since the 1970s, but since the late 1990s it has steadily been gaining popularity. In 2008, according to World at Work, more than 17.2 million Americans and 33.7 million people worldwide telecommuted. This number of American telecommuters is expected to increase by an additional 29 million telecommuters, or 43% or the workforce, in 2016 as more work is performed from remote locations.25 One poll of 11,300 employees in 22 countries found that one out of six telecommute worldwide. Several factors that drive this trend are shown in Figure 4.4.
25 The actual statistics for the number of telecommuters is hard to find. The figures were obtained from Suite Commute, http://www.suitecommute.com/research-and-statistics/statistics/of-telecommuters-in-us (accessed on February 2, 2012 and February 13, 2012); and Smart Planet, http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/business- brains/one-sixth-of-the-worlds-employees-now-telecommute-survey/21616 (accessed on February 14, 2012).