Thethat opened the door to working from home for millions of workers as a way to keep them safe also appears to have created enduring demand for remote jobs.
The number of U.S. job postings on Indeed.com that mention “remote work,” “telecommute” or “working from home” has more than doubled over the last year, from 2.9% in January 2020 to 6.9% last month, according to new data from the career services site. Most of those remote positions are in finance, law, therapy and technology, especially tech support and software development.
“Most striking is that the remote job postings share has continued to rise even as many workers have returned to the office,” Jed Kolko, Indeed’s chief economist, said in a blog post.
By contrast, food service, manufacturing and tourism jobs offer the fewest opportunities for telecommuting, highlighting the gap between higher-paid professions where working from home is increasingly common and lower-paid fields that require in-person service. Most employees who work remotely also have a college degree, Indeed found.
Thinner line between work and home
Employers have offered telecommuting jobs long before the pandemic swept the U.S. last March. But as state and local governments forced businesses to close, many organizations converted employees to work-from-home positions. In doing so, it fundamentally altered the way Americans do their jobs,.
“The boundary between work and personal life has really, in many cases, become obliterated,” said Jeffrey Polzer, who teaches organizational behavior at Harvard. “You know, so maybe you’re sending some personal emails at night, but they’re mixed in with your work emails. And by the way, you’re working from your bedroom and your office and your kitchen.”
Despite professional and personal lines continuing to blur, many workers say they prefer telecommuting. Afound that almost 9 in 10 respondents want to continue working from home, even after it’s safe to return to the office. The survey also found that some workers would consider quitting their jobs if they were called back to the workplace before all employees were vaccinated against COVID-19.
Still, the growth in telecommuting could be a double-edged sword, Kolko said. For job seekers, remote work gives them a wider swath of places to apply and, for employers, it offers a large pool of candidates to choose from. However, being at home could “reduce productivity in some cases,” he said.