The vast majority of Americans drive to the office and then drive home. They do not telecommute. Working at home by means of the Internet is not a popular option.
Over 80% of Americans do not work at home part time. It turns out that most of the hours worked by telecommuting are put in by upper managers, who in fact are working longer hours. It’s really just unpaid overtime.
The recent flap at Yahoo, where the new CEO has banned telecommuting, is basically irrelevant. Hardly anyone had been taking advantage of the option.
In a June 2012 Monthly Labor Review article, “The hard truth about telecommuting,” we see this chart.
The authors drew a conclusion.
OUR ANALYSIS OF TELECOMMUTING has yielded several surprising findings. Though more and more employers claim to be offering flexible work options, the proportion of workers who telecommute has been essentially flat over the mid-1990s to mid-2000s and is no larger among younger cohorts of workers than older cohorts. Moreover, the average number of hours spent telecommuting each week is relatively modest, around 6 hours per week in both the CPS [Current Population Studies] and NLSY [National Longitudinal Studies of Youth] samples. No evidence suggests that the number of hours spent telecommuting is increasing over time.
It is clear why most companies do not adopt telecommuting. Their employees prefer to drive to work. If they did not, competing firms could hire employees for less money by allowing them to telecommute.
The average drive time in the USA is 25 minutes each way. That’s good for talk radio. Why it is good for employees is a mystery to me. I have either worked at home or driven no more than 10 minutes each way since 1977.