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TheStreet Open House

You Might Be Able to Flex Your Way to a Fatter Paycheck

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. Census Bureau reports that flex-time telecommuting is on the rise.

The agency studied U.S. flex-time telecommuting trends from 1997 to 2010 and found that the percent of the U.S. workforce that worked at home at least one day at home rose from 7% in 1997 to 10% in 2010.

The percentage of employees who spent the majority of the workweek on the job at home rose to 4.3% from 3.6% between 2005 and 2010.

Check out some additional stats from the study:

  • 10% of flex-time telecommuters were over the age of 65.
  • Roughly 25% of telecommuters come out of the management, business and financial industries.
  • The computer science sector saw the largest climb in telecommuting workers, at a growth rate of 69% from 2000 to 2010.
  • The most widely used days of the week for flex-time telecommuting? Monday and Friday.
  • A U.S. flex-time hot spot? Try Boulder, Colo., where 10.9% of the working population telecommutes.

In addition, the Census Bureau reports that people using flex-time telecommuting earn bigger salaries than employees who work at the office. According to the report:

Median annual household income and personal earnings differed by work-at-home status. Median personal earnings for mixed workers were significantly higher ($52,800) compared with onsite ($30,000) and home ($25,500) workers. While home workers had lower personal earnings than onsite workers did, respondents that reported working at least one day at home had significantly higher household incomes than respondents that reported working only onsite. Median household income for mixed workers was $96,300, compared with $74,000 for home workers and $65,600 for onsite workers.

Are on-site staffers OK with the financial arrangement? Apparently so. One school of thought is that nontelecommuting worker appreciates the structure and discipline of working on-site and see the office as a clearer path to advancement than being "invisible" at home. Others rely on "face time" at the office to solve problems and feel like they're part of a team.

Telecommuters like the independence of working at home and say they save money on car expenses such as gasoline, tolls and parking.

Working at home isn't for everybody. Obviously, hospital surgeons and manufacturing line workers can't get away with it. But if you appreciate working alone and don't mind missing out on office-space collegiality (and office politics), flex-timing may be right up your alley.

And, if the Census Bureau is right on the money, there could be a fatter paycheck in it for you.

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