Mark Hammer

Thanks David, for both the complement and the interesting info. I guess the missing part is whether the slope of the increase reflects ALL jobs or merely reflects the rate of uptake for that subset of jobs that can be done remotely.

I find these sorts of issues/figures/debates are a little like how epidemiologists think. If something shows a large and reliable proportional jump, it can be considered an epidemic, even if it only affects 1 in a million persons. If one’s lens is narrow, telework may appear to be gathering big-time steam, and moments away from full uptake, but still only pertain to a small-ish subset of workers in the final analysis.

Looking at the median salary for home workers, it sure doesn’t look that appealing to be one. Although the higher mean age and educational level suggests that the figures also include people who are semi-retired and doing something that might not compensate very well, but in tandem with pension and a paid-off home they’re not complaining. They might also be folks who have been bounced from a job, and by virtue of their age have had trouble finding something that compensated as well. Again, if some employers construe telework as a way of reducing business costs that just happen to have some possible work-life balance benefits to them, then we might expect to see employers loking to maximize profitability hiring many of those teleworkers.

Finally, I’ll just note that, after a number of incidents in the news lately where datafiles with personal information of hundreds of thousands of people were taken off-site by federal (and provincial too, I think) workers, and lost, I’m not all that sure that federal managers are champing at the bit to fight for telework, if only from a data security viewpoint.

Then there is that whole ugly business of, um, “prohibitted” and downright illegal content. Work machines have filters on them that block lots of things (e.g., I can’t see my Photobucket or personal e-mail accounts at work), and certainly in an open-concept office, there are common sense limits to what one would want staring out from a 24″ monitor (which could be as benign as funny cat Youtubes). If you’re working from home, and the authorities come in and find child exploitation on your machine, is that YOUR machine or your employer’s machine?

I guess my point is that simply being technically able to do certain kinds of work on the other end of a network connection in your own domicile does not solve all possible legal or security concerns management may have.