Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Believe it or not, IT industry observers first started talking more than 25 years ago about how computers and the internet would surely give us all greater freedom to work from home. So either the gears of change are just taking it real slow, or everyone has essentially abandoned the once forward-thinking notions of improving productivity and decreasing business expenditures by letting people do their jobs without ever detaching from the comforts of home.
The word "telecommuting" doesn't even refer to something most people would understand anymore. Most phones don't have wires, for one thing, and alternatives to phone-based home internet are speedily increasing both in their variety and their breadth of coverage.
Not only that, but far from embracing the possibilities of getting work done remotely, many leading IT companies have actively moved in the opposite direction. You don't create incentives like cafeterias, gyms, laundry services, and even napping pods to lure employees into spending less time at the office.
Even taking into account that many employers provide laptops to increase the portability of work, the modern office worker lives in a world of two computers: one that's used for work, and one that stays at home.
Most workers can, at need, take an hour or two to get stuff done at home. But completing your entire work week without ever darkening the door of the company premises? Not likely. IT is among the industries most would expect to offer the greatest degree of work-from-home flexibility, but the results of our most recent annual Salary Survey paint a different picture:
How many hours per week do you work from home in your present job?
Fewer than 10 — 61.8 percent of survey respondents
10 to 20 — 18 percent
21 to 30 — 5.1 percent
31 to 39 — 2.8 percent
40 — 3.4 percent
More than 40 — 5.7 percent
Not employed — 3.2 percent
The dream of putting in your 40 hour per week without ever leaving the house — without ever putting on pants, really — is clearly not entirely dead. Roughly 8 percent of those surveyed spend a majority of their weekly hours at home, and about the same number either work 40 hours from home, or work 40 hours from home and then some.
For most, however, working from home is more or less equivalent to the flying cars we still aren't driving. It's a futuristic notion more likely to be encountered in science fiction than in reality.