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Nowadays, more and more businesses are moving operations and content online. There’s no easier place to see the effects of this than in advertising; in today’s world, if your business doesn’t have a quality website, it’s not likely to succeed in an increasingly digital environment. Any old website won’t do either – 38 percent of Internet users will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive.

However, some companies are taking it one step further and using online technology to allow employees to work from home. Remote work and telecommuting are becoming more popular options for conducting work, and both employees and employers are seeing the benefits.

Telecommuting: The New Normal?

For most people, the idea of a full-time job includes a long commute to work, sitting at a desk in an office, putting in their hours, and driving home at the end of the day. However, as we enter into a new decade, the reality is often fairly different. Most of these jobs don’t necessarily need to be done in the office. Up to 64 million U.S employees – 50 percent of the workforce – hold a job that is compatible with at least part-time telework. As most Internet providers gradually increase their service speeds and computers become capable of handling more tasks, working from home is infinitely easier.

People have now become somewhat accustomed to this new era of fast internet speeds and easily-accessed information. In fact, as many as 47 percent of consumers expect websites they visit to load in just two seconds or less. The technology is firmly in place, and this is leading more employers to realize that a fair amount of work can be done not in the office, but on a home computer.

Save Time And Money Without Commutes

Working at home comes with a variety of benefits for employees, but the most significant benefit for a majority of employees is no longer having to worry about a commute. Driving to work takes time and money, cutting into employees’ pay through gas costs, car maintenance, and more. Being able to work from home allows employees to skip the commute altogether and instead spend crucial time focusing on tasks related to their jobs. Additionally, driving less is inherently safer; there are approximately six million car accidents in the U.S. each year, and working from home eliminates the risk of an accident during a commute to work.

Increased Accessibility

This push towards telecommuting and remote work has the potential to make life easier and more comfortable for the average employee but could be genuinely lifechanging for the disability community. Often, people with disabilities have an incredibly difficult time finding work due to limited accessibility in the workplace.

Consider, for example, a potential employee with hearing loss. Approximately 15 percent of American adults aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing. Even with ADA reasonable accommodations, it can be difficult to conduct routine business with hearing impairment, such as attending meetings, listening to phone conferences, and so on. Being able to work at home from a computer, with the bulk of work being through online, written communication, increases accessibility. This makes full-time work more available to a wider demographic, improving the lives of those with disabilities that make work difficult or otherwise impossible.

Not Fit For Everyone

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access the benefits of working from home just yet – there are still a great many jobs that require employees to physically be present at the workplace. For example, the employment of medical lab technologists and technicians is expected to grow by 13% by 2026. While these jobs do deal heavily with technology, the additional equipment needed to perform the job, as well as sanitary spaces, makes a physical workplace mandatory.

However, for the many employees who work primarily on computers or through digital platforms, telecommuting is becoming a more realistic option by the day. As reliance on online technologies increases, it’s likely that more office-work jobs will transition to taking place partially or entirely online.

Photo by by The White House

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

President Donald Trump's recent musings about staging his Republican National Convention speech at the White House drew criticism from government ethics watchdogs and even one Republican senator, John Thune of South Dakota.

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