Salary Survey Extra: Still relatively rare to do IT work from home
Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Back when most honest labor was farm labor, everyone essentially did their work from home. Indeed, many people’s whole life, for the most part, unfolded within sight of the family plot. It wasn’t until the relatively recent developments of the industrial revolution that “going to work,” for most people, was even a thing that one could aspire to.
Suddenly, in 2017, almost everyone has an office, or at least a cubicle, with a comfortable chair and a computer monitor. And even people who don’t do office work typically leave the house for several hours per day to go to work. And what have we learned from it all? In 2017, being able to “work from home” is one of the most coveted statuses in the modern workplace.
Not so long ago, computers and the internet were going to usher in a new era of “telecommuting.” Instead of leaving the house, workers would simply leave the bedroom, go to whatever room contained the family computer setup, and log in to begin the workday. No more fighting traffic, or remembering to pack a lunch, or huddling in a drab and tiny cubicle.
This brave new world was the subject of countless articles and frequent workplace discussions. Employers eagerly anticipated a world without real estate and maintenance expenditures. Everyone would be happier, more productive, and less likely to look for a job closer to home, or that offered better workplace accommodations.
Only it never happened. Few of us can look around at our circle of friends and point to more than one or two people we know who work from home without restriction. Indeed, many IT companies have swung in the opposite direction, famously building elaborate corporate campuses with cafeterias, laundry facilities, exercise equipment, and even cozy nooks for nappers.
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 — 63.5 percent of survey respondents
10 to 20 — 15.7 percent
21 to 30 — 4.8 percent
31 to 39 — 2.6 percent
40 — 3.1 percent
More than 40 — 6.1 percent
Not employed — 4.2 percent
If living the dream means putting in your 40 hours per week without ever leaving the house — without ever putting on pants, really — then your odds of achieving that status are not all that good. You can probably expect to work from home sporadically, here a little and there a little, and there’s always the option to lone wolf it and become an IT freelancer.
If you want the security of working for a normal corporation, with normal employer-supplied benefits, however, then you should plan (still, in 2017) to spend most of your work day … at work.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Marital matches in Hollywood often burn out faster than the matchbook matches that smokers use to light a cigarette. Sometimes the divorce papers have been filed within weeks of the sunset wedding at the beach. There’s also a tendency for marital entropy to set in more quickly when both parties to the marriage are equally famous.
So it’s kind of astounding when you think that movie stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt stayed together for more than 10 years, from 2005 to 2016, even if they were only formally married in 2014. Some of you probably read that sentence and said, “Who?” While others likely responded with a sagacious, “Huh?”
No, really, it’s statistically probable that you used those exact words. We know, because we asked one of those Not-So-Serious survey questions that we love so much addressing this very topic. We inquired about a range of possible reactions to learning the sad breakup news at the end of last year, and here’s what we found:
What was your reaction to the announcement that Angelina Jolie had filed for divorce from Brad Pitt?
Huh? — 32.3 percent of respondents
Who? — 17.6 percent
That explains why my dictionary suddenly has a picture of Jennifer Aniston in the entry for “schadenfreude.” — 13.7 percentBrad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were still together? — 13.2 percent
“Yes! (Angelina Jolie / Brad Pitt) is back on the market!” — 10.6 percent
This is why the smart ones, like George Clooney, never get married in the first place. Wait … what? — 9.7 percent
I cried like a baby. Those two crazy kids always seemed so in love! — 3 percent