Giving the boot to the commute
Although Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t qualify as a bastion of telecommuting, the region nonetheless is making gains on the work-from-home front.
From 2005 to 2017, the share of telecommuters in Dallas-Fort Worth soared 123 percent, according to a new report from Apartment List. In 2005, just 3 percent of full-time employees in DFW belonged to the telecommuting workforce. By 2017, the share of at-home workers had grown to 5.3 percent, or about 160,700 people.
Aside from being able to work from home and avoid gnarly traffic, a key advantage to telecommuting in DFW appears to be higher wages.
The Apartment List report shows the median income for telecommuters in DFW is $78,000 a year, compared with $57,000 for “super” commuters (those with one-way commutes of at least 90 minutes) and $50,000 for “normal” commuters (those with one-way commutes of less than 90 minutes).
DFW’s share of telecommuters ranks above the average (4.6 percent in 2017) for the country’s 100 biggest metro areas, according to Apartment List. In addition, DFW fares better than Houston (3.9 percent) and San Antonio (3.8 percent).
Among the 100 biggest metro areas, Austin boasts the second-highest share of full-time employees in the telecommuting workforce — 8.3 percent in 2017, up from 4.3 percent in 2005.
A 2018 survey by staffing firm Robert Half found that 76 percent of DFW workers would be more inclined to take a job that provided the opportunity to work from home at least some of the time. On the flip side, 82 percent of DFW workers acknowledged drawbacks to telecommuting, such as abuse of the work-from-home benefit and feelings of away-from-the-office isolation.
“Employees want the ability to telecommute for various reasons — for some it’s flexibility in their schedule, for others it’s about saving time and money. Companies that promote these options are more likely to attract top candidates in a competitive employment market,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, said in a 2018 release.
In 2016, career website FlexJobs identified Dallas as one of the five best cities for remote workers. Among DFW employers driving the telecommuting trend are American Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, Southwest Airlines, and Tenet Healthcare, according to FlexJobs.