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New study puts a spotlight on teleworking in rural Michigan

Lansing, Michigan (March 28, 2022) — Connected Nation Michigan (CN Michigan) has unveiled new findings about teleworkers and businesses that allow teleworking in rural Michigan communities. 

According to the findings, more than one-half of Michigan teleworkers (56%) typically commute more than 10 miles each way for their jobs. This means that for every day they work from home, they reduce their driving by more than 20 miles, representing a huge savings with today’s historically high gas prices. Teleworkers also tend to have higher annual household incomes, with two out of three (67%) of teleworkers reporting annual household incomes of $75,000 or higher. By comparison, the median household income in Michigan is $57,144, and only 38% of non-teleworkers report annual household incomes of $75,000 or higher.

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Businesses that empower their employees to telework benefit as well. More than two out of five businesses with telework policies (42%) reported annual revenues of $1 million or more, compared to only 22% of those without telework policies. In addition, businesses that allow teleworking were more than twice as likely to have hired new employees in the prior six months than those without telework policies in place.

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“These charts show how beneficial teleworking can be for a family, as well as a community,” said Chris McGovern, CN Michigan’s Director of Research Development. “Businesses can offer teleworking as an incentive to keep their best employees, and establishing telework policies can help those businesses to grow and hire more workers. It’s truly a win-win for employees and employers alike.”

McGovern said that there is strong demand for telework opportunities in rural Michigan. “Nearly half of non-teleworkers said they would do so if given the opportunity by their employers, while two-thirds of current teleworkers said they would do so more often if their employers allowed it. As Americans have dealt with the COVID pandemic over the past two years, they have decided that they want to continue teleworking as much as possible.”

CN Michigan unveiled these survey results on March 11, 2022, at the conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. McGovern, who will co-chair the Business and Administration track of the conference in 2023, said that each year the event provides academics, practitioners, and researchers from around the state the opportunity to meet, collaborate, and share their current research efforts. Data for this study come from 1,855 employed adult heads of households and 166 businesses surveyed as part of CN Michigan’s Connected Communities program in 2021. 

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About the Author: Chris McGovern is the Connected Nation Director of Research Development. Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.