Alaska Trends


ven before the pandemic, working from home was a growing trend. Publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Insight, Inc., Marketplace, and countless others have all written about younger generations, namely Millennials, demanding changes to the nature and culture of the workplace to find a better balance between work and life.

According to the Forbes article “Millennials Want A Healthy Work-Life Balance. Here’s What Bosses Can Do.” by Franziska Alesso-Bendisch, approximately 50 percent of workers are now considered Millennials, and their sheer numbers are having an effect.

She writes, “It is best to view work-life balance more as integration, rather than equilibrium. Millennials seek flexibility in their roles that allows them to thrive outside of work.” And for many, the option to work remotely is key.

COVID-19 took that growing trend and exploded it.

Much of the workforce picked up and went home to work for most of 2020, finding solutions to whatever problems arose. So now many are looking at their traditional office and thinking: why go back? And employers are examining their workspace footprints and wondering: would a smaller office make more sense for everyone?

This month in Alaska Trends we present data (from the State of Alaska [SOA] Teleworking Experience Survey and the August 2021 issue of Alaska Economic Trends) and questions. Both are important as Alaskans make long-term decisions about how—and where—we’re going to work and live.

SOURCE: “Telework’s Popularity on the Rise” by Liz Brooks; August 2021 Alaska Economic Trends, Vol. 41, #8
SOURCE: “SOA Teleworking Experience Survey Results”
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Who’s WFH (Working From Home)?
Pre-pandemic 9% of Alaskans were self-employed from 2015 to 2019 and they represented nearly half of at-home workers.

Do you wear pants for Zoom meetings?
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Let’s be honest: we’ve all had no-pants days working from home. How often do you “dress for the camera” when teleworking?
6,000+ Employees Started
6,000+ State of Alaska employees transitioned to teleworking in the spring of 2020. As of May 2021, 5,956 employees continued teleworking at least part of the time.
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35% Alaska Households
During the last quarter of 2020, 35% of Alaska households had at least one adult who teleworked because of the pandemic.
At the time of the survey 31.66% SOA employees were not teleworking. The survey responses were spread somewhat evenly.

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WFH is here to stay
According to the SOA survey, 60% of state employess wanted to continue to work remote. Employees specifically mentioned the following benefits: reduced commute time, healthier eating options, lower fuel costs, less stress, better quality of life, higher productivity, and greater efficiency. Nationwide, employers cited continuity of operations during emergencies, reduced over-head costs, and employee satisfaction as benefits.

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Teleworking Challenges
Those who selected “other”, were asked to specify other challenges they faced. Answers included technology, resources (printers, etc.), cost, ergonomics, and uncertainty.

Do you have security concerns around using personal cell phones for business calls?
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Teleworking has blurred the line between personal and business communication. Does the bluring of lines concern you as an employee? As an employer, does it concern you?
How do you define reimbursable WFH office expenses?
Expenses can range from laptops and printers to routine office supplies, such WiFi, ink cartidges and paper.
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Teleworking Pays
In 2019, employees teleworking were paid an averaged $35.22/hr. For work that couldn’t be done at home, it was $20.31.

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Should teleworking salaries match the industry standard of the employee or the employer?
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Ease of Teleworking
SOA employees specifically mentioned the following: reduced commute time, healthier eating options, lower fuel costs, less stress, better quality of life, higher productivity, and greater efficiency as benifits of teleworking.

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