COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The trend during the COVID-19 pandemic for employees to work remotely is particularly prevalent in Colorado, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau's American Community Survey, released last week, shows that the number of people working primarily from home in Colorado jumped to 23.7% between 2019 and 2021 -- tying Massachusetts for third behind Washington and Maryland.
That means nearly one out of every four employees works remotely in Colorado.
Nationally, the number of people working from home tripled, from 5.7% in 2019 (9 million) to nearly 18% in 2021 (27.6 million).
The trend represents the highest number of employees working remotely since 2005.
Reaction to this trend comes from two local experts -- Traci Marques, executive director and CEO of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center; and Joe Craig, an economics professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
"El Paso and Teller counties, combined, have 15,000 job openings," Marques said. "There is .48 of a person for every open position. That means companies and employers really need to look at remote working as a benefit to attract and keep talent. I believe it's here to stay."
While she believes it's too soon to say whether the trend has peaked or is only beginning, Craig said that he wouldn't be surprised to see Colorado's percentage rise higher.
"We're at 23% now, 30% wouldn't surprise me," he said. "Whether it says there or levels off, I'm not sure. But remote working is so popular here because we’re a state that really enjoys its flexibility, that really enjoys its free time. We’re not a New York, Boston or Philadelphia where people pretty much live for their jobs. Out here, people really live for their lives.”
Craig also said that the pandemic has given many people an opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and their careers, and have found remote working more convenient and flexible.
Marques said that all of her 50 positions are filled because her employees can choose whether to work from home part-time or not at all.
"We've even created more space for employees to relax and play table games," she explained. "I think you'll see more of that in the future."
"We're going to see fewer of these big office buildings and huge workplace settings," he said. "We may see other businesses operating within an existing office. Unless something happens like a 2008 recession, I think working from home will remain a significant aspect of the workplace."