'A great opportunity': More people are working from home as some industries struggle to hire

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Thursday, September 15, 2022
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Healthcare, first responders and construction workers are among many occupations where remote work isn't an option. But according to federal data, more people are working from home

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A flashing sign on the highway would typically be a warning to drivers, but in Durham County on Highway 98 west of Mineral Springs Road, it's a job posting.

The message "Flaggers wanted, $17.50 per hour to start," notified drivers on Thursday.

The sign may not belong to NCDOT, but the unique approach speaks to a widespread issue of staffing shortages across the Triangle.

"Duke Urgent Care, like many other health care systems across the country, is experiencing shortages in staffing," the health care system said on Wednesday. "Though Duke Health is in a better position than most, we are having to make difficult decisions to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and our team members. As such, we are making temporary changes to the operating hours for low/medium volume sites from Oct. 1, 2022, through Jan. 1, 2023."

READ MORE: Wait times at emergency departments grow as hospital staffing shortages continue

Healthcare, first responders and construction workers are among many occupations where remote work isn't an option. But according to federal data, more people are working from home nationwide.

"It was an option given to me and I took advantage of it," California resident Ginger Fishman said. Fishman, who worked remotely for eight years, said it was a great experience.

"I believe it's a balance," Fishman said. "Some people are disciplined enough to be able to do it, but others obviously are not and can get too distracted and take advantage of it."

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In Raleigh, more than 30% of workers are mainly remote, according to the 2021 American Community Survey estimates by the Census Bureau.

Out of the 245,463 estimated workers surveyed, about one-third of workers, mostly women, reported working primarily at home. Most of the workers surveyed identify as White and Asian, with American Indians making up the smallest group at 5%.

For Jamie Walker, working remotely in North Carolina was the only option during the height of the pandemic.

"It gave me a tremendous amount of flexibility," Walker said, and she added that her two sons also work remotely in Durham.

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"I think that's a big thing, just getting outdoors and getting your health taken care of," Walker said. "The downside for them is they're not working with others, so they're not physically in the building, so sometimes you don't develop those kinds of relationships with coworkers."

Walker sees the trend of working remotely persisting, as a positive thing.

"I think of childcare when I think about myself, and I think it's a great opportunity to be able to do other things along with your work," Walker said. "When we moved from New York 12 years ago, my husband started working from home, and we noticed the big difference was he was able to work for four hours at night after the kids went to sleep, and during that time, during the day, he could go to their sports events, or go to a play that they're performing in, or do a parent/teacher conference, or something that he normally wouldn't have been able to get away for."