Technological advancements over the past decade brought an influx of telecommunicating abilities, making remote work the new norm for businesses, according to a Tuesday report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. The number of Americans participating in remote work has jumped by 159% between 2005 and 2017, the report found.

Based on US government data from the US Census Bureau, the report revealed how popular remote work has become over the past decade. The report defined remote workers, or telecommuters, as “non-self-employed people who principally work from home at least half-time.” Over the past 10 years, the number of these workers grew by 91%.

SEE: Managing remote workers: A business leader’s guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Traditional office workers are growing tired of their working style, opting for the flexibility and affordability of remote work instead. Not only does remote work appeal to American employees’ preferred working style, but it also provides organizations with more candidates to choose from, the report found.

“It’s important to note that full-time and even half-time telecommuters are among the minority. A far larger portion of the workforce, about half, works from home at least once a month,” Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, said in a FlexJobs blog post. “Talent shortages are fueling the growth of workplace flexibility right now because not only is it one of the most sought-after benefits among job seekers today, it also expands the talent pool by allowing employers to hire the best and the brightest from around the world.”

Remote work saw significant growth in the past five years alone, with a 44% increase in workers, the report found. This means 4.7 million people in the US are currently remote workers, which is up from 3.9 million in 2015.

Telecommuting options aren’t reserved for specific industries, with the top five remote career fields spanning from computer and IT, medical and health, to sales, education, and customer service, according to FlexJobs’s recent analysis of the 100 Top companies with Remote Jobs.

For more, check out How to land a remote job, and thrive in it on TechRepublic.

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