Jul 12, 2022
An important topic of late is how a lot of work has shifted from in-office to a remote capacity. It’s a trend that was happening before the coronavirus pandemic, and of course, the pandemic accelerated the trend and showed us what was possible. This is a topic to continue to pay attention to, as it’s likely to shift as some companies go back to in-person work after the pandemic while others embrace more of a remote workforce. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at remote work statistics from the past few years to give an idea of how work has been changing and where it might take us in the near future.
What we see now is that it’s possible for some companies to go fully remote. At the moment, 16 percent of companies throughout the world have done just that. Remote work statistics 2021 showed that globally, the number of employees likely to become remote workers was expected to increase to 32 percent by the year’s end compared to 17 percent in 2019. On the other end of the spectrum, 44 percent of global companies do not have an option for working remotely.
Of course, remote work doesn't work in all industries or positions, yet it makes sense for some that are technology-based and don’t necessarily need an in-person workspace. Modern remote work tools and technology make it possible to communicate, collaborate and manage projects from anywhere without the need for in-person meetings.
Another possibility is a hybrid model, where people work in the office for part of the week and from home (or another remote space) the rest of the time. This option has become popular as companies are transitioning back to office life after operating remotely in large part due to the pandemic.
You can see this trend through the stat that about 62 percent of workers carry out remote work at least occasionally within the 22 to 65 age group. Another way companies could create a balance is by allowing some roles to work remotely while other roles need to remain in-person due to the nature of different roles.
An interesting statistic is that 99 percent of people have the preference to work remotely for their remaining career days, even if they only have the option to do it part-time. This statistic helps to show that the pandemic was not the only driving force behind remote work.
People seek aspects like flexibility within their work lives. In fact, the top reason people choose remote work is work-life balance, and a significant number of the millennial generation (69 percent) would be willing to sacrifice certain work benefits to gain more flexibility. Not only that, a large portion of people would sacrifice their job altogether rather than give up working remotely. This breaks down to 60 percent of women and 52 percent of men who said they would leave their job and seek out a new one if they couldn’t keep working remotely.
People may be able to get their way, at least to a large extent. That’s because trends show society significantly moving in the remote work direction. Remote work statistics 2019 show that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telecommuting experienced a 216 percent growth rate from 2005 to 2019.
Not all jobs can be carried out remotely, yet a large number can, especially those that take place from a desk. Remote work even creates new possibilities compared to the past, as people can now collaborate from across the country or world, bringing people closer together than ever.
Statistics support that many job duties can be carried out from home or anywhere, as 62 percent of employees stated in a poll that they could do their work remotely. In other data, 56 percent said that their job allows at least part of the work to be carried out remotely. Even more telling is that during the pandemic’s peak, 69 percent of employees in the United States actually did work remotely. These remote work statistics 2020 support the idea that remote work is possible for most people and positions, which could pave the way for more of this type of work situation in the future.
An often-cited concern about remote work is the thought that workers will be less productive when they’re away from the office without a supervisor watching over them. Turns out, the opposite is true. Data shows that 77 percent of those working remotely report increased productivity when working from home. In addition, 75 percent say they face fewer distractions when they work remotely.
That may seem like it doesn’t make sense, since working from home can bring its own distractions like household chores, family members, hobbies, and television sets. However, it comes with the perk of being away from distracting office factors like loud colleagues, people stopping by your office to chat, and unnecessary meetings. Plus, it’s very possible to get used to working from home and to avoid distractions there through means like creating set work hours and a designated work space.
A survey found that people working remotely reported increased productivity through:
A quiet place to work
A workplace they can conform to their needs
Improved focused time
This kind of data shows that employees do not necessarily need managers in the same workspace to be productive. In addition, 16 percent of those working remotely are managers. Plus, remote tools and technology give options for checking in, collaborating, and showing that deadlines are being met, so there is plenty of accountability.
It's not only employees who are saying they are more productive; managers agree. In some research, 32.2 percent of managers reported increased productivity associated with working from home, compared to 22.5 percent that reported decreased productivity. This research was conducted in 2020, which was during the pandemic, so it’s worth noting that reductions in productivity could also be associated with other factors like COVID-19 infection, family members at home, and the slow adoption of technology and tools for working from home.
In relation to work output, 42 percent of remote professionals carry out the same level of work as they did in-office, while 45 percent do more.
Additional research on the subject of output found an increase of 22 percent in performance when working from home, and 94 percent of employers reported the same or better productivity.
We saw above that many workers prefer working from home, but are they actually satisfied with doing so? Working remotely provides many benefits that contribute to job and life satisfaction, including:
A peaceful and adaptable work environment
Options to balance time exercising, going outside and spending time with family
Money savings by reducing costs of gas, eating out, parking and other work-related expenses
In addition, statistics on remote work found that remote workers show more happiness and longevity in their jobs. They say they are happy 22 percent more than on-site workers and they report reduced stress levels.
Employers see certain benefits from having remote workers as well. For example, they tend to have a $2,000 boost in profit per person on average. It’s also estimated that they can save $11,000 per person for half-time telecommuters each year. In addition, offering remote work helps them find the highest quality talent for a role, and workers tend to stay at the company longer and recommend the company to others.
It’s only fair to mention the potential downsides of working remotely. There are some challenges people face, including struggling to unplug and unwind from work. There may be communication issues and a lack of training. Also, some people report experiencing loneliness. Further, remote work introduces more of a cybersecurity risk compared to on-site workers. Further, some fully remote workers experience burnout, which increased during the pandemic.
Knowing the downsides of remote work can help employers and workers themselves take steps to counteract these problems. Certain tools can improve communication and collaboration, while employers can make efforts to provide increased training for remote workers. It’s also important to consider aspects like mental health and loneliness and to respond by providing supportive measures to help those who need them.
Overwhelmingly, statistics on remote work look positive. They show benefits for workers, employers, and the dynamics of work altogether. They also show a high likelihood that work will continue to become more remote as we move forward in time. This creates growing opportunities of working and collaborating across the globe like never before, all while gaining a better work-life balance.