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New research and survey results on various aspects of remote work are published almost daily, and every major player in the business with remote work seems to have their own “State of Remote Work” report, in which they summarize the key findings they gained from interviewing thousands of remote and non-remote workers.
Given the abundance of available research and statistics, it’s easy to get lost. And very often, organizations searching for specific data to verify certain remote work claims will realize that it’s actually quite hard to find the piece of information they’re looking for in the sea of remote work statistics.
Here is an overview of the most important remote work and working from home stats. For better visibility, we’ve grouped the stats into different categories, which are:
General remote work statistics
Remote workforce statistics
Remote work stats linked to employee happiness, retention and turnover
Working from home statistics covering productivity
Statistics about remote work compensation
Statistics on remote work benefits
Remote work stats showing the challenges of working remotely
One thing seems to be absolutely certain; remote work is on the rise. But how many organizations are actually remote? How is remote work perceived by employees and employers? And how do people manage remote work?
A whopping 97% of employees say they would like to work remotely “at least some of the time”, or even throughout their whole professional career. Source: Buffer State of Remote Work 2022.
The same report found that 61% of employees would rate their remote work experience as very positive. For 29% of workers, working remotely has been at least a somewhat positive experience.
When given the choice, 59% of workers would opt for working from home when offered the possibility to work remotely. 41% of workers, on the other hand, prefer working from multiple locations.
On a global scale, 16% of organizations are fully remote, meaning they don’t have headquarters or office options for their employees. At the same time, 44% of companies worldwide still don’t allow remote work. The remaining 40% operate on a hybrid model combining in-office and remote work. Source: Owl Labs Global State of Remote Work 2018.
58% of U.S. workers (i.e. 92 million people) say their job can be done remotely at least part of the time. For 35%, working remotely is even possible full-time (data provided by McKinsey). But who are the people working remotely? Which jobs do they have? How old are they? The American Opportunity Survey by McKinsey delivered the following results.
Older people are more likely to decline an offer to work remotely than younger people. For instance, the McKinsey data shows that 19% of the 55- to 64-year-olds didn’t take a remote work offer, compared to only 12% to 13% among the younger workers.
Remote work options increase for people who are younger and who have a higher education and income level. According to the data, remote-work availability is highest among employees with an advanced degree earning more than $150,000 per year.
In sectors like the computer industry, business operations and finance as well as in arts, design, media and entertainment, the share of employees who have the possibility to work remotely full-time exceeds 50%.
In today’s day and age, where attracting and retaining talent is a major problem for companies of all sizes, making sure employees are happy in their workplace is a top priority. But how is remote work linked to employee happiness? And can working from home really help reduce employee turnover? The following remote work statistics provide clarity.
Already in 2017, research provided evidence that companies supporting remote work had a 25% lower turnover rate than organizations not offering remote work. Source: Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2017.
58% of workers say that they would definitely look for a new position if unable to continue working remotely in their current one. Source: FlexJobs survey.
Remote work is the number two most popular benefit among employees (77%), only beaten by an attractive salary (83%). Source: FlexJobs survey.
The 2022 Buffer report showed that 97% of remote workers would recommend telecommuting to others.
Being able to work remotely can increase employee happiness by up to 20%. Source: Tracking Happiness.
The same study found that there was a correlation between employee happiness and commute times. In other words: The longer the commute, the less happy the employee.
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There are different opinions as to whether working remotely has a positive or negative impact on productivity. The following working from home productivity statistics based on research conducted by Airtasker clearly support the opinion of those saying that remote work models increase employee productivity. The survey among 1,004 full-time employees across the U.S., of whom 505 were working remotely, showed that:
Remote employees were working 1.4 days more in a month than their in-office peers.
Remote workers only had a total unproductive time of 27 minutes, compared to 37 minutes among their colleagues working from the office.
Office workers had a total of 18 minutes of breaks (in addition to lunch) throughout a workday, compared to a total of 22 minutes for remote workers.
When asked what ways and techniques they found most effective to stay productive, 37% of remote workers indicated taking regular breaks to keep on track. For another 33%, the key to productivity was having set working hours.
A FlexJobs survey among 4,000 remote workers also showed that 51% of respondents reported being more productive when working from home (during the pandemic). The reasons included fewer interruptions (68%), a less noisy workplace (68%) and more comfortable work environment (66%).
As for business productivity, remote work can help organizations be up to 13% more productive, as shown by research conducted by Stanford University.
Employee compensation is an important topic for any business, regardless of whether they’re remote or not. But how much do remote employees earn? And are they paid more or less than their colleagues working in the office?
34% of U.S. workers say they would be willing to accept a pay cut if they could therefore work remotely. Source: Owl Labs State of Remote Work United States 2019.
75% of remote employees don’t receive help paying the home internet bill from their employer, and 71% indicate working for a company that has a remote-work policy but doesn’t pay for a coworking membership. Source: 2019 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer.
Despite common misconceptions, remote workers actually don’t earn less than their in-office peers. On the contrary. The uncontrolled pay gap (i.e. no filtering for job titles or other compensation factors) between remote workers and non-remote workers is 23.7%. When factoring in different compensation-related aspects as well as the specific job titles, the pay difference shrinks to 1.9% - but is still in favor of remote employees. Source: The 2021 State of Remote Work Report by Payscale.
Among U.S. employees making $100,000 a year, those working remotely earn roughly $4,000 more annually than those not telecommuting. Source: Fundera.
In the third quarter of 2021, remote job openings represented 15% of all high paying jobs postings in the United States. Source: Ladders.
Better work-life balance, increased flexibility and cost savings are just some of the benefits that have been associated with remote work in the past. But let’s back these claims up with some numbers.
Workers save 40 minutes on their daily commute when working remotely. Source: Owl Labs State of Remote Work United States 2020.
For 67% of global employees, the biggest benefit of working remotely is being able to have a flexible schedule, followed by location independence (62%) and time savings thanks to the lack of commute (59%). Source: Benefits to working remotely worldwide 2022 by Statista.
Employees with flexible work options are twice less likely to suffer from poor mental health. Source: FlexJobs.
Estimates further suggest that employees working from home half the time can save up to $6,000 per year. On the employer-side, remote work can lead to annual savings of up to $11,000 for each half-time remote worker. Source: Global Workplace Analytics.
The Owl Labs 2020 State of Remote Work COVID Edition also found that workers saved an average of $479.20 per month during the pandemic by working from home.
Despite the many benefits, remote work also comes with several challenges. The 2021 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer has identified the following major struggles for remote workers:
27% of remote employees find it hard to unplug after work.
For another 16% of remote workers, the biggest struggle of not working in the office is with collaboration and communication.
The same percentage indicates problems with feeling lonely when working remotely.
Dealing with distractions at home and trying to stay motivated are two additional major challenges for 15% and 12% of remote employees respectively.
The Buffer findings are backed up by a survey conducted by Statista, in which 22% of respondents said their biggest struggle with remote work was not being able to unplug.
Remote work has recently been the focus of many different studies and research projects which have examined its impact on and correlation with multiple other work-related aspects such as employee retention, wellbeing, happiness and productivity. The majority of studies and surveys have found remote work models to have positive effects on both businesses and employees. And its popularity among employees, most of whom have made it abundantly clear that being ordered back into the office would be reason enough for them to change jobs, is a strong indicator that remote work is here to stay.
For organizations, the growing trend towards remote work means that they have to find new solutions to give their workers the freedom and flexibility they request, including the ability to work from wherever they want. Flexible working arrangements and location independence are among the top drivers for talent attraction and retention, and businesses simply can’t afford not to invest in global solutions which enable remote work and team collaboration across borders.
With Lano’s global employment and payroll solution, organizations can hire, manage and pay their remote teams in over 150 countries worldwide without having to worry about compliance. Easily hire remote employees abroad, engage with international contractors and set up and run global payroll, all via one centralized platform. Book a demo with our sales team to find out more.
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