Because of the pandemic, companies of all sizes have made a transition to remote working. But there are still many unanswered questions. Will this be a passing trend? Or will we continue to depend on home offices in the future? Is the traditional office really going to become obsolete? Is minimalism within home offices the way to go?
If you told me at the beginning of 2020 that we’d have to make this shift toward working remotely so suddenly, I would’ve found it hard to believe. But remote work is happening, and it’s happening faster than we thought.
Luckily, due to the advancement in technology, remote working has become seamless for many workers across various industries. Working remotely gives people the chance to get work done when they are most productive.
But a lot of companies still feel that remote working isn’t for them. This could be because we spent the past century learning how to work out of an office, or because the nature of their work doesn’t allow them to work from remote locations.
When transitioning to working remotely, working style, communication, and management will be affected. We’ll have to adapt our working style to match our remote needs.
And there’s so much that we still need to learn about remote working. Understanding our challenges can help us make the best out of this situation by knowing what we’re in for.
To understand the situation better, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 remote working statistics that will help to shed some light on the past, present, and future of working remotely.
- 1. How Many People Work Remotely?
- 2. What Percentage of Teams Are Currently Working From Home?
- 3. Trends in Remote Work Growth
- 4. Biggest Benefit of Working Remotely
- 5. Remote Work Is Here to Stay
- 6. Remote Workers Feel More Productive
- 7. What Is the Biggest Challenge When Working Remotely?
- 8. State of Remote Work in the US
- 9. Remote Work Possibility Drives Job Seekers
- 10. Future of Remote Work
- Conclusion: Remote Work Statistics
- Summary: Top 10 Remote Work Statistics in 2023
- Want to Learn More?
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1. How Many People Work Remotely?
Even before the pandemic struck, remote working was seeing an increase in popularity. But currently, as many as 92 million workers in the US work remotely at least part of the time (McKinsey, 2022).
Remote work has been growing steadily across different industries over the years. Companies in different sectors, such as private, public, non-profit, and startups have all been easing into the idea of remote working. And for others, remote working isn’t a new concept.
If you feel like you know more and more people who work remotely, you’re probably right. With the growing trend of remote working, companies increasingly continue to offer possibilities to their employees for flexibility. And with rising demand for the possibility of remote working, many companies have had no choice but to address the matter at hand and offer it if they want to attract talent. Remote working sure seems like it’s here to stay post-pandemic.
2. What Percentage of Teams Are Currently Working From Home?
And stay it certainly has.
Three years after the start of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced offices to close and employees to work remotely, the World Health Organization declared the end of the virus’s global emergency status.
Despite the signal that it’s safe to return to the office, a significant number of employees continue to work remotely. Remote work statistics from a recent survey showed that as of 2023, 12.7% of the American workforce works completely from home (Forbes, 2023).
That’s not all. More than one in four (28.2%) are on a hybrid arrangement, which allows workers to work from home at least part of the time.
In general, it appears many teams have gotten accustomed to remote working and are starting to see and enjoy its benefits. Even hiring managers have reported having a much smoother workflow, communication, and overall remote working experience now than when the pandemic started.
3. Trends in Remote Work Growth
The amount of people working remotely in the US has seen a major upward trend, growing by 44% in recent years (Flexjobs, 2019). From 2016 to 2017, remote work grew by 7.9%. And over the last 10 years, remote work has seen an overall 91% increase.
With the global work-from-home movement due to the COVID-19 crisis, the question remains whether working remotely will continue to trend even after the pandemic is over. There are varying opinions over this matter: some people think that the global pandemic could cause a permanent shift towards home working, whereas others think that people might want to fulfill their need for human contact in the office.
It could also be the case that the longer people are required to work from home, the more likely they are to become accustomed to it. Based on historical data and these statistics, we are leaning towards believing that remote working will continue to grow in the coming years.
The current situation will also be an eye-opener for many in managerial or executive roles, with reduced fear and an increase in trust for remote working.
4. Biggest Benefit of Working Remotely
We’ve covered that remote working seems to be here to stay. But what is it about remote working that people seem to like so much?
Remote working may have a ton of benefits, but one that most people seem to agree on is the flexibility that it allows. According to a recent survey, two-thirds of respondents say the biggest benefit of working remotely is the flexibility of being able to choose when they want to work (Buffer, 2022). This is followed by 62% of respondents saying a flexible work location is also a benefit of remote working. Other important factors included not having to commute and the flexibility to choose where they live.
Remote working is becoming one of the most sought-after benefits an employer can offer. The flexibility to work from wherever you want offers employees the freedom to pick and choose their work environment. On top of that, they can also choose how they want to work, their atmosphere, music, and so much more.
Having a flexible schedule allows people to have better control over their work-life balance. It gives them the freedom to schedule their work, hobbies, and spare time that they want to spend with their family or friends. The option to work remotely gives people more time to do things that they would want to include in their daily lives. This could be activities like going for an early morning jog, taking their dog for a stroll, going to the gym, or simply going to get groceries in the middle of the day.
Employees may also feel less pressure to wake up at a certain time to commute to work, in order to avoid traffic hours. For a lot of people, spending time daily on the road, stuck in traffic, is a huge matter of concern. Giving employees the freedom to work from home can empower them to improve their lifestyles and reduce stress. But more on that later.
5. Remote Work Is Here to Stay
With more and more businesses adapting to remote working and reaping its benefits, numbers suggest this arrangement is set to stay in the post-coronavirus era.
As it stands, survey results show that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 (Ladders, 2021). That means that even as offices begin to open up again and employees are allowed to return to their workplaces, a significant proportion of them will continue to work from home.
In fact, prior to the pandemic, just 4% of high-paying jobs in the US were allowed the possibility of remote working. By the end of 2020, this number had more than doubled to 9%. Currently, 15% of high-paying workers are remote working.
That’s not all—analysts are expecting this number to increase through 2023, and possibly beyond. If such growth continues, it might only be a matter of time before remote working becomes the default working arrangement for the American workforce.
6. Remote Workers Feel More Productive
There’s more good news for companies. Remote workers don’t just feel happier—they also feel more productive. Research conducted shows that 65% of respondents are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace (Flexjobs, 2019). Additionally, 85% of businesses confirm that productivity has increased in their company because of greater flexibility.
In the past, remote workers have not always been accepted. Employers tend to believe that their teams would be easily distracted at home, and won’t manage to get work done. Feelings of mistrust might also discourage companies from allowing remote working. Managers feel like they need to keep an eye on their workforce to ensure that work is getting done. But people aren’t always the most productive when they are at the office.
There are many reasons that come to mind when thinking about why employees feel more productive at home. To start with, there is better control over the work environment for employees. This means that they can set their work up according to their own needs and comfort. This can include where they work from, lighting, music, and even home-prepared meals. For some employees, a quiet environment with fewer distractions can help them concentrate and be more productive. For others, less stress attached to the daily commute and fewer office politics can improve their focus and productivity.
At the end of the day, more control over how employees work has been seen to benefit both employees and organizations.
7. How Many People Want To Continue To Remote Work?
Given the convenience and increase in productivity (among other benefits), it’s no wonder that the majority of remote workers would like this arrangement to be permanent.
According to a recent poll by We Work Remotely, a job board for remote positions, 60% of employees would like to continue doing so even after the pandemic (We Work Remotely, 2022).
As companies settle in and get comfy with this new norm, some are starting to see the benefits it offers. As the world went remote, companies like Square, Microsoft, and Shopify announced they would be allowing their staff to remote work indefinitely.
It is worthy to note that this statistic marks an increase from the 54% of remote workers who said they would like to continue working remotely a year ago.
Numbers also show there’s a strong preference and fierce competition for remote positions. According to the same survey, positions offering the possibility to remote work receive 300% more applicants than those that don’t.
8. State of Remote Work in the US
Last year’s report found that only 18% of workers around the world worked remotely full-time. In comparison, in the US, remote workers work remotely full-time 66% more often than the global average (Owllabs, 2019).
From what it seems, remote working in the US is gaining popularity faster than in other parts of the world. In some places, remote working is still a new concept, and they are yet to become familiar with the ins and outs of working remotely. Many companies still prefer the traditional methods of working from an office and holding meetings in person.
If you divide it by region, South America has more companies that allow a fully remote experience in comparison to other parts of the world. For freelancers, the highest opportunities seem to be available in Australia and Africa. In comparison, if you take a look at Europe, there are fewer people who want to switch to remote work.
It’s also important to note that remote working would be easier for some industries in comparison to others. For tech companies, it might be easier to jump on a call and assist teams remotely, but maybe for some startups it’s not that simple. With larger organizations that have teams split across different countries or even continents, it might make no difference as to whether they decide to go to a physical office or stay at home. On the other hand, companies that offer in-person assistance to their employees or prospects might find the change to remote working close to impossible to achieve.
9. Remote Work Possibility Drives Job Seekers
Remote work has become so popular and desired among workers that it’s now a requisite for many job seekers.
A recent survey shows that more than one out of every five (21%) people looking for jobs list the possibility to work remotely as a key motivator when job hunting (McKinsey, 2022).
In fact, having a flexible working arrangement ranks just behind higher pay (47%) and better career opportunities (27%) as the top requirements for a new job. That’s not all. Another study shows that workers who left their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic say workplace flexibility was the main reason they’ve returned to the workforce.
Given these key remote work statistics, businesses looking to attract good candidates may want to consider offering flexible working conditions, as it may just be a dealbreaker for workers.
10. Future of Remote Work
Remote work seems to be a win-win option for employees and companies alike, but what does the future hold for remote workers? Research shows that two-thirds of knowledge workers think that offices will disappear by 2030 (Zapier, 2019).
With the current pandemic, companies of all sizes have made a rather quick transition to home offices. But the question still stands—are companies and people prepared to work remotely? Will this be a passing trend, or will we continue to depend on offices and workplaces in the future?
Keeping the current COVID-19 crisis in mind, it’s understandable why a lot of companies are asking their employees to work from home. But the question is whether this will last: Exactly how prepared are employers and employees to work from home? And more importantly, will it be possible for most companies to carry out everyday tasks in a remote manner?
Industries such as media and tech are more flexible when it comes to remote working. The real challenge is faced by traditional industries, or those companies that require high levels of coordination within the team, as it will be hard for them to become completely remote.
With companies increasingly offering their employees the possibility for flexibility in their work location and remote work, it’s easy to see how physical offices might become obsolete in the near future. Whatever the reason may be, it seems like remote working is here to stay. And it seems like that’s a good thing for everyone.
Conclusion: Remote Work Statistics
Even as the world emerges from a global pandemic, millions of employees have turned to working from home. One thing is clear—remote working is becoming more common everywhere. Companies of all sizes are experiencing implementing remote working for their employees.
With the sudden and unexpected transition to remote working, we still ask ourselves the same questions. Are companies prepared for remote working? Are they offering their employees the right tools to set up their remote workplace? Are employees comfortable working from home?
Remote working is an untapped opportunity for organizations. In these testing times, companies and employees should try their best to figure out what works best for them together. Companies need to take the first step forward and offer their employees the right tools, establish the right process, and provide the necessary support that can elevate the corporate culture. The COVID-19 outbreak has given companies a chance to re-evaluate their working style and how they can optimize the remote working experience for times to come.
Summary: Top 10 Remote Work Statistics
- 92 million people in the US work remotely at least part of the time.
- 12.7% of the American workforce work completely from home.
- The amount of people working remotely in the US has seen a major upward trend. Over the last five years, remote work has grown by 44%.
- The biggest benefit of working remotely for people is a flexible schedule.
- 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022.
- Remote workers are more productive, with 65% of respondents saying they are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace.
- 60% of employees would like to continue doing so even after the pandemic.
- In the US, remote workers work remotely full-time 66% more often than the global average.
- 21% of job seekers say they’re looking for the possibility to work remotely.
- Research shows that two-thirds of knowledge workers think that offices will disappear by 2030.
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