Remote work is hands down one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer. The freedom to work wherever you want with more flexible hours has led to US digital nomad numbers more than doubling between the prepandemic 2019 and 2021.
Indeed, many remote employees expect remote work to become the new normal. We’ve created this list of the most interesting remote work statistics to examine how this model fits into the world post-COVID-19 and what it means for employee productivity.
We’ve used reliable sources to answer the following questions:
How has the popularity of remote work changed in recent years?
What are remote work trends for 2023?
How many companies offer work flexibility, and how flexible is this in reality?
How many people work from home?
Who is the average remote worker?
What are the benefits and challenges of remote work?
What can we expect in the future of remote work?
More employees work remotely now than ever before, and flexible work arrangements are emerging as a key perk in the world beyond pandemic lockdowns. Still, many small businesses, as well as larger companies, are requiring employees to return to the office.
Here we have compiled key work-from-home statistics and other insights into the state of the workplace in 2023.
Despite an increasing number of people seeing the benefits of having flexible working conditions, almost a third of companies in the US require full-time in-office work.
However, full-time on-site work is a preference for only 22% of employees, according to the 2022 State of Remote Work Report produced by Owl Labs in collaboration with remote work consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics.
(U.S. Census Bureau)
According to telecommuting statistics available in 2022, the number of Americans working primarily from home has tripled in recent years.
In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered offices worldwide, around 9 million people, or 5.7% of the total US workforce, worked primarily from home, compared to 27.6 million, or 17.9%, in 2021, according to the American Community Survey released in September 2022.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
According to stats on working from home, advanced technology makes it possible for many industries to be equally productive with completely remote and full-time in-office staff.
Regular telecommuting expanded over 11 times faster than the rest of the workforce, which increased by 20%, and 54 times faster than the self-employed population, which grew by 4%, according to Global Workplace Analytics’ analysis of ACS data.
Stats on people working from home in 2022 show that small companies that hire between 10 and 50 employees are more likely to require them to return to the office than enterprises with 10,000-plus employees (27%).
At the same time, small businesses are behind on updating their video meeting technology. Only 32% of them have done so, compared to 46% of larger companies with between 5,001 and 10,000 employees.
The percentage is only slightly higher among entrepreneurs, at 76%. Working remotely adds to the sense of freedom for both entrepreneurs and professionals, as this lifestyle allows for more flexibility in terms of where you work from. There’s little doubt these remote and work-from-home trends will continue in the future.
Although 30% of companies don’t allow remote work, 31% are actually 100% remote companies. Only a slightly lower percentage, 29% of employers, allow hybrid work, with between one and four days spent in the office. The shares of those requiring only occasional remote work and occasional in-office work are 6% and 2%, respectively.
According to remote work statistics unveiled by Upwork’s Future Workforce Pulse report, 19.4 million Americans worked remotely in the pre-pandemic era. The data also shows that, due to the pandemic, 53% of businesses say that remote work has increased their willingness to hire freelancers.
According to the remote workers statistics for 2022, 34% of US employees have remote jobs, while 41% are working in a physical office. Tellingly, Owl Labs’ data also shows that millennials lead the way among those who prefer fully remote work, with 44%, compared to 41% of Generation X, 40% of Gen Z, and 38% of boomers.
Gen Z, with 38%, leans more toward the hybrid model than millennials (37%), Gen X (34%), and boomers (30%). Working in an office full-time is preferred by 31% of boomers, 25% of Gen X, 22% of Gen Z, and only 19% of millennials.
Statistics on remote work show only 39% of men prefer working remotely. At the same time, 37% of men, compared to 34% of women, like hybrid work more than other models. The survey conducted in July 2022 also shows that 24% of men and 19% of women prefer the onsite office environment to hybrid work or being fully remote.
People who work remotely love their improved work-life balance so much that a majority would even take a pay cut to have flexible working hours. This and other startling statistics about remote work can provide guidelines to business leaders on how to proceed with the workforce post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Remote work statistics from 2022 show that the second-biggest benefit seen by 62% of remote workers is the flexibility to work from any location. Having more time, thanks to not having to commute, is cited as a benefit by 59% of respondents.
As we’ve already mentioned, 30% of companies still don’t allow remote work, even though it obviously has positive effects on employee morale and engagement at work.
In fact, according to the remote working statistics unveiled by Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2022, a whopping 97% of respondents would recommend remote work to others. This is certainly something companies should consider in their proposals.
The possibility of having a flexible working environment is so tempting that 52% of workers would take a pay cut of 5% or more to have flexibility in the working location. The share of those who would take a pay cut of 10% or more is 23%.
This may seem like a small difference right now, but it’s a clear indicator of the correlation between these two factors. As more and more companies begin to offer remote work as an option, employee satisfaction and loyalty will increase.
Remote work statistics show that people also enjoy the fact they can work from any location they want (25%), don’t have to commute (22%), and can spend time with family (11%). Remote work obviously allows for a better work-life balance and greater employee satisfaction.
Even when their companies do not offer a four-day workweek, 69% of remote employees wish their company had this policy in place. At the same time, 14% say this option is not important to them.
Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2022 report also shows that 63% of workers’ employers support remote work by offering flexible working arrangements, while 30% say this is not an option but they wish it were.
(U.S. Census Bureau)
Among metropolitan areas with a million or more residents, the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA Metro Area and the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area had the highest percentage of people working from home (approximately 35%) in 2021.
This comes as no surprise since this metro has strong links to both the information and technology sectors.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
People working from home half the time save an estimated $600-$6,000 per year, even when additional energy costs are subtracted. These telecommuting statistics account for savings from reduced costs for travel, parking, and food.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
Another piece of information that might help employees argue for their right to work from home is the fact that it’s beneficial for employers, too. According to working-from-home statistics, the savings for employers come from increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and lower real estate costs, among other cost-cutting benefits.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
This cut in greenhouse gas emissions would require a 75% reduction in driving on remote days, according to telecommuting stats.
It turns out that remote work isn’t only beneficial for employees and their employers but also for the environment. Work-from-home employees don’t commute daily, dramatically reducing the amount of pollution they’re responsible for.
(FlexJobs, Owl Labs)
By contrast, only 11% feel less productive when working offsite. These remote worker productivity stats show marked differences by employee age - millennials and Gen Z feel more productive at home. In contrast, boomers and Gen X feel more productive in office space.
Of course, working-from-home stats also show it’s not all roses. The below section looks into how workplace stress trends are shifting and the possible fallout of pushing employees to return to the office.
The flexibility of remote work sometimes makes it difficult to shut off from work and make use of free time. At least, that’s the case for 25% of remote workers. Meanwhile, 24% of remote workers cite loneliness as a struggle when working from home, according to these work-from-home statistics.
An equal percentage of remote employees, 21% to be exact, say that working across time zones, difficulty focusing, and staying motivated are their struggles when working offsite.
Workplace stress is nothing new, but the rise of remote and hybrid options has led to new developments in why people feel burned out and have lower employee engagement.
A Gallup survey of US remote-capable yet on-site employees in June 2022 showed that 47% of those who prefer exclusively remote work and 36% of those who favor the hybrid work model experience burnout and are more likely to look for a new job when forced to work from an office.
At least six in 10 office workers (65%) whose jobs can be done elsewhere prefer hybrid work, while the desire to exclusively work from home has more than doubled from 7% in October 2021 to 16% in June 2022, according to these labor force insights.
(Employee Benefit News)
According to remote work statistics from 2022, 33% of boomers and 40% of zoomers would do the same. 53% of millennials and 46% of zoomers even feel a raise would be necessary to get them back in the office.
Brainstorming is all about speed, wit, and bouncing ideas around the room. According to working-from-home productivity stats, 39% of employees prefer to do it in the office and 37% from home. Workers believe the office is the most productive environment for meeting new people (59%), managing others (51%), and team meetings (51%).
The 2022 remote work survey by Owl Labs shows 48% of workers are concerned that working remotely means they have less of a say at work and will miss out on opportunities.
Did you know over 35 million digital nomads roamed around the world in 2022? Read about this and other stats on working remotely in the following section.
Work flexibility means that these employees are free to work from anywhere they want, yet most choose their homes as the optimal location. However, not far behind are remote employees who said they would prefer to continue primarily working from other locations (41%). These remote work stats are a perfect segue for some surprising digital nomad statistics.
Remote work statistics also show us that remote work comes with some additional expenses people don’t usually think about. Nearly four-fifths of remote workers have to pay for their own internet because the company doesn’t cover this expense. Add another 10% of those who say their partners cover their internet expenses and 5% of those who say their parents foot the bill.
A mere 1% say their company or employer pays their internet bill.
(Two Tickets Anywhere)
In the US alone, the number of digital nomads has more than doubled from 7.3 million in 2019 to 15.5 million in 2021. These telecommuting statistics from 2022 tell us that 73% of digital nomads chose this work model to improve their work-life balance; 68% due to the freedom of the lifestyle; 55% because of their love of travel; and 43% to avoid office politics.
An average digital nomad is 32 years old. While 51% of digital nomads come from the US, the UK is in second place with 8%, followed by Russia and Canada with 5% each.
(Fortune Business Insights)
The global remote desktop software market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 18% in the 2022-2029 period. The market, valued at $1.92 billion in 2021, is experiencing robust growth due to the increasing adoption of the work-from-home practice in the past few years.
(Maximize Market Research)
The virtual office market has also been experiencing higher-than-anticipated growth due to the increased demand for virtual office spaces amid an increased adoption of remote work. The MMR projection assumes a CAGR of 16.5% in the 2021-2029 period.
Flexible work hours and flexibility in how people spend their time are the key perks either desired or enjoyed by off-site employees, remote work statistics in 2022 show. So much so that the majority of workers who prefer to exclusively work remotely are willing to quit if their employers do not allow them to do so.
One thing that is certain is that remote work is now a fact of life, and employers requiring employees to return to the office should tread lightly to avoid unexpectedly high turnover rates in the months and years to come.
Given the increasing number of remote workers in the world and the huge number of benefits for both the employer and the employees, it’s safe to say that, yes, working remotely works.
No, remote workers are not paid less. In fact, according to statistics, remote workers earn around 17%-58% more than on-site employees in the same industry.
Work-from-home productivity stats show that being able to work remotely improves employee happiness by 20%.
As numerous statistics on remote work isolation tell us, working alone can have a negative impact on both productivity and the overall health of the worker. So, instead of working from home, you could opt for a casual coworking space that offers all the best aspects of office work but eliminates the in-office tension that may exist in a company.
Some other ideas that might help you be more productive include using time-tracking software and blocking access to social media.
Remote work statistics show that 17.9% of Americans (27.6 million) worked primarily from home in 2021.
Dragomir Simovic is a staff writer for SmallBizGenius, where he regularly contributes well-researched, engaging content about the latest trends in the finance industry. As a successful entrepreneur and freelancer himself, he knows the ins and outs of running a small business and is eager to share his insights. When he’s not analyzing the latest finance news or thinking up startup strategies, Dragomir likes to play the guitar, discover new indie games, and sample craft brews – responsibly, of course.
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