The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics - 2021 Edition
Remote work is quickly becoming one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer. The freedom to work wherever you want with more flexible hours is great motivation for people who can’t stand the monotony and sterility of office life. Indeed, many workers are willing to forego vacations, pay rises, and even retirement plans for the chance to work remotely.
We’ve made this list of the most interesting remote work statistics to examine just how popular this phenomenon has become. Our aim is to help both employers and employees create the best and most productive work environment possible.
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 in 2021?
- 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?
Key Remote Work Statistics
- 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule.
- 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.
- Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover those that don’t.
- 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
- People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.
- The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005.
- 4.3 million people in the USA work from home at least half the time.
General Remote Work Stats
Around the world, 44% of companies don’t allow remote work at all.
Despite the fact that more and more people are seeing the benefits of having flexible working conditions, almost half of companies around the world still don’t allow remote work. Of course, we should keep in mind that just because companies say they allow remote work doesn’t mean they actually follow through with it. In practical terms, this figure could be even higher.
4.3 million people in the USA work from home at least half the time.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
According to telecommuting statistics 2018, there are 4.3 million remote workers in the USA, which makes up 3.2% of the entire workforce. The same report says that 40% more US companies offered remote work as an option in 2018 than they did 5 years ago. This is a clear indicator of the global trends and employers simply can’t ignore it.
The number of people who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
In the past decade, technology has become so advanced that pretty much anyone can fulfil their everyday tasks at home. Stats on working from home show that this type of work has expanded 10 times faster than other areas of the workforce. The same stats also tell us that full-time employees are four times more likely to be offered remote work than part-timers.
Small companies are twice as likely to hire full-time remote workers.
Stats on people working from home show that small companies are more likely to opt for full-time remote workers. There’s a reason for this: Remote workers cost less because companies don’t have to invest in office space, pay electricity bills, or buy as much equipment. Sales employers hire 66% more remote workers than the overall average.
Telecommuting has grown 115% in the past decade.
(State of Telecommuting)
According to these stats, growth in telecommuting has taken place 10 times faster than in other fields of work. Based on that, we can conclude that the remote work is getting more popular by the year. There’s little doubt these work from home trends will continue in the future.
16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.
Although 44% of global companies don’t allow remote work, 16% of them are actually 100% remote companies. Unsurprisingly, hybrid companies that employ both in-office and remote workers are more popular; this potentially provides the perfect balance for employers.
By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
In light of what we’ve just mentioned regarding millennials and their professional goals, Upwork gives us some important future remote work statistics. Today, millennials and Gen Z workers make up only 38% of the workforce, but in 2028, they’ll amount to 58%. Because of that, it’s no wonder that almost three-quarters of companies will employ some remote workers, while 33% of workers will be fully remote.
Globally, 52% of workers work from home at least once every week.
Based on remote workers statistics from 2018, more than half of the world’s employees already enjoy the benefits of the flexible workplace and it’s unlikely that this number will decrease anytime soon. In fact, the same report from 2017 - which focused only the USA - came up with the same number. Is this yet another case of the world trying to keep up with America?
18% of people work remotely full-time.
Some other figures show that 34% of them work a day or more per week and 16% just once a month. On the other hand, 32% of respondents never work remotely, either because they can’t or don’t want to. Statistics on remote work also show a slight difference between the sexes, with men being 8% more likely to work remotely than women.
Benefits of Remote Work
75% of people who work remotely do so because there are fewer distractions.
Remote work statistics from 2018 show that the majority of people feel there are fewer distractions when working out of the office. Coworkers are obviously a big part of these distractions; 74% of respondents said they work remotely to get away from colleague interruptions. Even when they’re not actively interrupting, they contribute to the overall office noise, which annoys 60% of survey respondents.
76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
As we’ve already mentioned, 44% of companies still don’t allow remote work, even though it obviously has positive effects on employee morale and work engagement. In fact, according to these remote working statistics, a whopping 97% of respondents would love to have a flexible working plan in the long run. This is certainly something companies should consider in their proposals.
86% of people feel that working remotely reduces stress.
Seeing as stress is one of the biggest killers in the modern world, finding ways to reduce it should be a priority for all workers. The majority of respondents to this survey believe working away from the traditional office actually helps that cause. In that same way, 77% of people believe remote work improves general health because it allows for a better diet, more exercise, and a generally healthier lifestyle.
Statistics about remote work show that 21% of workers would give up some of their vacation time to get flexible working options.
The possibility of having a flexible working environment is so tempting that more than one-fifth of all respondents would gladly give up their vacations to obtain it. Interestingly, 28% of people would even accept a 10-20% pay cut if it allowed them to work remotely. For 20%, even employer-matched retirement contributions aren’t as valuable as flexible working.
69% of millennials would give up other work benefits for a more flexible working space.
According to remote work statistics from 2017, millennials appreciate a flexible working environment more than other generations. Some estimates suggest that by 2020, millennials will make up about half of the entire workforce. Because of that, companies that want to keep their employees happy will have to think about flexibility as one of their most important benefits.
Companies that allow remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
According to data from Owl Labs’ 2017 State of Remote Work report, companies that support remote work lost 9% of their employees, compared to 12% in companies that don’t. 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.
40% of people feel that the greatest benefit of remote work is the flexible schedule.
Brand new remote work statistics from 2019 show that people also enjoy the fact they can work from any location they want (30%), spend some quality time with their family (14%), or work from the comfort of their own home (13%). Remote work allows for a better work-life balance and greater employee satisfaction.
44% of remote workers who have unlimited vacation options only take two or three weeks off per year.
Even when their companies offer unlimited vacation options, nearly half of all remote workers actually opt for just two or three weeks of vacation a year. Besides that, 10% settle only for one week, while 5% are okay with less than that. Another 5% don’t take any vacation time at all. This is one reason why remote worker productivity is usually higher than average.
Half-time telecommuters save 11 days a year by not traveling to work.
(State of Telecommuting)
People who only do 50% of their work remotely save an average of 11 days per year in travel time alone. Instead of being stuck in traffic, they can use this time productively around the house. This, in turn, reduces stress and has a positive effect on workers’ general health.
Telecommuters have an average annual income that’s $4,000 higher than other workers.
(State of Telecommuting)
These telecommuting statistics from 2017 could be explained by the fact that employees usually need to earn their right to work remotely. Given that, we’d expect them to be more experienced and, therefore, have a higher salary. This is a great benefit of remote work in general and might inspire others to strive towards a flexible future.
Telecommuting in 2015 saved employers $44 billion in total.
(State of Telecommuting)
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. In 2015, companies managed to save $44 billion by letting their employees work remotely. According to these working from home statistics, each employer saves an average of $11,000 per year. That’s because they didn’t have to provide a working space, or incur other costs like commuting, hardware, or electricity and internet bills.
Telecommuters right now reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to 600,000 cars.
(State of Telecommuting)
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 every day, which dramatically reduces the amount of pollution they’re responsible for. If we were to include workers who would like to telecommute but can’t right now, we would have an annual reduction in harmful gases equal to the amount produced by 10 million cars.
People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.
Apparently, all it takes for workers to be happy and productive is to work remotely just one day a month. Overall, 35% of respondents feel that remote work offers more opportunities for quality employment. In the same vein, based on the working from home stats we’ve seen so far, we could say that quality employers are also more likely to offer remote work options.
Remote Work Problems
The biggest problem for 22% of remote workers is unplugging after work.
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 22% of remote workers. According to these work from home statistics, another major issue is loneliness. In fact, that’s the biggest problem for 19% of employees. Besides that, 17% of remote works believe that this type of work does not allow normal communication and collaboration with coworkers.
86% of workers prefer to work alone to achieve maximum productivity.
Although loneliness during remote work is one of the biggest problems for 19% of workers, 86% of them actually enjoy working alone. That is simply because it improves their working from home productivity and helps them achieve their maximum. For 61% of respondents, loud colleagues are a major distraction in the office, while 40% really dislike impromptu meetings.
74% of workers would quit their job if offered more flexible options elsewhere.
The option of working from home once in a while is such great motivation for 74% of workers that they would gladly leave their current jobs to obtain it. This is one of the reasons why companies that don’t support it have higher turnover rates than those that do. These remote work from home statistics also show that 85% of workers want their employer to provide them with the technology they need to work remotely.
51% of employers officially allow their employees to work from home.
The key word here is “officially,” because out of that number, only 27% follow through with it. Amazingly, 73% of companies still expect their employees to come to work in the office. This is one of the reasons why most of these telecommuting stats should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because companies say they support something, it doesn’t mean they actually do.
Individual contributors are 20% more likely than average to work remotely.
Remote work is often solitary by definition, so it’s most appealing to people who can work by themselves, like individual contributors. In the same report from the year before, individual contributors were twice as likely to be remote than managers were. That said, this telecommuting statistics 2018 report also states that individual contributors are the least likely to work remotely. So, we can conclude that individual contributors either be fully remote, or they don’t work remotely at all.
Fully remote workers are only 30% engaged in their work, which is the same as people who have never worked remotely.
Interestingly, there seems to be some sort of middle ground with remote work and employee engagement. According to research, people who have never worked remotely and those who work remotely 100% of the time have the same level of engagement. In fact, telecommuting statistics from 2016 show us that people who work remote 60-80% of the time have the highest work engagement: 41%.
Brainstorming is the most challenging type of meeting when it comes to remote work.
This makes sense, because brainstorming is all about speed, wit, and bouncing ideas around the room. According to these stats, strategic planning meetings come second, followed by all-hands and collaborative meetings. The least problematic are one-on-ones and stand-up meetings.
78% of people who have college degrees would prefer flexible time.
This remote work survey confirms that a large number of people who work to acquire higher education do so hoping it will provide them with more flexibility in their work. Interestingly, 32% of respondents who said that they would love to have a flexible schedule are already at a managerial level or higher.
Working from Home Stats
For 77% of future employees, the possibility of working from home one day a week is a great incentive.
Offering just one day of remote work per week is a strong working incentive for 77% of people who aren’t yet engaged in the workplace. The next most-popular benefit is free snacks and drinks, which 70% of potential employees find attractive. Casual dress code is a motivator for 68% of people, while social activities appeal to 67%. Oddly enough, these remote work stats reveal that 14% of responders actually consider it a plus if the company doesn’t allow access to social media.
84% of remote workers prefer working remotely from home.
Work flexibility means that these employees are free to work from anywhere they want, yet most choose their homes as the optimal location. Far behind in second place on the list are coworking spaces, where only 8% of remote workers choose to work. Another 4% of workers visit coffee shops and cafes, while only 0.5% go to libraries. This is why a lot of people consider remote work to be synonymous with working from home.
75% of remote workers say their company doesn’t pay for their home internet.
Remote work statistics also show us that remote work comes with some additional expenses people don’t usually think about. Three-quarters of remote workers have to pay for their own internet expenses because the company doesn’t cover it. On the other hand, 18% of employees are lucky enough that their company covers this expense in full, while 7% say the company covers this cost partially.
Data from 2018 shows that 65% of people think they work best at home.
On the other hand, these working from home statistics from 2018 show that only 3% of respondents feel they are actually less productive at home, while 32% don’t notice any significant difference. Besides that, 49% of people surveyed say that they prefer to work from home when they really need something to be done. Their second choice is the office (26%), but only when working at home isn’t really an option in their company.
Considering 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, they are not paid less. In fact, according to statistics, remote workers earn around $4,000 more annually than regular employees.
Work from home productivity stats from 2018 show that people who work remotely at least once a month are actually 24% more likely to be both happy and productive.
As numerous remote work isolation statistics 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 tell us that 18% of people work remotely full-time. More than 4.3 million people in the USA work remotely, which is 3.2% of the entire workforce. Around 16% of companies hire only full-time remote workers, but 44% of them still don’t allow remote work at all.
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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