As the pandemic rolled in early 2020, people faced dire challenges in making a living. Many lost their jobs or businesses.
However, even though Covid did a lot of damage, it also brought in some new opportunities. One of these novel opportunities was a renewed focus on remote work. Although remote work was still a thing well before the pandemic, its time to shine really came afterwards.
Remote work has held up many businesses from going bankrupt. Since going to the office was not an option, it was almost essential to survive for many people in the midst of the pandemic.
It has not only given people the ability to work but also things that office work did not allow. This includes things like flexibility in your working hours and being somewhat in charge of your schedule. The freedom to choose your own working hours introduced new dynamics to the business. Similarly, remote work also gave employers some much-needed savings on office space costs.
The point is that remote work has been a great help to many people around the world.
And as you will see in this post, it isn’t a thing of the past.
So let’s dive into some of the stats around remote work. They should help you understand how it has impacted people’s lives, how it is changing businesses and its role in regards to both people and businesses going forward.
What You Will Find in This Blog Post
- Key statistics on remote work.
- How has remote work affected the employment sector across the world?
- What are the benefits of working remotely?
- Does remote work increase productivity?
- Are remote workers satisfied?
- How can remote work maximise profit?
- What type of remote work jobs are available in 2022?
- What are the myths concerning remote work?
- Is remote work growing?
- What does the future hold for remote work?
Key Remote Work Statistics
- According to LinkedIn, remote job options grew by more than 1100% between March 2020 and the end of 2021. This was a massive leap from about 1.4% of jobs in the US offering remote work at the start of the pandemic to about 17% of jobs offering remote work a year into it.
- In reports gathered by Gartner from a survey of 317 CFOs and Finance leaders in March of 2020, 74% of American companies planned to move towards a remote work approach. Out of these companies, one-third mentioned that an estimated 20% of their workforce would remain remote.
- Based on Gallup’s COVID-19 Panel tracking survey of US adults since the start of the pandemic, almost six out of ten (58%) of the working adults in America are working part-time remote jobs.
- At least 92% of the employees anticipate working from home at least once a week, and 80% expect to work at least three days a week.
- According to FlexJobs, businesses have lost around $600 billion per year on workplace distractions. Much of that money can be saved from remote working and enhancing the employees’ productivity at home.
- A study conducted by Stanford University involving CTrip, a NASDAQ-listed, 16,000- employee Travel agency, found that performance in remote work environments increased by 13%.
- Owl Labs collaborated with Global Workplace Analytics in their annual ‘State of Remote Work’ report. They surveyed over 2000 full-time workers in the United States between the ages 21 and 65 in September 2021 and discovered the following:
- 46% of employees said they would be willing to take a 5% pay cut to work from home at least some of the time.
- According to a FlexJobs survey of over 4000 people, 24% of employees would take a pay cut of 10% to 20% to work remotely as much as they want.
- According to Global Workplace Analytics, a half-time remote employee can save up to $11,000 every year.
- The annual Owl Labs 2021 ‘State of Remote Work’ Report found that 55% of respondents said that they work more hours from home than they do in the office. So employers can get more out of their workers using remote work.
- Bloomberg discovered that if the boss of a company isn’t flexible about remote work, then 39% of employees are likely to change jobs.
- Remote work can reduce 54 million tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere each year.
How Has Remote Work Affected Employees Across the World
Remote Work in Europe
According to Eurostat, 12.3% of the total European Union of employed workers adapted to remote work by 2020. Over the past ten years, that percentage was stagnant at around 5% of the workforce. That is almost a 120% increase in a single year compared to almost 0% growth for a bunch of the years before.
The number of employees working from home went from 3.2% to 10.8% in 2019, growing by almost three times.
Not to mention, self-employment increased by 2.6% in one year from 2019 (19.4%) to 2022 (22%).
The graph below shows which European countries had the most percentage of people working from home.
Image Source: EuroStat
Remote Work Statistics in Asia
According to an interview with Business Insider in August 2020, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy (Indian leading IT companies) showed a willingness to move their long-term operations from offices to remote work.
The nature of job applications in Asia is also in favour of remote work. There was an increase of 3.6x in the number of remote job applications across the Asian countries, as shown below.
At the high end, applications for remote jobs grew by 4.65x in India, a country with a population of almost 1.4 billion people. Similarly, there was an increase of 1.5x in Malaysia, a country with a population of almost 32 million people.
Here is a graph sharing the comparison between countries in terms of their remote job applications.
Image Source: LinkedIn
Remote Work in the USA
As we mentioned above, Owl Labs did a study in the US in late 2021 for their annual report on the state of remote work in the United States. The report shows us how remote work has evolved.
During the pandemic, almost 70% of full-time employees would work from home some of the time.
90% of Owl Lab’s respondents say they were either as productive or more productive while working remotely. Does that mean employers get more out of their employees? Maybe. Because 55% of these American employees say, they work more hours when working remotely.
84% of employees say that working remotely would make them happier. Why? Well, it might have something to do with things like virtual meetings. 70% of employees say virtual meetings are less stressful. Similarly, 64% of employees prefer hybrid meetings.
In fact, employees like remote work so much, that some of them would be willing to take a pay cut for it. Between July and August 2021, FlexJobs surveyed 4,612 people on their platform about job plans, and here is what they found from the respondents.
- Almost 45% knew somebody who has already quit or is planning to quit their job due to in-person work requirements.
- 29% were looking for a new job that allows remote work.
- 17% would quit their job if it did not offer some remote work options.
- 21% would give up some vacation time in order to work remotely.
- Almost a quarter of the employees would take a pay cut of 10% to 20% to work remotely as much as they want.
As of the start of COVID-19, 81% of employees expect that their employer will continue to encourage remote work. On the same note, 59% said they would want to work for a company that allowed for remote work.
Similarly, 33% of employees from the same Owl Lab survey unflinchingly said they would not work for their employers after the pandemic if remote work was not on the table. That excludes 18% of respondents who remain undecided on what they would do under the circumstance. Sum that up, and you potentially have almost half of your workforce threatening to leave if they can not work remotely.
In the middle, you have 71% of employees want either a hybrid or remote working style after the pandemic is over.
States with the Highest Ratio of Remote Workers
FelxJobs looked at the number of remote jobs and compared it to the number of jobseekers between 2020 and 2021 in their database. They found that the ratio of remote jobs to job seekers goes down as you move down the following list of states:
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
What Are the Benefits of Remote Work?
There are many benefits of remote work for everybody involved. Let’s look at them both from the perspective of employees and employers.
Improved Quality of Life
Flex job surveyed over 800 US employees with flexible work options like remote work, freelancing or working part-time, etc. They also polled employees who did not have flexible work options. The goal was to see how much of an impact flexible work options have on an employee’s work-life balance.
48% of the respondents said they had a good work-life balance. On the other hand, only 36% of employees who had no flexible work possibilities said they had a good work-life balance.
So giving employees flexible work options, which is usually only possible when they are working remotely, increases the chances of them having a healthy work-life balance by about 30%.
Furthermore, two-thirds of the remote workers surveyed showed the intention that they would not prefer to come back to offices.
- Saved Time on Travelling to Offices
Researchers from MIT, Stanford, and the University of Chicago asked 4000 workers to share work details of the days they were working from the office compared to the days they worked from home.
The result showed that office workers took 28 minutes to prepare themselves for work while remote workers only took 19 minutes. In addition to this, remote work employees use 20 minutes of each hour they save from commuting to do stuff related to their primary jobs.
Improved Mental Health
A survey by Mental Health America (MHA) in 2021 discovered that 77% of their study sample (of about 5000 surveys) want flexible work options to improve their mental and physical health.
An additional study of 17,000 employees discovered that employees in an unhealthy workplace tend to experience higher stress levels. They also tend to have lower engagement in their work.
Mental Health America partnered with Flexjob in a study in July 2020. They found that 80% of the participants think more remote work will help them better manage their mental health. 66% of them showed a willingness to work remotely full time even after the pandemic. At the same time, 33% would like to have a combination of both in-office and work-from-home working options.
Similarly, 82% of American employees say working from home after the pandemic is better for their mental health. This is according to the annual 2021 ‘State of Remote Work’ report by Owl Labs.
As we mentioned in the key stats, some studies or reports show that remote work can be more productive.
For example, there was an experiment by Stanford University involving CTrip, a 16,000- employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. The experiment found that performance in remote work environments improved by 13% compared to the norm. A similar study by Owl Labs in 2021 found that 55% of respondents said that they work even more hours from home than they do in the office.
On the same note, businesses have lost around $600 billion per year on workplace distractions, according to FlexJobs. Much of that money can be saved from remote working and enhancing the employees’ productivity at home.
An economist from the University of California, Berkeley, undertook an analysis. He looked at the growth rate of case numbers before and after various lockdown measures were introduced in six countries. These included the US, China, France, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
All of these countries employed vastly different measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. And according to The Scientist,
“The most effective measure, they found, was getting people not to travel to work, while school closures had relatively little effect.”
“In total, his group estimated that combined interventions prevented or delayed about 62 million confirmed cases in the six countries studied, or about 530 million total infections.”
Logically, a considerable chunk of those saved lives is in the US in proportion to its population to the total of the six countries.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
People can often get job offers they would really like to accept. There’s just one problem; the company is quite literally far, far away.
Thanks to remote work, people can work for distant companies without ever having to move. This works in the employer’s favour as well. That is because remote work allows employers to attract widespread talent. In other words, companies now have a bigger and better pool of employees to pick from.
Similarly, as we mentioned above, surveys or reports by both FlexJobs and Owl Labs show that employees may take a pay cut just so they can work remotely.
Does Remote Work Really Increase Productivity?
The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago polled 10,000 employees. Their study found that the employees believed working from home was just as productive as working in the office.
One-third of those polled claimed that working from home increased their output and engagement.
The survey team predicted that commute time would be cut by 62.4 million hours per day from the middle of March 2020 to the middle of September 2020. This saves a total of over 9 billion hours or 1 billion 8-hour working days.
A similar study by Owl Labs in 2021 found that 55% of respondents said that they work more hours from home than they do in the office.
According to the same study, only 36% of respondents said the office is the ideal place for individual work.
The same Owl Labs report found that 32% of respondents claimed they would quit their jobs if they couldn’t work from home.
Furthermore, 52% of American listed companies agreed that their employees’ productivity increased while working from home. By March 2020, only 9% said they are more creative in the office, and 28% of Americans working from home claimed to have a stronger focus. Moreover, 76% avoid offices because they believe concentrating on essential tasks is better at home.
According to FlexJobs, businesses have lost around $600 billion per year on workplace distractions. Much of that money can be saved from remote working and enhancing the employees’ productivity at home.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Stanford University found that performance in remote work environments will increase by 13%. More calls per minute contribute to an efficient working environment and increased working minutes per shift due to fewer break days.
So, all in all, yes, remote work does seem to have a positive influence on employee productivity.
Are Remote Workers Satisfied?
According to the annual State of Remote Work report by Owl Labs, remote workers are happier and more inclined to stay at their jobs. Again, the survey involved about 2000 employees in the US between the ages of 21 and 65.
They also found that workers who work from home are happier than those who constantly work in an office environment by a margin of 22%.
Workers who work from home say they are happier and more productive because of the flexible hours they enjoy. Additionally, remote workers put in an additional 43% more hours per week than those who never worked remotely.
The trend of remote work is becoming increasingly popular, and it could be an important factor in retaining employees in the future. Hybrid working models, in which people spend some time in the office and some time working from home, are also catching up.
How Can Remote Work Maximize Profit?
According to Global Workplace Analytics, IBM saved around $50 million in real estate costs by hiring remote workers. They also reduced lease expenses significantly as the company shed 58 million square feet of office space.
In an average office space, the cost per employee is approximately $18,000 per year. Now multiply this number by the number of employees within a company. Remote work has allowed employers to cut down on these costs.
What Type of Remote Work Jobs are Available in 2022?
Some jobs you can do from home include:
Your education will decide what kind of writing jobs you can get. These jobs can vary from run-of-the-mill content writers to high-end academic writers and journalists.
If you are a qualified medical practitioner, you can earn anywhere from $100k to $150k per year. Besides that, there are also many opportunities to become a technical document writer in subjects like software technology and finance.
Editorial jobs are in high demand at the moment, particularly in digital media. With some experience and a healthy dose of grinding, you can land editorial jobs at publications or websites. You can also edit content for marketing agencies or content writers.
An editor in the US can earn anywhere between $30K and $115K depending on the exact nature of work.
IT jobs like software engineering and coding require some hard-earned software skills and a working computer. These jobs are mostly remote because of the nature of the work.
A software engineer can earn around $93,948 from the comfort of their home.
Project managers implement highly organised methods and procedures to maximise companies’ profits. They keep an eye on large projects and ensure that it goes through without any delays. They might do this by creating teams of multiple people and allocating tasks to the teams.
A project manager is likely to earn more than $100k in many industries.
Any digital business needs to attract as many customers as it possibly can if it wants to earn more. One of the ways businesses attract customers is, of course, by offering the best products you can get. But the way they sell and present their products also matters for obvious reasons.
Web designing helps companies make their websites and their products attractive.
An average web designer can earn up to $235K per annum.
What Are the Myths Around Remote Work?
Myth 1 – No Collaboration
The biggest myth about remote work statistics is that the only collaboration method is in the physical workspace. But the stats beg to differ.
82% of remote workers agree that collaboration is pretty straightforward provided the right resources, equipment, and technology. So it turns out that employees can easily stay connected with one another when working remotely.
Myth 2 – Low Level of Engagement
There is a massive misconception among workers about how engaging remote work is. While you may think remote work isn’t as engaging as regular office jobs, the stats may show a different picture.
Over the past 18 months, 81% of remote employees reported high engagement, followed by 72% of on-site employees.
Myth 3 – Remote Work Can’t Grow Any Further
Unsurprisingly, the sheer number of remote jobs has been skyrocketing since the start of the pandemic. As we mentioned earlier, remote work opportunities will keep growing even after the pandemic.
Quantum Workplace did a study around August 31st, 2021, where they had over 30 thousand opt-in employees from the best organisations across the US. These employees shared their work experience with an independent panel.
With less harsh government policies implemented on travel and work, 30% of employees who indulged in hybrid work remained hybrid by the first half of 2021. 21% of workers showed initiative to continue working the remote method full time, and 68% wanted a hybrid environment. In contrast, only 11% of employees wanted to return to the old site job process.
In other words, most people do not want to go back to the old way of doing things.
Is Remote Work Growing?
In October 2021, Google Trends (a search analysis tool) saw a surge in the keyword phrase “remote jobs.” In the United States alone, people searched for remote jobs 301,000 times. It depicts the highest interest in such a field of work since 2004. Between October 2019 to October 2021, the search for remote jobs increased by 107%.
Ladders’ data scientists evaluated remote work statistics in North America and projected that 25% of all professional positions in 2022 would be remote.
As they tracked 50,000 of the biggest North American employers since the pandemic started, remote work opportunities have gone from 4% to 9% by 2020. This number has grown to more than 15% today.
According to results from the same Quantum Workplace study we mentioned above, the prospect of doing a job in the US remotely before the pandemic was 37%. However, only 7% of employees had remote jobs before the pandemic, so remote jobs were not utilised as much.
However, since the dynamics of the workplace have changed, remote work opportunities are on the rise. As of 2021, 65% of total employees had adapted to this new reality. From this 65%, 35% have reported working remotely, and the other 30% recognise themselves as hybrid workers.
What Does the Future Hold for Remote Work?
Upwork’s Chief Economist published a paper evaluating the future of remote work. The surveys polled a combined 1,500 hiring managers, which includes executives, VPs, and managers.
26.3% of the respondents said that their organisation’s workforce would change significantly after Covid. 35.6% claimed that their workforce would only change somewhat. This adds up to a total of 61.9% of respondents in favour of moving at least some of their workforce to remote work after the pandemic.
Furthermore, many hiring managers made up their minds to move things to remote work. This has increased drastically due to Covid.
Before the pandemic, 13.2% of the workforce represented was working remotely, and the hiring managers expected to increase this margin to 17.2% over the coming five years. That is a growth rate of almost 30%. Post-Covid, 21.3% of the workforce should be entirely remote, as expected by the hiring managers. That is a growth rate of about 65%, which is about twice as high as the previous target rate.
To sum it up, remote work is on the rise, and the trend is expected to continue throughout the rest of the decade.
Here are some estimations from a variety of sources to help illustrate the point.
- According to the same Upwork study mentioned above, 22% of all Americans will be working remotely by 2025, which translates to 36.2 million people. This is an 87% increase compared to the pre-pandemic figures.
- According to Global Workplace Analytics, working from home is a viable option for 56% of the workforce or 75 million people. GWA gave this estimate using data from the US Bearue of Labor Statistics and peer-reviewed research methodology.
- By the end of the pandemic, Global Workplace Analytics forecasted that 25-30% of the workforce would be able to work part-time from home regularly.
- Facebook’s CEO predicted that by 2030, half of the company’s employees would be working from home.
Final Thoughts on Remote Work Statistics
There is no arguing that remote work can help elevate the quality and the quantity of our work. It can also have a profound effect on the rest of our lives.
Remote work has given us the ability to use the resources we already had in new and perhaps, more efficient ways. It is on us to utilise the opportunities and technologies to make the most of this opportunity.
The statistics speak for the growing popularity of working from home because of the benefits it offers. As we mentioned above, these benefits include things like improving your mental health, boosting your productivity, and reducing unnecessary costs.
The idea of earning from the comfort of your home is popular among many. But not everyone fully supports this.
Due to the existing laws of office work, many people still prefer the old school way of working from offices. And it is crucial to find a balance between these two views. We could do this by implementing rules and policies that help mitigate or help solve the problem of employee exploitation by businesses.
Remote work is the new work norm, and it will stick around in the future. Therefore regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee, the quicker you adapt to it, the better.