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41 Astonishing Remote Work Statistics

by Darko Jacimovic

The remote work statistics show that working from home—or at least outside a business’s main office—is fast becoming the new business norm. Rising costs have led businesses to find innovative solutions for reducing overheads. Not having to maintain a business office for staff is a simple way to cut costs without impacting service too much.

For remote workers, the benefits include more flexibility and the opportunity to cut commuting times to practically nothing. This frees up time for staff and allows them to get out of a distracting office environment. All the stats show that these are huge perks for employees.

The Top 10 Remote Work and Telecommuting Stats

  • 99% of workers would like to work remotely part- or full-time for the rest of their careers.
  • 84% of remote employees work from home.
  • 40% of companies hire a combination of office workers and remote employees.
  • Working from home can improve performance by as much as 13%.
  • Globally, around 54.3% of business people worked remotely at least 2.5 days every week in 2017.
  • By 2027, 50.9% of the US workforce will be freelancers.
  • Between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote workers.
  • 50% of current US jobs are compatible with some employees working from home.
  • Between 80% and 90% of those employed in the States would like to telecommute from time to time.
  • If businesses in America switched over to telecommuting for compatible workers 50% of the time, it would result in savings of $700 billion a year.

Working Remotely Today Is Already the New Norm

Remote work statistics - Work

1. Over the last five years, the number of employers in the US offering flexible solutions has increased by 40%.

This is in response to changing attitudes about the effectiveness of employees working from home. Companies are coming around to the idea that if they can trust their employees to show up to work every day, they can trust them to work from home unsupervised. Still, just 7% open up this option to the majority of workers.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

2. According to most work from home studies, telecommuting is more likely to be an option in larger companies.

This could be due to budgetary concerns. Larger firms have the resources to outfit staff with their own devices, and so forth. A smaller business may not be able to ensure that all employees have the tools they need to effectively collaborate outside an office setting.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

3. 40% of companies hire a combination of office workers and remote employees.

But the companies where every employee works remotely are catching up. 31% of the time, all employees of an organization are remote. 16% of businesses allow employees to work remotely when necessary.

Source: Buffer

4. The remote working statistics from 2017 show a 159% increase in remote workers since 2005.

These aren’t freelancers or self-employed people. These are people who are employed by companies that have changed over to working remotely. What’s even more interesting, this growth is 11 times higher than what we see with the remaining workforce. It’s 50 times as high as the rate at which self-employed workers increased.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

5. Close to 100,000 of Google’s employees are remote workers.

Their staff works across a total of 150 cities in 50 different countries. As for how many people work from home in other large companies, the numbers will differ. However, it’s a more common practice in high-tech industries.

Source: Inc

6. 40% of the US workforce already engages in remote work on a regular basis.

As time passes, this number will only increase. Companies are fast realizing that there are several advantages to allowing personnel some options in this area. Remote work is as attractive for the company as it is for the employee in many cases.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

7. 3.4% of the employed American workforce now spends at least half of their working life working remotely.

Telecommuting statistics from 2018 show that there are a total of 4.7 million workers in different industries who’ve opted to work from home. This figure only consists of salaried, permanent employees, not freelancers hired on an ad hoc basis.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

8. Globally, around 54.3% of business people worked remotely at least 2.5 days every week in 2017.

Half of the respondents worked remotely for more than 3.5 days a week. Remote working has become a new way to work worldwide. We have the tech to facilitate this, and more companies are taking advantage of the new remote work market. In the US, 43% worked remote at least a part of their working hours. 

Source: Statista

9. By 2027, 50.9% of the United States workforce will be freelancers.

That’s about 86.9 million Americans working remotely. It’s a sign of the times—we’re no longer chained to our desks in an office. So why wouldn’t you want to work with this flexibility?

Source: Statista

10. 5% of remote workers work on four different projects or jobs at a time. 

We’re also changing the way that we look at our careers. The days of working for one company for the rest of your life are well and truly over. By working from home, you can maximize your workday and fit in extra jobs much more easily.

Source: Statista

11. The remote work statistics from 2019 show that 33% of companies have up to a quarter of their employees working remotely.

Once again, the companies that have 100% of their employees working from home are catching up fast. In fact, 30% of businesses only employ remote workers.

Source: Buffer

12. 65% of workers in China telecommuted in 2017.

China had the highest percentage of remote workers in 2017 globally.

Source: Statista

13. Remote work statistics from 2018 show that 20.6% of salaried employees in the US have done some work from home.

There are only so many hours in a day. It’s not unusual for people to put in extra time at home as well. It can be a convenient way to get more work done. You don’t have to deal with clients, ringing phones, or other typical office distractions.

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

14. In 2018, 50.7% of self-employed workers in the United States had done some work from home.

According to recent Bureau of Labor statistics, telecommuting is something that just over half of the self-employed people in the United States are already engaging in to some degree.

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

15. The percentage of remote employees working from home has increased from 78% to 84% in the last year.

Working from home is a convenient and cost-effective option for many employees. With the current technology available to us, it’s a simple option that can be quite effective. Coffee shops come in as a preferred second location in 37% of cases. By comparison, coworking stats suggest that only 14% choose to work from a coworking space.

Source: Buffer

What People Think About Working From Home

Remote work statistics - Remote

16. 70% of US gig economy workers in 2018 felt that their work/life balance was an important factor when choosing a job.

Telecommuting statistics from 2019 show that many workers find that working remotely can help maximize their work/life balance. Because of the more flexible schedule, you get to choose when you want to be available for work and for your family. Naturally, some jobs are less flexible in this regard than others. If you’re a telemarketer working from home, for example, you won’t be phoning people late at night.

Source: Statista

17. 40% of remote workers see a flexible schedule as the primary benefit of working from home.

A further 30% of remote workers appreciate the ability to work wherever they like. Only around 13% choose this lifestyle specifically so that they can work from home. Remote work trends show that flexible work hours will continue to become more important as time passes.  

Source: Buffer

18. In 2018, 59% of remote workers in the US believed that flexible work times were extremely important.

It’s one of the most important reasons people sign up for this kind of work environment in the first place. It can be very useful to be able to choose when you’re going to work. You might, for example, prefer to fetch your kids from school every day and work in the evening instead of the afternoon.

Source: Statista

19. 99% of workers would like to work remotely part- or full-time for the rest of their careers.

Telecommuting trends from 2018 show that remote workers generally agree that the benefits of working remotely far outweigh the potential downsides. Most remote workers would choose to continue to work from home.

Source: Buffer

20. 95% of remote workers recommend this style of working to others.

Most remote workers are content with their decision to work in this manner. They’re also quite happy to recommend it to friends and family.

Source: Buffer

The Downsides of Working Remotely

Remote work statistics - Mac

21. 22% of remote workers find it hard to unplug after work.

A flexible time schedule is a benefit but can also be a drawback. For remote workers, the statistics show that they will often find it hard to separate work time and personal time.

Source: RedBeachAdvisors

22. 19% of remote workers struggle with loneliness.

Workplace relationships play an important role in creating a great work environment. Remote workers have far less contact with their co-workers and might battle with loneliness.

Source: Buffer

23. 17% of remote workers find that they struggle with collaboration or communication.

A flexible work structure has definite benefits, but it can make it harder to find time to collaborate with your coworkers. Your coworker might not be available when you are, or vice versa.

Source: Buffer

24. According to the remote work statistics, 75% of remote employees are expected to pay their own costs for the internet.

One of the primary benefits for a company operating in this space is that it saves on overhead. Many remote workers are expected to provide their own devices, pay for their offices, and so on.

Source: Buffer 

25. 10% of remote workers find that distractions at home are a serious problem for them.

It can be difficult to convince your family and friends to respect the fact that you’re at work. Having you at home makes you more accessible and therefore prone to being distracted.

Source: Buffer

26. 8% of companies make no provision for leave for their remote employees.

Contracts of this nature are often based around how much work is delivered. If the employee doesn’t work, they’re not likely to get paid. This makes it harder to take a vacation every year. Still, the remote working statistics show that most freelancers will take leave in spite of this.

Source: Buffer

27. Being in a different time zone from your teammates is a problem for 8% of workers.

While there are ways around this, it can be more difficult if you’re in vastly different time zones. Someone working in Los Angeles, for example, would be clocking in at around the same time someone in Durban, South Africa, heads to bed.

Source: Buffer

The Benefits of Working from Home for Employees

Remote work statistics - Cafe

28. 32% of remote workers are offered unlimited vacation time.

The advantage of working flexitime means that workers can base their work around their own schedule. This makes it easier for the employer and employee to coordinate time schedules and allow for time off.

Source: Buffer

29. 22% of workers took a 2-week vacation within the last year.

Two weeks is the most common vacation period for remote employees. A three-week vacation was the second-most popular option at 21%. Only 5% of employees took no leave at all.

Source: Buffer

30. When it comes to working from home, the stats show that 84% of remote employees work from their residence.

Working from home means less time wasted commuting, and it allows employees to work in a more relaxed environment. This makes it possible to work at any time of the day or night that suits the employee.

Source: Buffer

31. 21% of workers earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year.

By contrast, only 4% of remote workers earn over $200,000 annually. This could indicate that companies are more willing to offer remote positions to their more junior staff.

Source: Buffer

The Benefits of Remote Working for Businesses

Remote work statistics - Keyboard

32. Working from home can improve performance by as much as 13%.

This is based on the telecommuting productivity statistics gathered during a study of the biggest travel agency in China. Remote employees were monitored over a two-year period. The study found that performance improved significantly. This, in turn, disproves the notion that remote environments negatively affect performance. The researcher attributed this to fewer distractions at home compared to a busy office environment.

Source: Stanford Business School 

33. The Chinese company Ctrip found that allowing employees to work from home allowed them to increase their profits by $2,000 per employee over a two-year period.

The company’s profits were thanks to increased productivity and lower operating costs. In Shanghai, where the company is based, the cost of office space is extremely expensive. By saving on office space, and having more productive employees, they were able to maximize their profits.

Source: Stanford Business School

34. Of those who work from home, statistics show that they have significantly greater job satisfaction.

This Stanford Business School study of one of China’s biggest travel agencies found that allowing employees to work remotely halved the company’s resignation rate. This was attributed to the staff having a more relaxed and productive work life. The company also benefits because human resources spend less time filling vacancies and training new staff.

Source: Stanford Business School

The Future for Remote Workers

Remote work statistics - Personal space

35. In the case of working from home, statistics from 2018 show that full-time personnel is 4 times more likely to be offered remote opportunities than part-time workers.

This is changing slowly. The simple fact is that a full-time employee might be considered more trustworthy in this area. It could also be simple logistics—part-time employees are often taken on to handle work overflow. Managers might feel more comfortable ensuring they can keep an eye on how much work gets done.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

36. 50% of the jobs currently filled in the US are compatible with some work from home.

Think about the jobs we perform today. Unless you’re a salesperson or cashier working in a retail store, how much time do you actually need to be at work? With much of our work now being computer-based, the remote work statistics prove that it’s becoming a lot easier to make the switch.

37. Between 80% and 90% of those employed in the States would like to telecommute from time to time.

It seems that working remotely two or three days a week is many employees’ preference. It’s estimated that this is sufficient time for them to effectively collaborate with their coworkers and still be able to apply that extra focus while at home.  

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

38. Globally, businesses are changing their space around their remote workers.

Research shows that in many Fortune 1,000 companies, the desks are only used 40% to 50% of the time. As a result, companies are looking for alternative solutions, like desk sharing, to reduce the amount of space they take up.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics 

39. According to the telecommuter stats in America, your average telecommuter will be older than 44 years and have some college education.

This is surprising for most people to learn. You’d think that older workers would prefer a more conventional environment. If you think it through a bit more, though, it makes a lot of sense. As a society, we’re putting off having children until we’re a little older, so people in this age group could well have family commitments that make this style of work a lot more attractive.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

40. 75% of those working from home earn an excess of $65,000 annually.

These remote work statistics put them in the 80th percentile of income earners. Combine this with the reduced need to commute, and it’s hardly surprising that more Americans are focusing on remote work opportunities.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

41. If businesses in America switched over to telecommuting for compatible workers 50% of the time, it would result in savings of $700 billion a year.

This would be around $11,000 in savings per employee annually. In addition, it will save employees around $2,000–$7,000 annually. The more people who work from home, statistics show, the better the environment. It would be as if the entire state of New York stopped driving their cars completely.

Source: Global Workplace Analytics

Final Notes

Remote work statistics - Desk

This isn’t a solution that’s going to fit every business’s or employee’s needs. That said, for those jobs that are compatible with this working solution, the benefits could be significant. Employees enjoy a more relaxed working environment and increased productivity levels. The remote work statistics prove that businesses can save on costs and expect better productivity from employees.

For businesses and employees considering this option, it might be helpful to ease into it slowly. Why not start by moving your employees to this system by having them work one day a week from home? This gives you both a chance to see how well it works for you. If it works, then consider increasing the number of days that your employees can work from home.

The remote work statistics show that this is the direction most businesses are moving. It’s an effective way to reduce business costs and increase productivity at the same time. Why wouldn’t a business be interested in doing that?

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