The world’s fluctuating economy imposes today’s workforce with grave challenges.
As the words like “digital nomad” and “flylancer” thrive in occupational communities, we can all agree that the term “workplace” needs to be re-defined.
Remote work statistics reveal that a growing number of workers are impatient to gain perks of working from just about anywhere.
However, global data reveals that employers are somewhat skeptical.
From glass doors to anger rooms, business owners invest a lot of time, energy, and resources in optimizing the workplace for maximum productivity.
What if remote work can solve productivity issues, diversity, and drama caused by annoying bosses and toxic coworkers?
The figures below outline the contours of this phenomenon and provide true insight into the topic of working remotely.
The Top 10 Remote Work Statistics
- There were 8 million full-time remote workers in the US in 2017.
- 56% of workers in the US have a job that is compatible with telecommuting.
- Only 7% of employers in the US offer remote working opportunities.
- Remote employees saved $4,523 on fuel and 19 days on commuting in 2019.
- The US could save over $700 billion per year if its employees worked remotely half of the time.
- 29% of remote workers had trouble managing their work-life balance.
- 2.26 million individuals will use coworking spaces in 2020.
- 82% of workers prefer working from home at least once a week.
- Job applicants are willing to give up 8% of their wages for the possibility of remote work.
- 29% of remote workers had trouble managing their work-life balance.
Understanding Remote Workers through Statistics
1. There were 8 million full-time remote workers in the US in 2017.
The statistics from the US Census Bureau show that 5.2% of American workers were working remotely in 2017. That’s 8 million individuals that enjoyed the perks of remote work.
Moreover, NBER published a study showing that — on a national level — the number of alternative work arrangements like remote work or flexible working hours has significantly increased in the past decade.
Namely, the share of on-call workers, independent contractors, or freelancers was almost 16% in 2015, while, in 2005, it was only 10.7%.
2. A remote work survey found that 43% of the US population occasionally worked from home in 2016.
The Gallup report included data from 195,600 US employees and more than 31 million surveyed Americans in total and showed that, in 2016, as much as 43% of the US population worked from home on occasion. 31% of them worked remotely 80% of their work time or more.
These figures are significantly higher than those from 2012, when Gallup reported that 39% of the US workers worked remotely on occasion, with 24% spending 80% or more of their work time at home.
3. Not all employers believe in working from home. Stats reveal that 43% of them don’t allow remote work.
(CNBC, Statista, ILO)
In 2019, 29% of workers worldwide were fully or partially performing their jobs at home, and 43% of workers were prevented from working remotely by their employer.
The ILO-Eurofound report for 2016 shows that 17% of EU workers were performing occasional telework during that year. The report — comprised of data acquired from the world’s biggest countries — indicates that, depending on the sector and location of the companies, the percentage of remote work varies from 2–40%.
4. Highly educated individuals aged 25 and over are the most likely to be working from home, according to statistics from 2018.
In 2018, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report stating that 41.7% of the remote employees have an advanced degree, and at least 53% of them have a bachelor’s degree.
Their average remote working hours were estimated at 2.8h per day for those with an advanced degree and 3.11h per day for those who had a bachelor’s degree. In comparison, 12% of those with a high school diploma worked remotely in 2018.
5. Remote work statistics suggest that 56% of US workers have a job that is compatible with telecommuting.
Statistics show that remote work is the future of US labor. Namely, a 2017 report indicated that more than half of US employees (56%) had a job that is compatible with remote work. In the survey, 74% of the surveyed office workers claimed that they were willing to quit their jobs for a remote post.
In addition, a 2019 report that interviewed 2.500 remote workers found that 99% of them wanted to continue working remotely until the end of their careers.
6. Only 7% of US employers offer remote working opportunities, as statistics from 2019 reveal.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
According to the 2019 report by Global Workplace Analytics, since 2005, there had been a 40% increase in the number of American companies offering flexible working options.
However, this option is available to employees in only 7% of these companies. Full-time employees were four times more likely to be trusted with remote working than part-time workers.
Further research shows that employers in the regions of Mid-Atlantic and New England offer various remote work options.
7. Remote work statistics reveal that the financial sector has the highest percentage (57%) of full-time or part-time remote workers.
The data obtained for the period 2017–2018 reveals that several industries allowed employees to work remotely, either full-time or part-time.
The financial sector had the largest share of remote workers (57%). 53% of those working in the sector of professional and business services and the IT sector reported working remotely, followed by employees in the sectors of manufacturing (30%), public administration (30%), and education and health services (26%).
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
8. Remote workers know exactly how to boost their productivity.
20% of the 505 remote workers that participated in the 2019 study stated that music helped them stay productive.
Most of the remote workers (37%) agreed that regular breaks were the most important factor for productivity, followed by having fixed working hours (33%). 25% of them thought that working from the same location helps productivity, as well as keeping an eye on daily tasks by making lists and planning the work ahead.
For 16%, exercise was their productivity booster, and for 15%, it was communication with coworkers.
9. Telecommuting statistics from 2018 show that teleworkers earn more than on-site workers.
In 2018, the Census Bureau estimated that the median annual wage for a remote worker was $42,442, whereas, for a commuter going to work by car, it was $40,184.
The reason behind this difference of $2,258 in favor of those working from home is mainly the fact that most of the remote jobs are reserved for highly qualified workers.
10. An average of $4,523 was saved on fuel thanks to remote workers, statistics reveal.
(The NY Post, Census)
A 2019 survey reveals that an average American commute totals around 35 minutes on a workday, and one-fourth is due to being stuck in traffic.
Commuting has become longer over the years, and this trend will not end soon.
Following these statistics, remote workers had 19 days more free time than their on-site working counterparts in 2019 and saved an average of $4,523 on fuel.
This is why 63% of American job seekers see commuting as a very important factor when choosing a job.
11. Remote work statistics from 2019 showed that a remote employee works 1.4 days more than an on-site worker on a monthly basis.
A 2019 survey consisting of 1,004 full-time workers — composed of almost an equal number of on-site and remote workers — concluded that the latter are, on average, more productive.
The survey results show that remote workers work 1.4 days per month more than those working in an office, which is almost 17 (16.8) days per year.
What’s more, office workers had 37 minutes of lag time, while teleworkers had 27 minutes of accumulated delay between tasks.
12. Telecommuting stats from 2014 show that 45% of remote workers are getting more sleep.
(Business News Daily, CoSo Cloud)
A survey conducted in December 2014 with a group of 353 US internet users older than 18 concluded that those who work remotely have better job satisfaction than on-site workers.
Also, 45% of them reported sleeping more, and 42% said that they are eating healthier since they started working from home. 44% of them reported a more positive attitude.
A 2019 survey revealed that remote workers were exercising for about 2h, 44min weekly, which is 25 minutes more than office workers.
13. Statistics for the future of work from home suggest that remote work could save the US over $700 billion per year.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
A 2019 US report stated that $700 billion per year could be saved nationwide if employers allowed eligible workers (estimated at 56%) to spend half of their working time working remotely.
Official estimates show that a business can save on average $11,000 in expenses per worker who spends half of the time working at home. Also, businesses would reduce the expenses related to poor weather conditions.
14. Telecommuting statistics for 2019 show that 29% of remote workers had trouble managing their work-life balance.
A 2019 study reveals that remote employees have worse work-life balance than on-site workers.
Around 29% of surveyed remote workers — in comparison with 23% of their on-site counterparts — stated they find reaching a work-life balance difficult.
According to this study, Millennials, representing 61% of the employees interviewed, were most likely to struggle with this subject.
Data showed that one in three of the Millennials that worked from home struggled to maintain their work-life equilibrium.
15. Teleworkers are more stressed than office workers, even though they work from home, statistics reveal.
The latest study comparing aspects of the work-life balance in the office and at home, found that remote workers are more stressed during their work.
Notably, 54% of remote workers experienced becoming overly stressed during their workday, with 45% reporting very high levels of anxiety. In comparison, 49% of office workers said that they felt their stress levels increase throughout the workday, with 42% of them reporting considerably high levels of stress.
However, when it comes to managing their emotions, approximately 21% of participants in both groups reported encountering difficulties.
Remote Work Trends
16. Working from home is the most popular flexibility arrangement among job-seekers.
A 2017 study involving 7000 job applicants that were interviewed for a call center position examined their willingness to lose a percentage of their future wage to obtain three flexible work advantages.
These included the ability to make their work schedules, decide on the start of their working shift or remote work. Among these options, working from home was the most popular choice both for men and women.
17. Job seekers are willing to give up 8% of their wages to work for companies offering remote jobs, statistics from 2017 reveal.
(CNBC, Economics Stanford)
The 2017 study showed that job applicants are willing to sacrifice up to 8% of their salaries in order to be able to work from home.
The study also showed that women were ready to give up a bigger share of their wages for the comfort of working from home.
Notably, women were prepared to give up $1.59 of their hourly pay while male job-seekers were willing to give up $0.68 to enjoy the perks of remote work.
18. Many of us want to work from home. Statistics for 2019 show that 82% of workers would like to telework at least once per week.
(Gallup, Linkedin, CNBC, Economics Stanford)
A 2019 study involving 2000 working professionals between the ages of 18–74 showed that a vast majority of them (82%) would like to work from home at least once a week, while 57% wanted to work from home three or more days per week.
This was especially true for 53% of the stay-at-home mothers, as flexible working hours or work schedules are always a big factor in their willingness to take a job.
19. Work-from-home trends show that teleworking for the non-self-employed increased by 173% between 2005–2108.
(Global Workplace Analytics)
The latest Global Workplace Analytics data revealed that remote working for the non-self-employed increased by a staggering 173% in the period between 2005–2018.
This percentage increased 11 times faster than for the rest of the workforce and almost 47 times faster for the self-employed population.
In 2018, around 4.7 million employees worldwide completed at least 50% of their work time at home, which represents 3.4% of the global workforce.
20. Worldwide telework statistics claim that there will be 2.26 million individuals that use coworking spaces in 2020.
By 2020, the number of workers using coworking spaces will reach 2.26 million.
This is a 128 times increase since 2010 when 21,000 workers used these types of offices. In 2019, there were around 22,400 coworking spaces globally, and around 1.18 million remote workers using them.
In the US, their number was 4,000 in 2017. Regus and WeWork were the two companies that dominated the coworking space market in that year.
21. Companies that encourage working at home — according to statistics — have four times as many female CEOs as regular companies.
(Gallup, Hudson RPO)
There’s an evident gender disparity in most industry sectors, especially in tech, where more than half of female workers reported having to leave their jobs after becoming mothers, or that this event made their career advancement more difficult.
The option to work remotely can help outbalance this disparity and give women with little kids a chance to save their careers. What’s more, statistics suggest that remote companies have four times as many female CEOs as regular companies.
COVID-19: Perpetual Change in Remote Working Statistics
22. Telecommuting has skyrocketed in the US, due to COVID-induced lockdowns.
Before the outbreak, between 12% and 19% of people have worked from home from time to time. However, the pandemic compelled employers and workers to stay in lockdowns, which influenced the remote working trends to skyrocket.
During the outbreak, statistics on work from home revealed that as much as 42% of the working population had adapted to working remotely.
23. Technologies that facilitate remote working recorded a drastic increase in revenue.
Slack, a business communication platform, has been growing for years. However, it took more than five years to reach 10 million users. During a couple of lockdown weeks, it acquired almost 2.5 million new active users.
24. According to projections, as much as 75% of people will work remotely in some way, by the end of 2020.
Although not certain how, but companies are more rapidly adopting remote work options.
Currently, in the US, 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population is working remotely.
How many people work remotely?
In 2019, around 29% of the global workforce performed some or the entirety of their work remotely. In 2019, a worldwide survey showed that in 43% of cases an employer opposed working from home, even though the position was compatible with remote work.
In the EU, 17% of workers were performing occasional telework or mobile work in 2019. The International Labor Organization (ILO) indicated that remote work varies significantly across the globe, with engagement rates of 2–40% depending on the country and sector of work.
Why is working from home so good, according to stats?
From a worker’s point of view, recent surveys show that working from home can be beneficial from several aspects such as saving money and time on commuting.
On average, remote workers save 19 days of commuting and approximately 5,000 in fuel expenses. Consequently, they reduce their ecological footprint.
Furthermore, they have higher average wages than on-site workers. In addition, the possibility to individually manage their time makes remote workers more satisfied, engaged, and productive. They reported having more time to exercise, sleep, or spend time with their children and their significant other.
How to stay productive working from home? Check the stats below.
A 2019 survey of 505 remote employees reveals their tactics for boosting productivity.
The most efficient ways to stay productive included regular breaks, setting the number of working hours, keeping a to-do list, working from the same location, waking up earlier, listening to music, planning the next workday, using a planner or calendar, exercising, and communicating with colleagues to reduce the feelings of isolation.
How many Americans work from home?
According to US Census data from 2017, around 8 million Americans worked full-time from home that year. This number represents 5.2% of the total number of US workers for 2017.
However, a 2016 Gallup study showed that as much as 43% of the US population worked from home on occasion.
This percentage is significantly higher than that of people who worked from home in 2012 when the Gallup survey estimated that 39% of the population worked remotely to an extent.
These remote work statistics confirm that making the full use of the digital advantages of the modern era is beneficial to both workers and bosses. Gaining a piece of autonomy makes workers happier and more productive, bringing, in turn, hundreds of billions in savings for the national economies worldwide.
As the trend of remote work is gaining traction, one thing is certain — employers have to revise their management tactics and allow more workers to enjoy the benefits and comfort of remote work. Keeping pace with the evolution of the workplace might change the way we perceive work, probably for the better.