Going to the office is fast becoming a thing of the past for a large percentage of the world’s population. Interestingly, the available data indicates working remotely or outside the office, is becoming the norm in many professions.
A combination of new technology, changing attitudes about work, and labor shortages in some fields are making remote work more accessible than ever before. Both employers and employees are embracing remote work because of its benefits.
Lower costs, increased efficiency, higher productivity, greater employee satisfaction, higher morale, and reduced stress are just a few of the benefits from remote work. Given those benefits, employers of all shapes and sizes are embracing remote work.
78 Surprising Trends & Statistics in Remote Work
Here are 78 statistics and commentaries that show the popularity of remote work and offer a glimpse of the growing popularity of remote work.
1. Remote Work is the New Normal
Working remotely is the new normal for many professionals. For instance, 70% of professionals surveyed by office-service provider IWG in 2018 say they work remotely, CNBC reports. Moreover, 53% of the professionals IWG surveyed claim they work remotely at least once a week.
2. 43% of Americans Have Worked Remotely
The number of people working remotely is rising. Four out of 10 American employees were working remotely in 2016. A Gallup poll found 43% of American employees said they worked remotely, CNBC reports. Additionally, the number of Americans working remotely rose from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016.
3. Remote Working is the Fastest Growing Workforce
Remote work is one of the fastest-growing areas of the workforce. The number of remote workers in America grew by 140% between 2005 and July 2018, Global Workforce Analytics estimates. Moreover, the number of remote workers grew 10 times faster than traditional employees and self-employed.
4. 40% of Employers Offer Remote Working
Employers are more receptive to work from home and telecommuting than ever before. Global Workforce Analytics estimates 40% of American employers offered some remote work opportunities in 2018.
5. 93% of Employees Not Offered Remote Work
Finding remote work is still a challenge for many employees. Global Workforce Analytics estimates remote work is not an option for 93% of American employees. Only 7% of the employees surveyed were offered remote work opportunities.
6. 50% of USA Workers Could Work From Home
Many more people could work remotely if employers gave them a chance. Global Workforce Analytics estimates 50% of American employees hold jobs that they could perform remotely.
7. 25% of People Occasionally Work From Home
One in four Americans occasionally works remotely. Global Workforce Analytics estimates 20% to 25% of the US workforce telecommutes on a regular basis.
8. 90% Say They Would Like to Telecommute
Most Americans will do remote work if offered the chance. Global Workforce Analytics found 80% to 90% of Americans say they would like to telecommute. Specifically, the average American wants to spend two to three days a week working from home.
9. Office Desks Only Occupied 50% of the Time
Many more people could be working remotely than the data indicates. Global Workforce Analytics estimates that most Fortune 1000 company employees are only at their desks 40% to 50% of their time. In fact, most employees are gone from their desks at least half the time.
10. Remote Workers Earn More
Remote workers earn quite a bit more than average Americans. Global Workforce Analytics estimates 75% of remote American workers earn over $65,000 a year. In contrast, the median yearly salary for the average American was $47,060 a year in the 1st Quarter of 2019, The Balance estimates.
11. Professional Remote Workers Earn Less
However, remote-working professionals could earn slightly less than those who stay in the office. The Balance calculates the average American professional earns $66,820 a year. On the other hand, most remote working professionals earn just $1,820 less than the average American professionals.
12. 60% of Remote Workers Want More Time at Home
Significantly, most remote workers want to increase the amount of remote work they do. Buffer’s The State of Remote Work 2018 study found 60% of remote workers want to increase the amount of remote work they perform. Moreover, only 34% of remote workers were satisfied with the amount of work they perform.
13. 94% of Remote Workers Recommend It to Others
Most remote workers are satisfied with their jobs and situations. The State of Remote Work 2018 found 90% of remote workers want to keep working remotely for the rest of their careers. Additionally, 94% of remote workers surveyed said they recommend remote work for others.
14. 66% of Remote Workers are Full-Time
Nearly two-thirds of remote workers work remotely full time. 70% of those surveyed for The State of Remote Work 2018 Report were full-time remote workers. Interestingly, only 30% of remote workers, less than one-third, spent some time in the office.
15. 43% Say flexibility is the Biggest Benefit
A flexible schedule is the most valued benefit of remote work. 43% of remote workers told Buffer they consider flexible schedule the biggest benefit. Also were popular were spending time with the family (15%), the opportunity to travel (12%), and the work environment (11%).
16. Only 4% People Say Avoiding Office Politics is a Benefit
Remote workers do not hate the office and coworkers as much as commonly believed. Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2018 survey found only 4% of respondents cited avoiding office politics as a reason for telecommuting.
17. 21% of Remote Workers Experience Loneliness
Conversely, most remote workers miss their interactions with coworkers. Notably, 21% of The State of Remote Work 2018 respondents cited loneliness as their “biggest struggle.” Additionally, another 21% of respondents admitted that not being able to collaborate or cooperate with other workers was a “big struggle.”
18. 86% of Home Office Workers are Motivated
Motivation is not a problem for 86% of remote workers. The State of Remote Work 2018 states only 14% of remote workers admit having problems staying motivated. Consequently, most remote workers can easily motivate themselves at home.
19. 78% of Remote Workers Work From Home
Not surprisingly, home is still the most popular office for the world’s remote workers. 78% of The State of Remote Work 2018 respondents listed home as their primary work environment. Other popular workplaces include the office 9% of remote workers still perform most of their labors at the office.
20. Only 5% of Remote Workers Work from a Cafe
The popular stereotype of the remote worker sitting in a coffee shop sipping a late at her laptop is a myth. Only 5% of remote workers told The State of Remote Work 2018 pollsters they work in cafes.
21. Only 7% of Remote Workers Use Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are not very popular among remote workers. Just 7% of the telecommuters surveyed for The State of Remote 2018 said they used coworking spaces.
22. 80% Work While They Travel
Over 8 in 10 remote workers work while they travel. 81% of the people surveyed for The State of Remote Work 2018 said they worked while they traveled. However, less than 50% of the telecommuters surveyed say they spent more than 4% of their time traveling. Consequently, most remote workers rarely leave home.
23. Only 28% of Remote Workers are Freelancers
Most remote workers are not freelancers. Instead, The State of Remote Work 2018 found 58% of remote workers were employees of one company. In fact, only 28% of the remote workers surveyed were freelancers. However, 45% of those with regular jobs admitted to freelancing on the side.
24. 63% of Employers Offer Working from Home
Employers are becoming more receptive to remote work. Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce report claims 63% of American employers offer some sort of remote work option.
25. 82% of PwC Employees Work From Home
Some companies are more receptive than others. For example, Dorothy Hisgrove, the Chief People Officer at PwC Australia, claims 82% of her employees occasionally work remotely, The Harvard Business Review reports.
26. 32% of People Quit Because of No Remote Working
More people are quitting their jobs because of their inability to work remotely. Flexjobs estimates that 32% of professionals, nearly one third, admit they quit a position because of a “lack of flexibility” in 2017.
Interestingly, the number of people who quit jobs because of a lack of flexibility is growing. Only 13% of respondents admitted to quitting jobs because of a lack of flexibility in 2013. Thus, the number of people switching jobs for more flexibility grew by 17% in just four years.
27. More Women Prefer Remote Working
Women are far more receptive to remote work than men. Flexjobs claims that companies with female CEOs were four times more likely to offer remote work opportunities than those with men at the helm.
28. 60% of Telecommuters Work a Fixed Scheduled
Most remote workers work fixed hours. A Talent LMS survey finds that 60% of telecommuters work a fixed schedule. Thus, many remote employers still follow a standard nine to five shift.
29. 67% of Remote Workers Want More Training
Remote workers do not think they are getting enough training. 67% of remote workers told Talent LMS they would like to get more training.
30. 70% of Remote Workers Get Training
However, most companies do offer training for remote workers. Talent LMS reports 70% of remote workers receive direct training from their employers.
31. 50% of Telecommuters Take Online Courses
Telecommuters do want to learn, however. 50% of remote workers take online courses, 22% use their phones to learn, and 13% attend webinars, TalentLMS estimates.
32. 31% of Remote Workers Have a Home Office
Less than one-third of remote workers have a home office. Just 31% of telecommuters say they own a home office According to Talent LMS.
33. 16% of People Work From the Bedroom
The living room is the second most popular space for working from home. 27% of remote workers say they work from the living room. Other popular locations include the bedroom (16%), the dining room (13%), and the kitchen (10%).
34. 25% of Staff Work With The TV On
Oddly, 25% of remote workers, or one fourth, admit they work with the television on. Conversely, another 21% of telecommuters say they prefer to work in complete silence.
35. Remote Worker Onboarding is Important
Not welcoming new remote employees into an organization could be a big mistake. Only 20% of those who were not welcomed by supervisors told TalentLMS they were satisfied with their positions. However, 41% of those welcomed onboard claimed to be satisfied.
36. 52% User Communications Apps
Just over half, or 52%, of remote workers, say they use communication apps frequently in their work.
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37. Skype & Zooms Are The Most Used Communication Tools
Skype is the most popular communication app used by 27% of TalentLMS respondents.
38. Top 10 Remote Working Roles
The ten most popular work from home positions in America are accountant, engineer, instructor, writer, consultant, program manager, project manager, customer service representative, business development manager, and account executive, Flexjobs claims.
39. A Job By any Other Name
There is no set title or name for remote positions. Popular descriptions of the role include; “”remote job”, “”telecommuting job,”” and “”virtual job.”” Flexjobs
40. The Best WFH Companies
The top work from home company in the United States is the machine-learning firm Appen, Forbes contributor Alexandra Talty reports. Appen provides high-quality training for machine learning, including language services.
Other top work from home companies in the United States include; Lionbridge, VIPKID, Liveops, Working Solutions, Amazon, TTEC (Teletech), Kelly Services, Concentrix, and UnitedHealthGroup, Talty reveals.
Well-known companies that offer work from home opportunities include Intuit, Williams-Sonoma, Aetna (now part of CVS Health), Dell, Robert Half International, Hilton, Anthem Inc., SAP, Amgen, ADP, Human, Red Hat, Wells Fargo, Gartner, VMWare, Salesforce, JPMorgan Chase, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Kaplan, Cisco Systems, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Xerox, The Hartford, Phillips, GitHub (now part of Microsoft), General Dynamics, Lenovo, American Express, Johnson & Johnson, and Rackspace.
41. Only a Few Government Agencies Offer Remote Work
A few government agencies are providing work from home opportunities. The US Department of Commerce, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Washington are on Talty’s list of top 100 remote working organizations.
42. 69% of Millennial Managers Allow Remote Working
Younger managers are more receptive to remote workers. Specifically, 69% of Millennial Managers (those under 38) and 59% of Generation X managers (those under 52) allow remote work on their teams, Yahoo Finance estimates.
However, the vast majority of managers will accept and support employers who work remotely. Yahoo Finance reports 58% of Baby Boomer (those over 53) managers allow team members to work remotely.
43. By 2028 73% of Firms Will Allow Remote Work
Working remotely will become the norm within a decade. Gallup predicts 73% of employers, two-thirds, will have some remote employees by 2028.
44. 90% of People Believe Remote Work Improves Morale
The vast majority of people want more remote work and telecommuting opportunities. The Staples Workforce Survey found 90% of employees believe more flexible work arrangements and schedules increase worker morale.
45. 67% Would Quit If Work Arrangements Were Less Flexible
Many employees now value the opportunity to work flexibly more than their jobs. In fact, 67% of employees told Staples they would consider leaving their job if work arrangements become less flexible.
46. Office Workers Only Work 32% of the Time
Interestingly, most employees could spend over two-thirds of their time away from the office. Workers told Staples they only spend 32% of their time working at the office. Thus, the average worker could reduce her workload by two-thirds and still get just as done. Consequently, the office may not be needed for productivity.
47. Only 27% of Millennials Spend 100% of Time in the Office
Younger people are even less likely to spend time at the office. Staples calculates only 27% of American Millennials (those under 38) spend all their work time in a traditional office.
48. 62% Lack the Ability to Work Remotely
Incredibly, 62% of Americans could still lack the ability to work remotely. In November 2017, Staples estimated that only 38% of American employees had the ability to work remotely.
49. 6 Million Americans Work from Coworking Spaces
More Americans than ever are seeking alternatives to traditional workspaces. For instance, Staples estimates 6 million American office workers were using coworking spaces in 2017.
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50. One Office Interruption Costs 23 Minute of Productivity
Interruptions at work are far more costly than you might think. It takes the average officer worker 23 minutes to recover from a minor interruption, The Motley Fool claims.
51. Distractions Cost 2 Hours Per Day
Being alone and away from the office could make you far more productive. For instance, The Motley Fool claims employers estimate the average employee loses one to two hours of productivity each day because of coworker distractions. Therefore, allowing working from home and working remotely could make companies more productive.
52. 35% of Time Is Spent in Meetings
Meetings are one of the greatest threats to worker productivity. Specifically, middle managers spent 35% of their time at work in meetings. In addition, the average upper management executive spends 50% of her time in meetings, The Muse claims. Consequently, being away from the office during meetings is one of the biggest benefits of remote work.
53. Only 50% of Employees Know Their Goals
Communication between management and employees is the hardest challenge facing remote and in-the-office workers. Gallup estimates that only 50% of employees know what their managers expect of them. Consequently, many remote workers do not understand what their role in the organization is. Additionally, telecommuters can have a hard time expanding their roles and meeting unfilled needs in the organization.
54. Managers Need Frequent One on One Meeting With Staff
Managers need to have frequent conversations, will all workers, including remote employees, for an organization to succeed. Gallup notes: “A flexible culture requires frequent manager conversations about an employee’s short-term and long-term goals.”
55. Gig Workers are the Faster Growing Area of Remote Work
Short-term freelance positions, or gigs, are one of the fastest-growing areas of remote work. Pew Research estimates 24% of Americans made money from the platform economy in 2018.
56. 8% of Americans Earned Money With Online Platforms
Platforms such as Upwork; and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, are becoming one of the most popular ways to find remote work. Pew Research estimates 8% of American adults earned money by doing a job or task they found on an online platform in 2018.
57. Uber & Lyft Are The Least Popular Remote Jobs
Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are still among the least popular of remote jobs. Pew Research estimates only 2% of Americans drove for ride-hailing apps in 2018.
58. 16% Aged 18 to 29 Use Digital Platforms to Work
Younger people are more likely to use digital platforms to seek work. Pew estimates that 16% of Americans aged 18 to 29 were using digital platforms to seek work or gigs in 2018.
59. 22% Making over $30,000 Per Year Seek Work On Digital Platforms
Higher-income and middle-class people are more likely to seek remote work through platforms. Pew calculates 22% of Americans making over $30,000 a year are more likely to seek work through digital platforms.
60. 56% of Gig Workers Admit Gig Work is Essential Earnings
The gig economy is now vital to many Americans” financial survival. Pew Research finds that 56% of gig economy workers admit gig work is essential, or important, to their financial survival. Moreover, 49% of gig workers admit digital tasks are essential, or important, to their financial survival.
61. 68% of Gig Workers Have Regular Jobs
More full-time workers are doing remote side hustles than is commonly believed. Pew found that 44% of gig economy workers admit they are employed full time. In addition, 34% of gig economy workers are part-time employees.
In fact, over two-thirds of gig economy workers have a regular job. Pew found only 32% of gig workers said they were not employed.
62. 68% of Gig Workers Call Themselves “Independent Contractors.”
Interestingly, over one-fourth of Americans now view online platforms like Uber and Upwork as their “boss.” In particular, 26% of gig workers tell Pew they consider themselves to be “employees” of gig platforms. However, 68% of gig workers call themselves “independent contractors.” Therefore, many people are confused about their employment status.
63. 86.5 Million People Could Be Freelancing by 2028
Over half the population could be working remotely by 2028. Statista predicts that 50.9% of the US workforce, or 86.5 million people, could be freelancing in 2028. Thus, over half the population will do gig work in less than ten years.
64. There are 56.7 Million Freelancers in the United States
There are now 56.7 million freelancers in the United States Quartz reports. Moreover, the number of freelancers in America grew by 3.7 million between 2013 and 2018, the Freelancers Union and Upwork estimate.
65. 70% of Freelancers Train Online
Freelancers could be better trained than the rest of the workforce; 70% of full-time freelancers participated in online skills training. However, only 49% of full-time employees engage in such training. Thus, freelancers have a serious advantage over those in the office.
66. Freelancers Better Trained Than Full-time Workers
Interestingly, freelancers have a more positive view of learning than full-time workers. In fact, 93% of freelancers tell Upwork they value skills-training and on-the-job education over a college degree. Thus, freelancers could be more willing to learn and easier to train than full-time workers. That could give freelancers an edge over regular employees in finding work in new or growing fields.
67. American Freelancers Are Far Harder Workers
American freelancers are far harder workers than most people give them credit for. In fact, Upwork estimates American freelancers worked 1.07 billion hours a week in 2018, up from 998 million hours a week in 2016.
68. 61% of Freelancers Freelance By Choice
More and more remote workers are choosing to go freelance. 61% of freelancers told Upwork they were freelancing by choice in 2018. That number grew from 53% in 2014.
69. 42% of Freelancers Say They Value Flexibility
Like remote workers, freelancers say flexibility is one of their favorite perks. In fact, 42% of freelancers tell Upwork that freelancing “gives them more flexibility than a traditional employer.” Consequently, traditional employers will need to offer more flexibility to lure freelancers back into the fold.
70. 64% of Freelancers Find Work Online
The amount of work available to freelancers is increasing. Notably, 64% of freelancers told Upwork they found work online in 2018. However, only 42% of freelancers found work online in 2014.
Consequently, employers will need to make greater efforts to satisfy remote workers to keep them on board. Since remote work is getting easier to find, more and more workers could make the transition to freelancing.
Conversely, some employers will use the fear of workers going freelance as an excuse to curtail remote working. Some employers could limit remote work by highly skilled or productive employees, for instance.
71. American Business Is Reliant on Freelancers
American business is becoming more reliant on freelancers. In fact, US freelancers put in 1.07 billion hours of work a week in 2018; in contrast to 998 million hours of work a week in 2014, Upwork calculates.
72. 51% of Freelancers Say They Will Never Go Back To Regular Jobs
Getting freelancers to go full time is getting harder. Upwork finds 51% of freelancers admit “no amount of money” will get them to return to a traditional nine-to-five job.
73. 77% of Freelancers Say They Have a Better Work/Life Balance
Freelancing provides a high level of job satisfaction. For instance, 77% of freelancers tell Upwork they have a “better work/life balance” than those working in the office.
74. 84% of Freelancers Rate Lifestyle Higher Than Income
Lifestyle matters most to freelancers. Notably, 84% of full-time freelancers gave lifestyle a higher priority than income, Upwork claims. However, only 64% of traditional workers prioritize lifestyle.
75. 63% of Freelancers Feel Anxious
Freelancers are likely to worry about their future. Particularly, 63% of freelancers tell Upwork they feel anxious about all the time and tasks they have to manage.
76. 53% of Freelancers are Politically Active
Freelancers are more likely to be engaged in their community and country than full-time workers. Notably, Upwork found 53% of freelancers described themselves as “politically active, “compared to 34% of traditional employees.
77. 77% of Freelancers Are Optimistic About Gig Work
Most freelancers are becoming more optimistic about the future of independent contracting. To elaborate, 77% of freelancers were optimistic about the future of gig work in 2014. That number jumped to 87% in 2018.
Therefore, it will be harder than ever for employers to get freelancers to sign on as full-time workers at some point in the future. A likely outcome is that many employers will simply stop offering full-time work to contractors.
78. 57% of CEOs Say Remote Work Helps Reduce Attrition
57% of CEOs report that digital technologies are helping to reduce attrition rates and improve employee retention.
78 Remote Work Statistics & Trends Summary
These statistics provide an interesting glimpse of the future of work and business everybody needs to consider. In fact, we can make a few generalizations about the workplace of the future with the data presented.
First, the workplace of the future is not likely to be an office or physical building. Instead, many more people will work remotely, or digitally, and never see their coworkers or employers.
Second, under those circumstances, more and more organizations will forgo the expense of building brick and mortar offices and have everybody working remotely. Third, some employers will require remote work because it is cheaper and more productive.
Fourth, the distinctions between freelancers and full-time employers will disappear. Some organizations could offer freelancers the same benefits as full-time employees to retain their services. For instance, they are offering freelancers health insurance or paid vacations. In addition, many organizations will offer all workers the possibility to go freelance.
The main lesson we can learn from the data is that everybody needs to learn to work remotely. The statistics show that remote work is the future of employment, so everybody needs to get used to it.
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