Remote work has been on the rise for the past few years but in 2020, with the sudden outbreak of a global pandemic, even the companies who didn’t believe in the power of telecommuting had no choice but to join the trend.
And for many, having to adjust to a completely new reality in a short period of time ended up being the silver lining during incredibly difficult times.
Remote work wasn’t so scary, after all.
Whether you’re an employer thinking about maintaining work-from-home policies even after the health crisis is over, or an employee starting to look for remote opportunities in their industry, there’s a lot you can learn about the universe of remote work.
Keep reading and discover 25 key remote work statistics for 2021!
Key Remote Work Statistics in 2021
- 16% of companies in the world are 100% remote.
- 44% of companies don’t allow remote work.
- Better work-life balance is the main reason why people choose to work remotely.
- 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home.
- The average annual income of remote workers is $4,000 higher than that of other workers.
- 85% of managers believe that having teams with remote workers will become the new norm.
- 74% of workers say that having the option to work remotely would make them less likely to leave a company.
- The three biggest challenges associated with remote work are unplugging after work (22%), loneliness (19%), and communication / collaboration (17%).
General Remote Work Statistics
1. 16% of companies globally are fully-remote
Although it is still a low number, the fact that nowadays there are companies that have no office or headquarters whatsoever and that operate 100% remotely shows just how much remote work has grown and evolved. If you ask us, we’d say this number will go nowhere but up over the next few years!
2. Around 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally
Nowadays, many companies choose to be hybrids, meaning that while they do have an office where employees can go to work, there’s also the option for them to work from home at least occasionally.
3. Since 2009, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159%
(Global Workplace Analytics)
There are many reasons why remote work has been and continues to be on the rise, but two of the main ones are the fast advancements in technology that allow people to do their work from anywhere in the world and, as we’ll soon see, the increasing number of people who value flexibility and a good work-life balance when looking for new job opportunities.
58.6% of the total U.S. workforce are remote workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (NorthOne)
4. The industries with the highest number of remote workers are healthcare (15%), technology (10%), and financial services (9%)
Remote work is typically associated with technology and digital marketing roles, such as web development, web design, and content creation. However, healthcare is actually the industry with the most remote employees. It just comes to show that, no matter which area you work in, it’s worth always looking for remote opportunities.
5. Remote work is more common in cities with high-income levels
This might be explained by the fact that those who live in cities with higher Income Trend Scores can more easily afford the hardware (and, in some cases, software) necessary to transition into remote work. Additionally, a lot of these people most likely have desk jobs, which are easier to turn into remote positions.
6. 44% of companies in the world don’t allow remote work
Despite the undeniable rise of remote work, there’s still space to work, as almost half of all the companies don’t allow their employees to work remotely at all. Given the circumstances that most companies experienced in 2020, chances are that this number will start decreasing.
7. By 2028, 73% of all departments are expected to have remote workers
In eight years, it’s predicted that 73% of all teams will include remote employees. Not only does this confirm what we already know about the evolution of remote work, but it also shows that telecommuting will become acceptable in an even wider range of industries.
8. 99% of people would choose to work remotely for the rest of their life, even if it was just part-time
This is probably one of the most powerful remote work statistics of today. Employees want more freedom and flexibility, and if they could, nearly all of them would like to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their life. The surge of remote work is clearly more than just a fad!
Benefits of Remote Work
9. 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when they’re working from home
When you telecommute, you don’t have a boss or team leader supervising what you’re doing, and for that reason, many think that remote work equals low productivity. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, as 77% of people actually get more done when they work from home.
10. 75% of people work remotely because there are fewer distractions
This remote work statistic is closely related to the previous one. Loud colleagues constitute the biggest distracting factor in an office and, when you work from home, you obviously don’t have to deal with that. Ultimately, that contributes to the higher productivity levels we talked about before.
11. Better work-life balance is the main reason why people choose to work remotely
Working remotely means that not only do you have better control over your daily schedule but also that you don’t have to spend hours of your day stuck in traffic or in an overcrowded train. For this reason, remote workers have more time to spend with their loved ones, on their hobbies, or simply relaxing, which is seen as the biggest perk of telecommuting.
12. 69% of millennials would give up on certain work benefits for a more flexible working space
When we said that today’s professionals value freedom and flexibility, we weren’t joking. More than half of millennials would be willing to give up on other benefits if it meant that they could work from home and have the work-life balance that we mentioned in the previous statistic.
13. Telecommuting reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an amount of 600,000 cars
(State of Telecommuting)
Remote work isn’t just good for the employers and the employees: it’s actually a great way to help our planet. The reason is simple: since people work from home, they don’t have to commute every single day, which means that fewer cars are used and pollution levels go down significantly.
Earnings for Remote Work
14. The average annual income of remote workers is $4,000 higher than that of other workers
As if the benefits in terms of productivity and work-life balance weren’t enough, remote workers can end up making more money than traditional workers. It’s important to mention that many remote workers do have roles that are high on the company hierarchy, which probably contributes to this statistic. Nevertheless, there is great financial potential in getting a remote job.
15. Remote workers save around $7,000 per year in transportation, food, and childcare
Besides making more, remote workers are able to save more as well, since they don’t have to pay for gas or public transportation cards, they can simply cook at home instead of eating out for lunch every day, and they can take care of their kids once they get back from school.
16. Companies that allow remote work see an average increase of $2,000 in profit per remote worker
The financial benefits of remote work aren’t only for the employees — the employers can actually save significant amounts of money as well. After all, the fewer in-office employees a company has, the less they have to pay in terms of rent, bills, supplies, travel reimbursements, repair and maintenance costs, and more.
Recruiting and Retention Statistics
17. Small companies are 2x more likely to hire full-time remote workers
It’s clear by now that adopting a work-from-home policy can help companies save large amounts of money and that explains why small businesses are more open to hiring full-time remote workers. Doing so will allow them to increase the budget for other operations, such as marketing and advertising, that will help them not only survive, but also grow into a larger corporation.
18. 85% of managers believe that having remote workers will become the new normal for many teams
Although a few managers might still have some doubts about remote work and its benefits, most (6 in 7, to be specific) believe that hybrid teams of remote and in-office employees will be the norm in the future.
19. 64% of recruiters say that being able to pitch a work-from-home policy helps them find high-quality talent
Considering that many potential candidates will be looking for companies that allow for some freedom and flexibility, it comes as no surprise that more than half of recruiters have an easier time finding top talent when they can promote it as a partially or fully remote position.
20. 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company
Managing a remote team might seem challenging because the coworkers don’t see each other on a regular basis and creating a strong company culture becomes harder, which could make it easier for people to resign. However, statistics show that this isn’t the reality, as 74% of people would be less likely to leave a company if they could work remotely.
21. In 2017, there was a 50% decrease in resignations in companies that allowed remote work
If the previous statistic was hard to believe, knowing that companies have actually experienced it first-hand might make it sound a bit more convincing. According to research conducted by Stanford, the number of resignations in companies was cut in half once they started allowing employees to work remotely.
Remote Work Challenges
22. The three biggest challenges associated with remote work are unplugging after work (22%), loneliness (19%) and communication (17%)
Working remotely isn’t all roses and for many people, the biggest challenge is being able to unplug from work once their working hours are over. Apart from that, the loneliness and the hindered communication and collaboration that come with not working alongside fellow coworkers are two other problems many remote workers struggle with.
23. Only 70% of remote workers gets regular training from their company
In fact, 87% of remote workers gets regular training, with 70% receiving it directly from their company. And, as for those who do want additional training but their company doesn’t provide it, they choose and pay for online courses they find on the web.
24. 54% of IT professionals consider remote workers to pose a greater security risk than traditional workers
Remote workers depend on technology and the internet to be able to do their job and the truth is that they’re always at risk of being cyber-attacked. That’s why it is so important for remote team managers to provide training on cyber-security and to make sure that the remote employees have the software necessary to protect their laptop.
Graph created based on data gathered by OpenVPN (updated for 2021)
25. Only 23% of remote workers state that their employer covers the cost of a coworking space membership
Although remote workers can work from home or from a coffee shop, sometimes going to a coworking space is necessary, if, for example, they ever need to meet up with coworkers or clients, or they simply want to fight the loneliness that many telecommuters struggle with. However, a mere 23% of companies cover the monthly costs of a coworking membership.
26. Remote employees are 16% less likely to agree that their manager involves them in the goal-setting process
Knowing that communication is one of the biggest challenges remote workers face, it might not come as a surprise that many feel like their manager doesn’t involve them when setting goals at work, which, of course, doesn’t make them feel as engaged as it would be desired.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Getting Into Remote Work
So there you have it, the most important remote work statistics for 2021 and beyond.
As technology advances at a faster pace than ever and an increasing number of employers and employees open their eyes to the countless benefits that telecommuting can bring to both parties, it becomes undeniable that remote work is here to stay. And these remote work statistics are proof!
No matter where you live, which skills you have, or which level of seniority you’re striving for, we know you won’t have a hard time finding high-quality remote work opportunities to apply for. Happy job hunting!
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