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20 Interesting Stats About Remote Work

by: Shiv Sharma
20 Interesting Stats About Remote Work

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has forced even the most traditional organizations to wake up and smell the coffee – remote work is the future of work. 

However, this is not a swift realization. Since the beginning of the millennium, organizations all around the world have been gradually warming up to the idea of remote work. Check out this graph from Google Trends to see how interest in remote work has been increasing with the emergence of cloud technologies. It’s now higher than ever before. 

remote-work-on-the-rise
Remote work is taking over.

When modern-day business leaders speak fondly of remote work, it’s because a lot of research has been done on the subject and it unanimously points towards one direction – remote work is here to stay. Teams that have recently made the transition to remote work are scrambling to establish the best processes and find the best tools to support them along the way.

Here are 20 interesting stats about remote work (to share with your team): 

1. Remote employees say that they are happy at work 29% more than their on-site peers – Owl Labs 

This further proves why the rate of absenteeism and employee turnover among remote workers is much lower.

2. 98% of remote employees would like to continue working remotely (at least for some time) for the rest of their careers – Buffer 

For organizations, this means that hiring for 100% on-site roles will severely restrict the talent pool. Once people get a taste of remote work, they’re unlikely to forego it. 

3. Flexibility (in schedule and location) is the #1 reason why people prefer remote work. Collaboration and communication are the biggest challenges – Buffer

This is the reason for the explosive growth of online collaboration tools. Although such tools have played an important role in accelerating remote work adoption by targeting its biggest challenge, there is still some way to go. 

4. There could be over 1 billion remote workers by 2035 – The Economist

This would have a considerable impact on not just the lives of remote employees, but the society in general. As digital nomads move away from urban centers, there might be a significant reduction in urban decay that’s plaguing most of the world’s metropolises. 

5. Working from home half of the week can reduce greenhouse emissions by 58 million tons every year – Global Workforce Analytics

The environmental benefits of remote work are immense. Less commuting means fewer cars on the road, reduced air-conditioning usage and significantly less fossil fuel consumption. Physical office spaces are the fourth-largest contributor to greenhouse emissions according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  

6. By 2028, 73% of all teams will have remote workers – Upwork

Another interesting insight from the same report is that compared to Baby Boomers, younger generation managers are more likely to believe that the onus of reskilling lies on individuals and not the organization. This means that as remote work increases and a more independent workforce takes the center stage, there will be considerably less handholding from the management. 

7. 14% of remote workers have a disability or chronic illness – Gitlab’s remote work survey

Out of those workers, 83% were able to work because of remote work. This provides organizations a wider pool of talent by leveling the playing field for people with disabilities. 

8. 86% of remote workers work from their home –  Gitlab’s remote work survey

Pictures showing remote work as working on a tropical beach sipping coconuts don’t reflect the reality of a typical remote employee.  Most remote employees work from their home and travel less than 2 weeks per year. 

9. 80% of Americans live in urban areas but only 12% want to live there – Gallup Poll 

While this statistic isn’t directly related to remote workers, it still gives an interesting insight into the living preferences of people. Cities all around the world are getting more expensive with each passing day. When remote work becomes the norm, it won’t be surprising to see a big shift in demographics from traditional urban centers to smaller towns and countryside. 

10. 50% of remote workers state that remote work has reduced their sick days – Indeed

Various studies unanimously state that remote work helps organizations reduce rates of absenteeism. There is less risk of catching an infection in the office. There is also a reduction in stress-related absences due to greater flexibility. 

11. 54% of IT professionals believe that remote employees pose a greater security risk than on-site employees – OpenVPN

Although IT professionals overwhelmingly believe that remote work’s pros outweigh its cons, they still understand the security risks posed by remote employees. When employees are not on-site, the IT team has less control over the organization’s security infrastructure. Banning the use of unsecured wifi connections, implementing 2FA, VPN and security training are some important ways to reduce security risk among remote workers. 

12. By 2028, freelancers and contractual workers will comprise 24% more departmental headcount compared to today – Upwork 

Along with remote work, we’ll see a parallel rise in gig workers. When professionals are not physically confined in one workspace, they’ll have the flexibility to take multiple projects. Similarly, organizations wouldn’t be compelled to hire full-time employees if they can get a similar quality of work from freelancers. 

13. 81% of employees say that the option to work remotely will make them recommend their company to other candidates – Owl Labs

Remote work opportunities are a great way for the company to increase the job satisfaction of their employees and turn them into ambassadors for the organization. However, as remote work gets more widespread, this window of opportunity will get smaller as people will start taking remote opportunities for granted. 

14. 85% of world’s 15000 global businesses have confirmed that location flexibility boosts productivity – IWG Global Workplace Survey

Remote work is experiencing explosive growth because it has helped not just employees but organizations as well. Apart from savings in fixed cost, most organizations that have adopted remote work have seen a spike in their overall productivity. 

15. Finland leads the world in flexible working hours. 92% of Finnish companies allow workers to adapt their hours – BBC

Finland is unlikely to lose this crown as it plans to introduce a new Working Hours Act in 2020. The Act will give the majority of full-time employees the right to decide when and where they work for at least half of their working hours.

16. More than 70% of remote workers pay for internet and coworking space from their own pocket – Buffer

In the years to come, as remote work becomes the new norm, organizations will compete with each other to attract high-quality remote talent. We’ll see more companies offer perks that are specifically designed for remote employees. 

17. There are more than 19K co-working spaces worldwide – Smallbizgenius

The real figure is expected to be much higher as the number of co-working spaces continues to grow exponentially. This is fueled not just by remote workers but also by small companies looking for fixed cost savings. 

18. 25% of US employees would take a pay cut of up to 10% to be able to work remote – Owl Labs/Saastr

According to Frank Weishaupt, the CEO of Owl Labs; benefits that help employees thrive outside of work are much more compelling than office snacks, free beers, etc. 

19. Remote companies have a higher percentage of women founders and CEOs than traditional organizations – Remote.co

According to a study by Remote.co, 28% of remote companies have women founders, CEOs or presidents. In S&P 500 organizations the percentage of women CEOs is only 5.2%. 

20. Loneliness and communication are the biggest challenges for remote workers – Buffer 

According to Buffer’s survey, the top two challenges for remote workers are loneliness (20%) and communication (20%). However as community workspaces grow and more organizations embrace collaboration tools, these numbers are expected to drop in the coming years.

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