Free Resource: 54 Remote Work Statistics For 2020

Are you interested in the state of remote work and telecommuting in 2020? Then look no further.

We’ve curated, vetted, and organised the most up-to-date stats below, going back the last five years and then looking at today’s data. As can be expected, this is a very unique year in terms of remote work. Not only has it seen explosive growth and interest, but it seems like remote and hybrid work is the way of the future.

Where possible, we’ve tried to create a comparison and understanding of why certain things are currently in effect. Obviously, we may see another large change in 2021.

We cover in this order:

  • Top Remote Working Benefits
  • Growth
  • Productivity
  • Demographics
  • Challenges
  • Communication
  • Hiring
  • Environmental Impact

Top Remote Working Benefits

  1. A typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely just half of the time. 
  1. Some remote workers are saving more than $5000 per year, working from home.
    (2019 Cosco Cloud)

    Employees can save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year (working remotely half the time) and even more if they are able to move to a less expensive area and work remotely full time.
    (2020 Global Workplace Analytics)
  1. Employers that allow remote work see a 25% reduction in staff turnover. (2019 Owl Labs)

Remote Work Growth

  1. ‘Remote work’ searches have gone from 7.5k a month in 2015, to 31.6k per month in 2020. (321% growth)
  1. ‘Work from home jobs’ searches has gone from 212k per month in 2015 to 855k a month in 2020. (303% growth)
  1. ‘Remote work from home jobs’ has grown from 218 searches per month in 2016 to 17,000 per month in 2020. (7,697% growth)
  1. In 2014, only 2% of roles posted on We Work Remotely were from fully remote companies with no headquarters. In 2018, 16% of posted roles belonged to fully remote companies.
    (2019 Usefyi)
  1. 29% of all the startups with roles posted on AngelList live in August 2019 were hiring remote roles. 
    (2019 Usefyi)
  1. Total remote workers in 2015 totalled 3.9 Million, rising to 4.7 Million by 2017, or 3.4% of the US working population.
    (2017 Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics
  1. However, during Covid-19 this number shot up to 61% of the US workforce, totalling nearly 100 million people, and accounted for more than 70% of the US economic activity.
    (2020 Gallup)

Early estimates predict that around 25-30% of the current remote adapted workforce will continue to work remotely after the pandemic.
(2020 Global Workplace Analytics)

  1. 90% of people now working remotely want to continue working remotely after the pandemic is over.
    (2020 BBC)
  1. In fact, 41% of them would likely resign from their job, if forced to return against their will.
    (2020 Owl Labs)
  1. 60% of managers with employees working remotely say they will allow their employees to perform remote work more often than they did before COVID-19.
    (2020 Gallup)
  1. ‘Remote first’ and ‘distributed teams’ are seeing a huge push. In a 2018 survey of 3,755 remote workers, 23% of them worked for a fully remote company.
    (2019 and.co)
  1. You can see this growing more now in 2020 with companies like Twitter, Square, Shopify, and Slack going fully remote, while companies like Salesforce are looking at ways to offer new support and incentives to their remote employees and attract new hires.
    (2020 Business Insider)

Productivity

  1. In a survey of 15,000 employees, 85% of them have seen higher productivity when offered flexible hours, and 90% of them stated that when choosing between two jobs, they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible hours.
    (2019 International Workplace Group)
  1. 98% of people want to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.

    97% of them would recommend working remotely to a friend. The top three reasons being freedom and flexibility, more productivity, and no commuting.
    (2020 Statista)
  1. Of the 3% who wouldn’t recommend it, 53% of them work in a combination of remote and permanent office teams. This can sometimes cause poor communication and collaboration when not handled well, and may be the reason why they said they wouldn’t recommend it.
    (2019 Buffer)
  1. 72% of companies found their employees were more productive when working remotely.

    22% found them to be equally as productive, and only 3% saw a dip when workers went remote.
    (2018 Indeed)
  1. 76% of people prefer to avoid their office completely when they need to concentrate on a project.
    (2019 Atlassian)
  1. Those with highly complex jobs that require little interaction with stakeholders are more productive when remote than in an office.
    (2019 Springer)
  1. 50% of remote workers found they took fewer sick days when they could work from home, and 75% of them have seen an improvement in work/life balance.
    (2018 Indeed)
  1. 57% of employers saw a boost in employee morale, while 50% saw a drop in operational costs.
    (2018 Indeed
  1. In a study of remote and non-remote workers, it was found that remote workers usually worked more than 40 hours per week. In fact, there was an almost 43% difference in employees who worked remotely, compared to their onsite team.
  1. Ironically it seems to be because they actually enjoy their work more when working from home.
    (2019 Owl Labs)
  1. 43% of remote employees take three weeks or less of paid vacation per year because most of them can work while travelling.
    (2019 Buffer)

Demographics

  1. Departments with the greatest remote work participation include facilities/operations/IT (18%), customer support/service/success (14%), and sales (13%), and administrative (11%).
    (2019 Owl Labs)
  1. Remote workers are 13% more likely than on-site workers to say that they will stay in their current job for the next 5 years. 
    (2018 Indeed)
  1. Of the 52% of employees who wish their current employers allowed remote work, 37% have considered looking for a job that does, and 14% are actively looking. 
    (2018 Indeed)
  1. 80% of remote workers surveyed work from home, while 7% work from co-working spaces.
    (2019 Buffer)
  1. 45% of current ‘remote adapted’ workers would be willing to take a pay cut, it meant they could continue working from home.
    (2020 Owl Labs)

Challenges

  1. 27% of remote workers states that communication is their biggest challenge, followed by social opportunities at 16% and loneliness at 13%.
    (2019 Usefyi)
  1. 23% of workers fear that being remote may impact their chances at career progression, while 68% said they were not worried.
    (2019 Owl Labs)
  1. The biggest challenges for remote workers during hybrid meetings are interruptions/being talked over (67%) and IT issues during meetings (59%).
    (2019 Owl Labs)
  1. 38% of remote workers received no training on how to work remotely, while 62% of remote workers received some training on how to work remotely.
    (2019 Owl Labs)
  1. In a survey of managers who had or hadn’t received training on how to run a remote team:

Non ‘remote trained’ were most concerned about reduced employee productivity (82%), reduced employee focus (82%), lower employee engagement and satisfaction (81%), and whether their remote employees are getting their work done (80%).

The data however suggests that employees are actually more productive and more engaged.

Whereas the managers with ‘remote training’ had far different concerns.

They were concerned with employee loneliness (59%), the career implications of employees working remotely (65%), employees overworking (67%), and difficulty managing them (68%).
(2019 Owl Labs)

  1. Remote work is not for everyone though.

Almost 30% of remote workers during the lockdown believed they got more work done at home, but 30% also said their productivity had fallen.
(2020 BBC)

  1. Despite receiving confidential business data to their remote location regularly, less than half of remote employees say they receive proper internet security training.
    (2020 Getapp)
  1. According to Gallup we need to adjust how we interact with remote staff and award recognition. Managers should be communicating and giving feedback to engage remote workers a few times per week.

Not only that, but you should make sure you align the same company culture as before.
(2020 Gallup)

  1. Not all remote workers have a dedicated space to work from.

31% work from a home office, 27% from their living room and 16% from their bedroom.
(2019 TalentLms)

  1. 74% believe their company should pay for, or provide, office technology equipment (including laptops, printers, and extra screens) when they work from home.

50% believe their company should provide office furniture (including desks and ergonomic chairs)

50% of employees believe their companies should contribute to WiFi and phone bills, and 48% to electricity bills when working from home, something not regularly supported by companies.
(2020 Owl Labs)

  1. When working from home, 61% of employees would be concerned if their company brought in remote activity and productivity monitoring, with over a third (36%) saying they’d be likely to resign if so.
    (2020 Owl Labs)

Communication

In 2015, email was the primary method of communication for remote workers, followed by instant messaging, and video chat.
(2015 Cosco Cloud)

  1. This however has changed significantly with 91% of remote workers having had at least one video call in the last 7 days, while 73% had at least 4 meetings in the past week.
    (2019 Miro)
  1. Some are using video even more, with 22% of remote workers spending more than an hour per day in meetings and 14% of them are dedicating time to more than 10 meetings per week.

The reason for this is clear.

Open communication is critical for productive remote work, especially on hybrid teams, and so more and more are spending time on video calls with co-workers.
(2019 Owl Labs)

  1. Enterprise spending on collaboration and communication software has risen to $47 Billion dollars, with 67% of enterprise companies focusing their spend on video communication software.
    (2019 Statista)

Hiring

  1. 72% of talent professionals agree that work flexibility (which includes remote work options) will be very important for the future of HR and recruiting.
    (2019 Linkedin)
  1. 69% of millennials will trade other benefits for flexible work options including remote work.
    (2019 International Workplace Group)
  1. 53% of developers said working remotely was a priority when looking for a new job, and the highest job satisfaction was reported by developers who were entirely or almost entirely remote.
    (2017 Stack Overflow)

Environmental Impact

  1. The total annual environmental impact for the 3.9 million remote workers in the US who work from home at least half-time is: 
  • Car miles not traveled: 7.8 billion miles; 
  • Car trips avoided: 530 million trips; 
  • Tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) avoided (EPA method): 3 million tons; 
  • Reduced traffic accident costs: $498 million costs; 
  • Oil savings ($50/barrel): $980 million savings; 
  • Total air quality savings (lbs. per year): 83 million savings 
    (2019 Flexjobs)
  1. Utah’s remote work pilot program with 136 employees who worked from home at least 3 days a week saved 273 pounds of vehicle emissions.
    (2019 Deseret News)
  1. When Sun Microsystems allowed 24,000 employees to work from home, the change meant that 32,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide were not released into the air.
    (2020 Gallup)
  2. Xerox also calculated that it saved 92 million miles of driving by allowing its remote workers to avoid commuting, thereby reducing carbon emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons.
    (2020 Gallup)

Final Thoughts

As you can see, 2020 has been a record year for remote work growth. By all indications, remote work and hybrid teams seem to be the future of the office space. Core teams conferencing onsite with satellite employees.

The benefits seem to be stacking up, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how all of this affects the state of work going forward.

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