Remote work is trending, at least in part thanks to the pandemic, and they say that the number of remote workers can only increase from here on in but what do the numbers say?
Are remote workers happier than in-office workers?
Is it better to work from a casual coworking space?
Can you reduce greenhouse gas emissions by staying at home?
Should we all demand a flexible working space?
And will it lead to fewer cars and better mental and physical health?
We went to discover what the research said and this is what we found.
Remote Work Statistics: Remote Working In 2022
As we enter 2022, around 44% of employees are working at home for 5 days a week.
And, at least, 1 in 4 American workers are expected to be able to work from home throughout the year!
One of our favorite key remote work statistics is that there are 140% more people working remotely in 2022 than there were back in 2005!
And nearly 1 in 5 companies (16%) in 2022 will only hire remote workers!
Working From Home Is Good For The Environment
This is an indisputable benefit of remote work. Remote workers don't need to commute and that means they're reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (and yes, it leads to a lower number of cars on the road too).
In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 28.2% of all such emissions come from transportation.
If just 3.9 million more people worked from home, they would deliver the same benefits to the atmosphere as 91 million trees could!
Remote workers also take up much less office space than in office employees and their home office equipment tends to draw less energy than industrial equipment, as up to 40% of all CO2 emissions come from buildings, this could be a huge benefit to the planet.
Benefits Of Working From Home For Employers And Employees: A Better Work-Life Balance
A study by Global Workplace Analytics showed that an employer can save an incredible $11,000 per year by switching to remote work.
When people work remotely according to Global Workplace Analytics they use less office space, remote worker productivity is higher than that of those working in the office (perhaps due to fewer distractions), they take fewer sick days and remote workers are less likely to be involved in an active job search.
And for remote workers, the upside is nearly as good according to Global Workplace Analytics, if you work remotely you will save on the cost of food, fuel, parking, car maintenance, transport, etc. and this could put an extra $4,000 in your bank account. And of course, your work-life balance ought to be better too.
Remote Work And The Covid 19 Pandemic
An incredible 77% of employees say that if they were allowed to take up working remotely they would be happier.
Much of this has to do with the Covid-19 outbreaks and many people want to join the remote workforce because they believe it will lead to fewer risks to their physical health.
Pew Research says that remote work hasn't meant that remote employees are now struggling for space at home and that 47% found it very easy to adapt to work remotely and the same survey said that another 31% found it fairly easy.
Do Employees Want To Return To The Office?
Yes, according to Pew Research, some people who became full-time remote workers didn't see the benefits of remote work and they found that their job satisfaction decreased with around a third finding it difficult to get work done without interruptions.
Not all home workers struggle like this mind you, the same report shows, that 60% of remote positions found working from home under Covid-19 restrictions to be very easy and that having worked remotely they feel motivated to continue that way.
What Percentage Of Jobs Are Remote?
This isn't clear, what we do know is that would-be remote working persons state that in 62% of cases their jobs could be done elsewhere and that 56% of employees believe that if their jobs can't be a fully remote position that they could be fulfilled partially at a location of their choosing.
We also know that the average annual income of those that work remotely at least occasionally is higher than those who never do so. 75% of employees working from home make more than $65,000/year which puts them in the top 20% of all employees.
What Percentage Of Employees Work Remotely?
According to a survey conducted by Owl Labs, there are at least 4.7 million remote wage earners spending at least half the time of full-time workers outside of the office though they may join the on-site employees for some of their work time.
Given that there are an estimated 164.6 million workers in the United States this would work out to be just 2% of the workforce which contradicts some of the other study data we've seen on remote team working.
The past few years of the pandemic certainly suggest that these remote work statistics might need to be viewed with a little skepticism.
Is Remote Work Increasing?
According to Owl Labs, more than half of companies are considering allowing a more flexible attitude to work but the current job postings don't seem to bear this out nor do the experiences of job seekers or the current labor statistics.
How Effective Is Remote Working For Remote Employees?
By and large remote wage earners are, indeed, happy employees.
77% report being productive when working from a more flexible working space and the majority say they earn around $4,000 more a year than their office-bound peers too!
However, 17% of remote folks say it can be an uphill battle to communicate effectively with colleagues. And 22% say they find it hard to unplug and unwind at the end of a hard working day – the line between work and play is permanently blurred for them.
Are Remote Workers More Productive?
I feel like I have to say yes to this or my remote workdays might soon be over, but the truth is that the evidence that the entire workforce would benefit from increased productivity if they just had a remote job is far from conclusive.
In fact, around 30% of managers of full-time employees who suddenly had flexible schedules or became fully remote employees during the pandemic said they felt their productivity had fallen away.
Yet, a Stanford remote work report said the opposite and found that remote jobs boost productivity and that employees were 22% more productive when they work remotely!
Mercer, an HR consulting firm interested in remote work trends, conducted a survey of around 800 employers and 94% of them said that their remote workers' statistics showed either no change or an increase in productivity.
How Many Remote Workers Are Digital Nomads?
The numbers lie! Remote workers say they are remote workers most of the time because there's no issue with this – they continue to work and be employed in their own countries and pay taxes, etc.
There's a much greater security risk when you're not paying taxes and working illegally on a tourist visa and the average remote worker who is also a digital nomad is doing just that.
Any statistics on how many digital nomads are out there are most likely made up and either grossly overestimate the number of working professionals working and traveling or grossly underestimate them.
Remote Workers And Their Mental Health
Some remote workers struggle with loneliness when their working hours are always fulfilled at home. In fact, two-thirds of people working from home sometimes feel isolated and 17% always do!
The American Psychiatric Association says that employers rarely offer any kind of mental wellness support and while remote workers paid tribute, mainly, to employers with respect to support for the mental wellbeing, nearly a third of people working out of the office say they don't get enough support and wouldn't feel comfortable using any support that is offered.
Remote Work And Companies Globally
44% of companies, according to Owl Labs, globally won't allow any form of remote work.
However, this percentage varies a lot depending on exactly where in the world you want to be working remotely from.
The remote workers of Asia are few and far between with only 9% of companies allowing any kind of remote work.
Africa's and Australia's remote workers in stark contrast are welcomed by 59% and 65% of companies respectively.
Final Thoughts On The Numbers Surrounding Remote Work
So, there you have it, the truth of escaping from the office in cold, hard numbers and by and large? Those numbers are very positive, they show that far from being a fad, this can be a productive move for both the individual and the company.
We think that now companies have let the genie out of the bottle, the future has to be bright for those looking for more freedom to choose where they work and how they work but it might take longer than you'd think before it's an option for everyone.