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Remote work might have taken off because of the pandemic, but evidence shows it’s here to stay.
Company attitudes are changing, not to mention the fact that employees have tried remote working and many would never go back. To attract talent, employers have to take this new landscape into account. Plus, the pace change when it comes to technology has accelerated, with the advent of improved video conferencing and collaboration apps that make working from home so much easier than ever before.
How do we know all this? Well check out these 93 business statistics about homeworking, all from credible sources.
Homeworking stats on this page use global, US or UK survey data based on statistically significant numbers of respondents, with reports produced by reliable organisations in recent years.
What does homeworking look like immediately post-pandemic?
While the pandemic is far from over, 2022 marked a relative return to normal with an end to social distancing and lockdowns in places like the UK and USA. Homeworking is now a common practice with 14 percent of all US employees (22 million people) working from home full-time.
As a result of the pandemic, 53 percent of businesses say that remote work has increased their willingness to use freelancers. And, 71 percent of hiring managers plan to sustain or increase their use of freelancers in the next 6 months. (UpWork’s Future Workforce Report 2021)
35 percent of US workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time. This is down from 43 percent in January 2022 and 55 percent in October 2020 – and up from only 7 percent before the pandemic. (Pew Research Center 2023 survey 2023)
97 percent of remote working employees who started remote working in the pandemic would recommend remote work and would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
72 percent of employees who now work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic say their company is planning on permanently allowing some amount of remote work in the future. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
40.7 million American professionals (28 percent of respondents to UpWork’s 2021 survey) will be fully remote in the next five years, up from around 23 percent in November 2020. (UpWork’s Future Workforce Report 2021)
What are business attitudes to remote and hybrid work?
Many organisations have embraced remote work and have put policies and resources in place for long term remote working. 72 percent of companies say their organisation is planning for some form of permanent remote work going forward.
49 percent of organisations surveyed by Buffer are fully remote; 39 percent are operating on a hybrid basis and 11 percent are office-first but with remote working permitted on some basis. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
73 percent of firms say they are raising prices in response to rising costs, with 62 percent citing soaring energy bills at their commercial properties as driving factor for encouraging remote working. (British Chambers of Commerce 2022 survey)
17 percent of people say their organisation has a four-day workweek while 69 percent say they wished their organisation had this policy. Buffer’s own 4DWW policy has proven successful, with their team survey showing 91 percent of their remote team report they are happier and more productive. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
While employees who have tried remote working often want to continue doing it full-time, some organisations are encouraging a hybrid model. 41 percent of small to medium businesses are mandating some kind of return to the office. even though 80 percent of employees say hybrid work is ‘exhausting’.
34 percent of those who are currently working from home most of the time say, if they had the choice, they’d like to work from home all the time. (Pew Research Center 2023 survey 2023)
Where flexible working options are available, 87 percent of people will take that opportunity. Therefore, 13 percent of people who could work remotely in some way choose not to. (McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey 2022)
59 percent of employees in a remote work setting would prefer to work from home versus working at multiple other locations such as coffee shops or co-working spaces. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
There is evidence that shows working from home is beneficial for businesses, in terms of reduced overheads and talent acquisition, and for employees in terms of flexibility and productivity. 78 percent of workers say homeworking has improved their work-life balance.
The top two benefits of remote work are flexibility in how people can spend their time (67 percent) and the ability to choose their work location (62 percent). (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
20 percent of WFH employees say that they unintentionally end up working more while working from home. 40 percent of remote workers who shifted to WFH due to COVID-19 say they are working more. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
55 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds offered the option to work fully remotely say mental-health issues impacts their ability to perform effectively, though only 17 percent of people aged 55 to 64 say the same. (McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey 2022)
There’s little consensus regarding if working from home is good or bad for your career. Some think it does have an impact, or worry that it will, and some say it has had no impact so far. Experiences are very individual in this area, and may vary across industry and level of seniority.
The majority of remote working employees (55 percent) don’t believe that career growth is more difficult for remote workers; 14 percent believe that remote work makes career progression less difficult, and 41 percent believe it has no impact at all. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
58 percent of Americans report being able to work from home at least one day a week, and 35 percent are able to work from home five days a week, with this data including both “blue collar” and “white collar” workers, showing remote working options are available across many sectors. (McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey 2022)
71 percent of homeworkers say their manager trusts them a great deal to get their work done. Those who work from home all the time are the most likely to feel trusted: 79 percent of these workers say their manager trusts them a great deal, compared with 64 percent of hybrid workers. (Pew Research Center 2023 survey 2023)
55 percent of employees say that the shift to remote work due to COVID-19 either had no impact on their career trajectory or made career growth less difficult. (Buffer State of Remote Work report 2022)
31 percent of employees say they only need contact with their boss a few times a week while working from home. 22 percent wish their boss would check in with them ‘as little as possible.’ (FlexJobs 2021 remote working survey)
Has remote working impacted recruitment and jobseeking?
Companies have had to adapt to recruit new talent in a world where remote work is often seen as must-have. Remote work is one of the top three concerns of jobseekers, with many saying they would quit their current job if they couldn’t work remotely.
Although resignations have slowed slightly, 43 percent of US businesses say that The Great Resignation (2021) negatively impacted their organisation. However, remote-first organisations were least often negatively impacted by issues related to resignations, such as finding and hiring new talent quickly. (UpWork’s Future Workforce Report 2022)
“Leavers” (those respondents who left the company within six weeks of being surveyed by HBR) had 67 percent fewer one-on-one spontaneous meetings. They also had 22 percent fewer scheduled one-on-one meetings with line managers and 20 percent fewer group meetings, indicated reduced engagement. (Harvard Business Review 2022 remote meeting research study)
Can you manage a team via virtual meetings?
Video conferencing is the main way managers and team stay connected, along with asynchronous chat and email. While this has its issues, many workplaces have successfully adapted to a remote meeting and management culture, with more efficient meetings and spontaneous meetings.