If you torture the evidence long enough, it will confess to almost anything – but remote work statistics in 2020 suggest that it’s here to stay.
Call it what you like – remote work, work-from-home, teleworking, telecommuting (definition: working from home at least some of the time) – it’s not going away anytime soon.
Keep reading for some of the most interesting remote work statistics of 2020:
1. Remote Work Boasts 140% Growth in 15 Years
A study done by Global Workplace Analytics found that remote workers have grown by 140% since 2005 – about 10% per year on average. In fact, in the last year, telecommuting statistics showed a 22% increase in the number of participants.
This growth is shocking – especially considering that these numbers don’t include self-employed remote workers, like entrepreneurs and freelancers.
2. The Industrial Revolution Set the Environment up for Destruction, but Remote Work Helps Save It
In America, especially, the daily commute adds stress to an employee’s life, but it also damages the environment. There’s a variety of telecommuting advantages and disadvantages, but here’s one of the more exciting advantages of remote work: it saves the environment.
Remote work statistics show that teleworking and skipping the commute could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 54 million tons per year (along with 640 million barrels of oil).
3. Remote Employee Productivity Beats Office Productivity
Are remote workers wasting their days in front of Netflix? Remote work statistics suggest otherwise. In fact, remote employees seem to have excellent time management skills.
Working from home productivity statistics by Flexjobs found that 66% of remote workers felt their productivity was improved. Stanford confirmed this with a nine-month-long study that concluded remote workers were 13% more productive than in-office counterparts.
4. The Gig Economy Is Exploding with Copywriters, Graphic Designers, and Other Freelancers
Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise as more individuals choose to be their own bosses.
A recent survey by Buffer found that 23% of remote workers considered themselves freelancers, and another 10% reported themselves as business owners. One-third of remote workers have no boss, according to remote work statistics.
5. Most Remote Workers Do Actually Work from Home
What does telecommute mean? We often call it working from home, yet “work from home” employees can also frequent cafes and coworking spaces, or work and travel as digital nomads.
As it turns out – working from home statistics show that 80% of remote workers do work from their homes, with only 7% working from coworking spaces.
6. Remote Work Increases Work Happiness
Workers are happier – even if it’s just one day of remote work, according to remote work statistics found in a working from home study by Owl Labs.
86% of these respondents felt that it reduces their stress and improved their well-being – another plus for the positive effects of the remote work-life balance.
7. Almost All Remote Workers Love Flexible Work Schedules (Not Just the Millenial)
One of the most significant benefits of working from home for employees is flexibility.
A Buffer survey found that 32% of remote workers consider their flexible schedule to be the most significant benefit of working from home. Another 26% said that the most significant benefit to them was the flexibility to work from anywhere.
8. No Commute Reduces Workplace Stress and Improves Work-life Balance
Think whatever you like about telecommuting disadvantages, but not having to commute is considered a massive benefit by remote workers, according to remote work statistics.
A study of over five and a half thousand commuters in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, London, and Rome found that their commute was a significant source of stress – even more than their actual jobs.
9. It’s Not All Perfect: Virtual Team Collaboration, Communication, and Loneliness Are Still Problems
Is loneliness one of the main disadvantages of working from home? Many remote workers report feeling lonely, but this consistent complaint in remote work statistics could be misleading.
For example, it’s not entirely clear if remote work causes this isolation since there’s already an epidemic of loneliness. In fact, 20% of the UK’s population report that they’re always or often lonely. It should come as no surprise that remote workers feel the same way.
Communication eases loneliness, but it can be a challenge on remote teams. Communication issues in remote work abound. Things that work in same-timezone offices, such as real-time chat, aren’t always as practical for remote teams.
What does work? Appropriate use of voice and video calls (especially with technology like Krisp that increases call quality), and effectively using the right remote communication and collaboration tools.
10. Could You Get a Mindblowing $7,000 Raise from Working Remotely?
Even without having one of the high-pay remote jobs, remote workers still save money. Remote work statistics suggest that remote workers save from $2,000 up to $7,000 per year.
It’s essentially a hidden bump in salary, thanks to reduced transportation, food, clothing, and child-care costs.
11. Employers Might Pay for Employee Training, but Don’t Expect Them to Cover Other Remote Costs
If you’re working from home, will your employer cover remote-work related costs like coworking space membership, food and drinks at cafes, cell phone bills, and home internet bills?
Probably not. In a Buffer survey, over 70% of remote workers reported that their companies don’t cover these costs. When costs are covered, cell phone expenses are the most likely category.
12. Remote Workers like Working Remotely – and Want to Continue
Despite the advantages and disadvantages of teleworking, almost all remote workers want to continue working remotely.
Even if it’s just part-time, a whopping 98% of remote workers want to continue remote work throughout their careers. Would they recommend remote work to others? 97% would.
13. Increased Remote Work Job Satisfaction Reduces Employee Turnover
Remote work benefits the worker, but there are also benefits of telecommuting for employers.
For example, remote work reduces employers’ employee turnover rate by 25-50% depending on the study. Of employees who left a business, 32% said it was due to a lack of flexibility.
This reduced turnover can save massive amounts of money when you consider that the costs of hiring are 15-25% of an employee’s salary, and a new employee can take from 8-26 weeks to become productive.
14. Remote Workers Cut Company Costs in Almost Every Category
The costs of on-site employees add up for business. While increasing revenue is one way to help the bottom line, cutting costs is another.
One sizable way to cut costs is through remote work. Estimates suggest that each remote employee could save up to $11,000 a year, from saving through things like electricity, property insurance, rent, office supplies, food, and more.
15. Not Everyone Works Remotely at (Most) Remote Work Companies
Fully-remote companies are growing in popularity, but don’t (yet) form the bulk of companies offering remote-work options.
A Buffer survey found that in 43% of companies, employees are split between full-time remote work and office-based work. Second in place are fully remote companies, forming 30% of responses. Fifteen percent work from home as needed, while 9% have a certain number of telecommuting days per month.
Surprisingly, only 3% of responders were remote freelancers or solo businesses.
In the Future, Work from Home Could Become the Norm
Some skeptics point at a variety of reasons why remote work will die. The news has featured high-profile cases of large companies adopting remote work, then calling employees back into the office.
Nonetheless, remote work statistics show that it’s consistently picking up steam and here to stay.
Next section: How to Build Your Home Office (from Scratch)
Go back: Work From Home Guide
The State of Remote Work Report by Owl Labs
The 2020 State of Remote Work by Buffer
Latest Telecommuting Statistics by Global Workplace Analytics