Remote Work Statistics in 2021

Remote work is the future. How do we know? Just check out all the remote work statistics! All the evidence shows that this is how we will be working for generations to come. And remote work will change how and where we live as well!

Do you work remotely? If you don’t, then these remote work statistics are ammunition to help make a change. And if you do remotely, these stats will help to quantify the positive impact.

working remotely statistics

2021 Remote Work Statistics – Almost Everybody is Doing It

7 Million People Were Working Remotely in 2018

A Global Workplace Analytics Study showed there were around 4.3 million remote workers in the USA in 2018. This was already a huge increase on 2013, as 40% more companies were offering remote work as an option.

In fact, the number of people working remotely had increased an incredible 159% since 2005. That’s 11x faster than the workforce in general (which grew 15%). This is not because there are more self employed workers either. On the contrary, regular remote working has grown 173% since 2005, where as the self-employed workforce grew by only 4%.

Back in 2018 that led Forbes to predict that 50% of the US workforce would soon be remote. Covid changed all that.

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700 Million People Are Now Working Remotely

There’s been a 100-fold increase in remote working since the start of the pandemic. In essence, the Covid pandemic has accelerate the future of work. In the UK, 84% of full-time employers are working remotely. In the US that figure is around 70%. 700 million people! 

People Want to Work Remotely

Even back in 2016 a State of the American Workforce study showed that 35% of US employees would change their job for the chance to work remotely all of the time. That rises to 47% for millennials. Another 37% would change jobs for the opportunity to work from home some of the time.

That’s backed up by the 2019 State of Remote Work report from Owl Labs. 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time. And remember, this is 2019, before the pandemic. It’s different by age group, according to this MerchantSavvy study.  70% of 18 – 34 year olds take advantage of working from anywhere, compared to only 51% of 45 – 60 year olds.

The most telling statistic comes from the Buffer State of Remote Work study. 98% of people who work remotely want to continue to work remotely. And 97% of them will recommend remote work to others.

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People Can Work Remotely

It’s estimated that 62% of all full-time employers around the world can do their job remotely. 62%! That’s a staggering 2 billion people? Don’t you think it’s amazing that less than 10 million people were working remotely before the pandemic?

A Global Workplace Analytics study shows that the average office desk is vacant 50 – 60% of the work day. Of course it’s also vacant for the other 16 hours in the day. That’s some big and expensive wasted space. If people are not even at their desks when they work in the office, they can certainly take more of their work home.

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Remote Work Statistics Vary by Country

A MerchantSavvy study collected governmental data to show the percentage of businesses with a flexible workspace policy. In Germany the figure is 80%. It’s 71% in Australia, but drops to just 32% in Japan.

The good news is that remote work is here to stay and we won’t being go back to the 7 million remote workers of 2018. A study by Upwork found that 62% of companies are planning to hire more remote work in the coming years. Big technology are driving the remote change and this has led to San Francisco rent prices dropping 35% this year. Amazon, Coinbase, Zillow, Twitter, Square, Facebook, Gitlab, InVision – they’re all now remote!

digital nomad

Remote Work Statistics – Benefits For Employers

Remote Work Saves Companies Money

The cost benefits of hiring remotely have always been known. It’s only this year that solid statistics have backed up the claims. Switching to a remote working model saves companies an average of $11,000 per worker, per year. So the average company with over 100 employers saves over $1 million a year!

Think about it. Remove the office and the biggest business overhead disappears. Remove the expensive office equipment. The majority of employees are happy to receive a lower salary in order to secure more flexible, remote working. So companies pay less and get more.

Employees don’t often lose out either – studies show that the daily commute costs the average American employee a massive $4500 a year. A recent UK study showed that the vast majority of UK employees are willing to make sacrifices, such as a pay cut, to enjoy more flexible working conditions.

remote work save money

Fewer Sick Days

If you’re sick you have to stay home. So if you’re already at home, you still might so some work if you brighten up during the day. Plus, when somebody has a dose of the sniffles they can still work without spreading it to their colleagues. Maybe it’s just stronger productivity or loyalty, or maybe it’s that remote workers are healthier, but one remote work study showed that absenteeism is 41% lower in remote workers!

remote and work from home statistics

Improved Employee Loyalty

Remote workers do more and they stick around for longer. The same Stanford University research found that remote workers are 50% less likely to leave their companies. In another study, 81% of workers said they would be more loyal if they could work from home!

Increased Employee Retention

Improving loyalty improves retention as well. The minimum figure is a 12% turnover reduction when switching to a remote workforce. Multiple studies show how remote employees are happier and stay in jobs longer. And reports from Owl Labs and Gallup indicate that the actual figure is significantly higher than 12%. The figures vary massively from 20 – 50%, but the trend is always for an increase.

Better Employees

92% of millennials say flexibility is their number one priority when looking for a job. So it’s safe to say that offering a remote job is going to get more interest than an office-based job. More poignantly, remote working gives companies access to a global talent pool. Even the best office job on the planet is restricted by its geography – good candidates will need to relocate.

By hiring remotely. companies get access to the whole world. For example, Stripe just opened a new remote office, because it “taps into the 99.74% of talented engineers living outside the metro areas of our first four hubs.”

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Increased Workforce Diversity

There’s no definitive remote work statistics on workplace diversity, but the world’s leading remote companies are the world’s most diverse companies. Just check out Buffer’s timezone map to see where their employees are working from. Zapier has evolved to 300 remote employees from 27 countries. Then there is Automattic, the remote company behind WordPress, WooCommerce, Tumblr, Gravatar and others. They have an office with 1200 employees, from 75 countries, speaking 93 languages! It’s a 100% remote office of course!

remote work diversity

Remote Work Statistics – Proven Benefits for Workers

Remote Workers Don’t Want To Commute

As mentioned previously, the daily commute costs the average US worker a shocking $4500 per year. Not to mention all the greenhouse gases. According to the TUC, the average commute time in the UK was 59 minutes per day in 2018. In London it was 79 minutes. In the USA it’s 53 minutes per day. That’s over 200 hours a year. It’s a shocking nine days a year spent commuting. Not nine working days. Nine multiplied by 24 hours!

So it’s unsurprising that one large study found that 23% of the US workforce quit their job because of the commute. One of the most consistent remote work statistics is how removing the commute has a positive impact on people’s work-life balance.

remote work commute

Remote Workers Have a Better Work-Life Balance

We all know this. But it’s good to back up the arguments with facts.

remote work life balance

Remote Workers Are More Productive

Some people don’t like change. And they think remote workers do less work. But that’s not true. A two-year Stanford University study shows that remote workers were 13% more productive in doing the same jobs as their office-based counterparts.

The HR firm Mercer surveyed 800 employers. 94% of them said their productivity was the same or higher since starting remote work. Gallup’s evidence argues that remote workers are 35 – 40% more productive and their measurable output increases by a minimum of 4.4%.

Remote workers actually work more. They achieve more, at an astonishing rate of 16.8 more days every year. Part of this is because absenteeism is lower and morale is higher. Want more evidence?

work from home stats

Remote Workers Save Money

23% of people surveyed by Owl Labs in 2020 said they would take a 10% pay cut to continue working from home. The same study found that workers in the US are currently saving $6000 per year from working from home – $500 every month! This is up on their 2019 report which put the figure at $4000. Remote workers save money thanks to lower fuel costs, no parking costs or car maintenance, and also lower food costs.

work from home save money

Remote Working is Greener – Here are the Facts

54 Million Tons Less Greenhouse Emissions Per Year

54 million tons – can you even compute such a figure? That’s the estimated saving in greenhouse emissions if everybody in the US worked from home half of the time (from Global Workforce Analytics). Only half of the time! Only in the US! The daily commute consumes over 200 million gallons of gasoline every single day in the USA! The big problem is that 86% of commuters drive to work in a private vehicle.

So we can either continue with remote working, or we can plant some trees to offset the 54 million tons of carbon. How many trees? 1,365,000,000. Yep, plant 1.365 billion trees per year or work from home half of the week.

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Obvious Environmental Benefits of Remote Work

Remote work statistics have not yet proven all the environmental benefits. So we can only guess and the impact of remote work on the following.

  • Reduced single-use plastic consumption (think less
  • Reduced paper consumption (the United States goes through 700 trillion sheets of copy paper every single year)
  • Populations are spreading out, redistributing wealth and reducing stress on city infrastructure
  • Less commuting equals less pollution and cleaner air
  • A Sun Microsystems study shows that personal energy consumption is halved when working from home

remote work environmentally friendly

Work Remotely and Hire Remotely With Search Remotely

So if we’re all going to work remotely, we’ll need to rethink how we recruit. Search Remotely is the world’s leading platform for remote jobs. Every job on the platform is remote.

Employees get access to remote job opportunities from around the world and employers enjoy access to a huge active community of active remote job seekers.

In addition to this Search Remotely has helped hundreds of global organizations to recruit the highest quality of candidates enabling them to scale up their remote teams.

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