Is remote work here to stay?
That’s one question we’re going to answer in this post.
We’ve collected key remote work statistics from around the web that cover how workers feel about remote work, the benefits of remote work, struggles with it, how employers are responding to it, and more.
Let’s get into it.
Editor’s top picks – latest remote work statistics
- 49% of remote workers are fully remote. (Buffer)
- 59% of workers worry about being excluded from important meetings when working remotely. (GoodHire)
- 52% of remote workers would prefer to communicate through text-based sources. (Buffer)
- 62% of remote workers are more excited about their jobs. (Buffer)
- 43% of remote workers worry about the impact on their work-life balance if they were to return to the office. (FlexJobs)
General remote work statistics
1. 87% of workers who have the option to work remotely choose to do so
McKinsey & Company worked with market-research firm Ipsos to survey 25,000 of Americans in the spring of 2022.
They found that 87% of respondents who are given the opportunity to work remotely take it and do so an average of three days a week.
Source: McKinsey & Company
2. 49% of remote workers are fully remote
In Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work report, they surveyed over 2,100 remote workers from 16 countries around the world.
They found that 49% of remote workers are fully remote, 23% are remote first, 16% are office occasional and 11% are office-first with remote available.
Remote work also differs by industry with computer and mathematical occupations being the most popular, according to McKinsey & Company’s report.
As expected, industries like farming, forestry, fishing, transportation and production are least popular for remote work.
Sentiment-related remote work statistics
3. 97% of remote workers would recommend remote work to others
Buffer’s survey found that along with remote workers who would recommend this working style to others, 97% would also like to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers.
In fact, 90% of respondents rated their experience with remote work as somewhat positive or very positive.
4. 77% of workers would take a pay cut for more workplace flexibility
Owl Labs collaborated with remote work consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics to survey over 2,300 full-time employees working in the US.
They found that 52% of workers would take a pay cut of 5% or more of their annual salary if it meant being able to choose where they work.
23% would take a pay cut of 10% or more while 2% would go as high as 20%.
Additionally, GoodHire surveyed over 3,500 adult Americans in their 2022 State of Remote Work report and found that 73% of workers believe in-office staff should be paid more than remote workers.
Source: Owl Labs & GoodHire
5. 49% of remote workers feel invisible to leadership teams
Owl Labs’ report states that 49% of workers “feel they will not be able to build relationships with leadership or be visible to the executive team members when working remotely.”
Additionally, 49% are more likely to source opinions from colleagues they work with physically, and 41% find it difficult to find their place in company culture when they work remotely.
To make matters worse, GoodHire’s survey revealed that 59% of workers worry about being excluded from important meetings when working remotely.
Plus, 78% of workers worry they’ll face layoffs before in-office employees in a recession scenario.
Source: Owl Labs & GoodHire
Benefits of remote work
6. 75% of remote workers cite cost savings as a primary benefit of working remotely
FlexJobs surveyed over 2,100 remote workers who worked from home during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While “not having to commute” was voted as the number one benefit of remote working by 84% of respondents, the number two vote went to cost savings.
In fact, 38% of respondents estimate they’re saving around $5,000 per year by working from home.
7. 86% of remote workers are happier when working from home
Owl Labs’ survey found that 86% of remote workers report being happier when working from home versus working in an office environment.
Other top benefits voted for in the survey include a better work-life balance (85%), lower stress (81%), improved mental health (79%) and being less likely to leave the company (76%).
Source: Owl Labs
8. 62% of workers feel they’re more productive when working remotely
Owl Labs’ survey revealed that 62% of remote workers feel they’re more productive when they work from home.
Even so, 60% of managers are worried about employee productivity, and so 37% have implemented employee activity tracking software on work devices.
Source: Owl Labs
9. 67% of workers cite “flexibility in how I spend my time” as a top benefit of remote jobs
Buffer asked survey respondents what benefits they experience because they work remotely.
Along with flexibility in how they spend their time, respondents also voted for flexibility in work location (62%), having more time because they don’t commute (59%), flexibility to live where they choose (55%), cost savings (48%) and the ability to better focus on their work (44%).
Struggles of remote work
10. 55% of jobseekers can’t telecommute
A survey by McKinsey & Company reports that 87% of workers would choose to work remotely if given the opportunity.
However, PayScale’s 2021 State of Remote Work report found that 55% of jobseekers can’t telecommute if given the chance.
PayScale’s report was generated by data from over 530,000 salary profiles that were kept up to date on the platform between July 2019 and July 2021.
They also found that 69% of non-remote workers hate their jobs even though the majority of workers (non-remote, fully-remote and hybrid) report being fairly satisfied with their jobs.
11. 58% of remote employees experience technical issues during video meetings
FlexJobs’ survey revealed that remote workers find video meetings to be a major downside of working remotely.
In fact, Owl Labs’ report found that only 36% of employers have upgraded their technology for video meetings since the start of the pandemic.
Along with technical difficulties that include frozen screens, poor connections and problems joining, respondents also voted for too many meetings (28%), difficulty in reading non-verbal cues (28%), background distractions (26%) and awkward small talk (22%).
The good news is that the majority of respondents had neutral or positive opinions about video meetings in general.
However, Buffer’s report states that 52% of remote workers would prefer to communicate through text-based sources like email or Slack instead of meetings, but only 38% of companies communicate this way.
12. 35% of remote workers find it difficult to unplug and stop working
FlexJobs’ survey found this to be a top issue among remote workers.
Other struggles respondents voted for include dealing with non-work distractions (28%), technology problems (28%), unreliable WiFi (26%) and video meeting fatigue (24%).
13. 45% of remote workers have experienced more work-related stress in the past few years
Owl Labs’ survey revealed that 45% of remote workers rate their work-related stress as somewhat or substantial.
The report only cites 58% of remote workers being worried about an impending recession as a cause of stress, but being able to unplug when done working, video meeting fatigue, and a sense of animosity from colleagues and leadership are likely contributors as well.
Additionally, Buffer’s survey found that 45% of workers find career growth to be more difficult when working remotely.
Source: Owl Labs
14. 31% of workers don’t experience any struggles when working remotely
When Buffer asked workers what they struggle with the most when working remotely, 31% voted for nothing.
Those that did vote voted for not being able to unplug (25%), loneliness (24%), difficulty focusing (21%), staying motivated (21%), working across time zones (21%) and working more (20%).
Changes caused by remote work
15. The number of on-site employees has decreased 38% since 2019
Gallup surveyed over 8,000 remote-capable employees working in the US in July 2022.
They found that 60% of employees worked exclusively on site in 2019, before the pandemic, compared to just 22% in 2022.
Furthermore, the number of employees who work exclusively from home went up to 39% in February 2022 from just 8% in 2019 but dropped to 29% by June 2022.
This indicates a gradual return to the office, even though the number of employees choosing to work remotely went up by 24% between 2021 and 2022, according to Owl Labs’ report.
16. 72% of companies are making remote work permanent
In Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote Work report, 46% of respondents said their employers planned on making remote work permanent.
That number went up by 26% in 2022’s report.
This is good as 43% of professionals expect remote work, according to PayScale’s report.
Expectations also differ by occupation.
The highest amounts come from marketing and advertising (75%), information technology (71%), art and design (69%), media and publishing (66%), and accounting and finance (61%).
17. 56% of workers say working remotely has changed how they communicate
This was the top change cited by respondents in Buffer’s survey: 56% say working remotely has changed how they communicate and collaborate.
53% say they work more hours, and 46% say working remotely has changed how they do their work.
18. 42% of workers find video to be a more efficient solution for meetings
When FlexJobs asked survey respondents about the positive aspects of video meetings, 42% said they’re more efficient.
51% said they allow for a more flexible schedule, 42% said there’s less office politics, 40% said they like being able to record meetings, and 27% said they’re more productive.
19. 62% of remote workers are more excited about their jobs
Buffer’s report found that 62% of workers are more excited about their jobs after shifting to remote work.
28% say there’s been no impact while 8% say they’re less excited.
Employer-related remote work statistics
20. 69% of employers do not plan on lowering pay for remote workers
PayScale also surveyed over 680 employers about how their organization is responding to remote work now that the pandemic is declining.
While most employers don’t plan on lowering salaries for remote employees, 81% don’t have a compensation strategy that accounts for them.
Only 48% have surveyed their employees on their preferences for remote work, but 47% say that over 25% of their staff will work from home even after the pandemic ends.
50% will offer flexible work arrangements.
21. 49% of on-site-first organizations were impacted by The Great Resignation
Upwork surveyed over 1,000 hiring managers in the US for their 2022 Future Workforce Report.
They found that 43% of businesses reported being negatively impacted by The Great Resignation of 2021, a period in the American economy in which workers quit their jobs in droves in response to low wages and other disparities.
52% of remote-by-day and on-site-first organizations reported being negatively impacted by The Great Resignation as opposed to only 31% of remote-first organizations.
A lasting issue 37% of hiring managers are now facing is finding new talent, and so many organizations have begun offering flexible schedules, higher wages and more remote work opportunities.
Returning to the office
22. 58% of remote workers would look for a new job if they were forced to return to the office
58% of respondents in FlexJobs’ survey said they would “absolutely” look for a new job if remote work was not made permanent for their role.
31% said they wouldn’t know how they would respond while 11% said it wouldn’t mind returning to the office.
23. 41% of small companies are requiring employees to return to the office
Owl Labs’ report found that of the companies who are requiring remote employees to return to the office, 41% are small companies with fewer than 50 employees.
Only 27% are enterprises with over 10,000 employees.
Source: Owl Labs
24. 46% of remote workers are worried about experiencing less flexibility when they return to the office
FlexJobs asked survey respondents about their top concerns in regards to returning to the office.
Among less flexibility, workers are worried about an impact to their work-life balance (43%), office politics and distractions (34%), change in daily routine (27%), being away from family or pets (26%), and childcare/caregiver responsibilities (15%).
Remote work statistics sources
One thing’s for certain: employees want to work remotely at least some of the time, and although employees are worried about productivity, they’re willing to offer more flexible working locations to keep talent around.
Many reports cited worries from workers about fitting in with in-office staff, being seen by leadership teams and advancing in their careers.
Video meetings are also a sore spot.
Employers looking to retain remote workers should work to improve these areas and consider including more text-based communications, especially team messaging apps like Slack.
For additional reading on working from home: