Remote work statistics
For some, the shift to remote work was sudden and spurned by necessity during the pandemic. Since the first COVID-19-related lockdowns, companies are still adjusting to the new normal of remote work and video meetings while trying to plan for the future.
Differing Opinions: 55% of employees want to work from home at least three days per week moving forward — meanwhile, 43% of business executives want to be partially or fully back in office as soon as possible
Gradual Return: Of employees who went fully remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, 73% have returned to the office at least one day per week.
Online All the Time: 27% of employees said not being able to unplug after the workday is the biggest struggle when working from home.
Uncertain Outlook: 40% of employees say their company hasn’t communicated a vision for work after the pandemic.
Adding to the Family: 70% of remote employees adopted a pet during the pandemic — 42% adopted a dog and 28% adopted a cat.
Shifting Priorities: 46% of people would be willing to take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to keep working from home part of the time after the pandemic.
Who works remote
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work began to span many different industries and experience levels. Almost half of remote employees said the pandemic was the reason they began working from home in the first place. For some, though, remote work has drawbacks and advantages. Parents of young children found more value in remote work, while those entering the job market for the first time value in-office experience.
People with children under 5 are most likely to want to work from home at least one day per week.
46% of people said they are working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
48% of parents or caregivers who work remotely said they pursued remote work because of their status as a parent or caregiver.
30% of people with 0-5 years of professional experience want to be remote one day per week or less, so they can have more face time with colleagues and managers.
The top five industries that expect remote work to continue after the pandemic are: marketing and advertising (75%), information technology (71%), art and design (69%), media and publishing (66%), and accounting and finance (61%).
58% of remote workers are women.
Remote work trends
Working from home is different for everyone. Most work from a home office and want to keep it that way. Some have moved from the cities where they had to live for their jobs to enjoy a cheaper cost of living in suburban areas. One thing’s for certain: Many want remote work, in some capacity, to stay.
Employees ages 21-40 relocated while working remotely 40 times more than employees older than 40.
73% of remote employees work from a home office.
70% of employees working remotely said it’s hard to be part of the conversation during a video meeting.
58% of employees working from home relocated from an urban area to a suburban area.
85% of employees believe that people prefer working remotely.
70% of people would consider forfeiting benefits like health insurance or PTO to maintain a remote work model.
42% of people spend between $100 and $500 creating a home office space.
58% of people said they don’t need to hear from their boss daily.
48% of employees don’t think it’s necessary to get dressed up for a video meeting.
51% of people took an online professional development course while working from home during the pandemic.
Going remote has meant that employees have needed to adapt to working via video chat or instant messaging service and collaborating without seeing their colleagues face to face. For most, this change has come naturally. Most employees don’t report a reduction in their productivity — in fact, some say that the flexible nature of remote work has actually made them more productive.
41% of people said the biggest change in their workflow since going remote was how they collaborate and communicate with team members.
45% of people said they work more while working from home — and 42% said they work the same as they did in-office.
70% of remote employees said their companies prioritize asynchronous communication — or, work that doesn’t happen in real time.
83% of employers say the shift to remote work has been successful for their companies.
52% of employers say their employee productivity has improved since going remote.
81% of people are satisfied with their productivity while working from home.
Why do people opt for remote work?
If you live in an urban area where getting to your office means sitting in an hour of standstill traffic, a 50-foot commute from your bed to your office might be a welcome change. For many, the biggest benefit of remote work is the flexibility it provides.
85% of workers said a hybrid or fully remote working model gives them more time to focus on personal or family obligations.
25% of people selected the ability to work from any location as the top benefit of working remotely.
32% of people selected a flexible schedule as the top benefit of working from home.
24% of employees like that remote work reduces the politics and bureaucracy of an office environment.
42% of employees said remote work increases their productivity.
49% of remote employees think working remotely means better flexibility during the workday.
22% of people said the absence of a commute is the biggest perk of working from home.
Challenges of remote work
For many, an office is like a home, and colleagues become a family. Working remotely can take away some of that camaraderie, and employees report missing that connection. What’s more, a home work environment can blur the lines between “home” and “work,” making it harder to log off on time.
44% of remote employees fear a loss of connection with colleagues and their communities while working remotely.
16% of people said it is difficult to collaborate with team members while working remotely.
29% of business executives think that employees need to be in the office at least three days per week to keep a strong company culture.
30% of employees said onboarding and new hire training are worse than it was before the pandemic.
42% of employees struggle with setting boundaries while working away from an office.
56% of employees said they experienced burnout during the pandemic.
The future of remote work
What is the workday going to look like a few years from now? It’s uncertain. Many employees are adamant that they want to continue working from home — even if that means taking a pay cut or sacrificing benefits to do so. Meanwhile, many business leaders are antsy to get their teams back in-house.
72% of business executives plan to increase spending on virtual collaboration tools for their dispersed workforce.
97.6% of employees said they want to work from home at least some days per week for the rest of their careers.
16% of people are certain their company will no longer allow remote work after the pandemic ends.
Less than ⅕ of employers say they want to go back to the office the way it was pre-pandemic.
52% of employees would prefer a hybrid working model, and 11% would prefer a fully remote model after the pandemic.
33% of employees would leave their jobs or retire completely if remote work was no longer an option.
If remote work is no longer an option after the pandemic, 48% of people said they would stay in their current role but would be unwilling to go the extra mile.
15% of employers said they will allow employees to be autonomous about how much they go into the office after the pandemic ends.
84% of employees are interested in working from wherever they want in the future.
Remote work around the globe
Global teams are used to working collaboratively across virtual platforms and even time zones. So for those who have hired or conducted business abroad, the new normal isn’t quite so new. Still, though, the new emphasis on remote work has impacted companies across the globe. And what’s more: So-called digital nomads have started taking advantage of their company’s fully remote policies and working from exotic locations.
31% of Americans, 22% of Latin Americans, 15% of Europeans, 21% of Australians, and 16% of Asians want to work from home five days of the week or more.
59% of remote workers said their company operates in two to five different time zones.
Companies in the United States and United Kingdom are more likely to let employees work remotely 100% of the time than companies in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and South Korea.
If remote working was no longer an option, 57% of Australians and 72% of South Koreans would opt to commute to their same position.
25% of remote workers plan to relocate and work from a new location to seek a lifestyle change.
32% of digital nomads working outside of their home countries cite difficulty making connections as their biggest challenge — 23% cite getting a visa as the biggest hurdle.
Most remote workers in the United States earn $100,000-$150,000 per year; in the UK, most earn over 30,000 pounds per year; in Canada, most earn more than $84,000 Canadian dollars; and in South Korea, most earn 40,000,000 to 70,000,000 won.
Millennials made up 50% of workers who moved to another country while working remotely.
Analysis of employee attitudes toward remote working
It’s clear that employees enjoy working from home and want this option, in some capacity, to stay. Employers, on the other hand, seem overall more wary of full-time remote work and remain adamant that employees report to the office a few days per week to boost company culture and productivity.
For some business owners, though, this could mean an uptick in resignations. Employees across the board — both fresh and retirement-age — report that they would leave their job by quitting or retiring if remote work was no longer available to them.
Employees enjoy the flexibility that remote work provides. When working remotely, employees can cut out their commute time and take care of personal obligations while still getting their work done. For example, employees can run to the grocery store midday to cross that off of their to-do list, with the promise that they’ll make up for those hours on their own time.
But it isn’t all perfect: Companies still need to figure out how to cultivate autonomy without isolation. Many report that the drawbacks of the pandemic include confusing workflows, lack of collaboration, and lack of workplace camaraderie.
Moving forward, companies will need to figure out how to effectively onboard and train remote employees to feel like part of the team, how to divide in-office and remote work, and how to streamline processes across asynchronous teams.
Remote work FAQ
Remote work has created new questions for employers to answer. We’ve rounded up some of the most common.
What percentage of the workforce is remote?
How effective is remote work?
Though employers report skepticism about remote employee productivity, the employees themselves report that productivity levels are on par with or even greater than pre-pandemic levels. The biggest reason for the reported increase in productivity is that employees have greater flexibility to work when it’s convenient for their schedule.
Are remote workers happier?
Overall, remote employees report being happy working from home. A whopping 68% of Americans would choose remote work over reporting to an office, and 61% would even take a pay cut to do so. Whether employees want to be fully remote or only partially is still up for debate: 48% report that a hybrid model of both in-office and remote work is better for their wellbeing, and 44% report that a fully remote model is better for their wellbeing.
Do remote workers get paid less?
Remote workers make about the same as their in-office counterparts — and many organizations reported that it’s going to stay that way. The vast majority of employers reported that they wouldn’t lower an employee's salary if they decided to keep working from home after the pandemic. The majority of employers also reported that they would hire an employee based in a different geographic location at the same rate as an in-office employee.
Is your team ready for the remote revolution?
Remote work is here to stay. And though the prospect of investing in virtual collaboration platforms or figuring out how to manage asynchronous teams might seem like a headache, it can actually open many new doors for business leaders.
Turn your talent pool into an ocean by partnering with a global employer of record like Velocity Global. We help you quickly and compliantly hire, pay, and manage a distributed workforce across more than 185 countries so you can build a top-tier team without the burden of borders or navigating complex employment laws.
Contact us to learn more about how we help simplify work anywhere.