Working from home is growing faster than ever before, and shows no sign of slowing down. Remote work enthusiasts argue that telecommuting is "the future of work," with benefits for both employer and employee. Nevertheless, some businesses remain sceptical, worrying that remote workers will be more easily distracted and less able to participate in the company culture.
So what's the truth about remote work, and what can we learn from the various remote work studies and surveys? In this article, we'll give you the cold, hard facts and figures and let you decide for yourself. Read on for 25 remote work statistics that could change the way you think about telecommuting.
Remote work is on the rise
More and more employees are working from home at least on a part-time basis. This realignment is expected to dramatically shake up the employment landscape in the years to come.
- In 2017, 5 per cent of employees in the European Union say that they "usually" work from home, while 9.6 per cent of employees "sometimes" work from home (an increase from 7.7 per cent in 2008).
- Between 2005 and 2017, the number of U.S. employees working from home at least half the time increased by 159 per cent.
- Freelancing website Upwork predicts that by 2028, 73 per cent of all teams will have remote workers.
Remote workers come in all shapes and sizes
Traditionally, remote work has been associated with jobs like data entry, customer service, writing, and computer programming. However, these preconceptions are changing rapidly as more and more employees telecommute full-time or part-time. So what does the remote workforce look like, and who is a part of it?
- The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Finland are the EU member states with the highest percentage of employees who "usually" work from home (13.7, 12.7, and 12.3 per cent, respectively). Conversely, Romania and Bulgaria have the lowest percentage of employees who "usually" work from home (0.4 and 0.3 per cent, respectively).
- 5.3 per cent of female employees in the EU usually work from home, compared with 4.7 per cent of male employees. However, this situation is reversed for some member states such as the Netherlands (14.7 per cent of males vs 12.6 per cent of females) and Denmark (9.5 per cent of males vs 7.6 per cent of females).
- Seventy per cent of remote workers are between 25 and 44 years old.
- Remote workers are just as likely to have children as employees who work in an office: 77 per cent of remote workers, compared with 75 per cent of office workers.
- In 2018, remote job listings grew by 50 per cent or more in 9 industries not traditionally associated with remote work. These industries include law, science, marketing, nonprofits, insurance, and mathematics and economics.
- Remote work doesn't automatically imply that employees have flexible work schedules, nor does it guarantee the greater freedom afforded by working freelance. Sixty per cent of remote workers say they have a standard work schedule (i.e. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday).
Remote work makes employees happier
Working remotely is an essential part of millions of employees' job satisfaction. For many, the ability to work remotely has become a must, with no desire to ever return to an office setting.
- 81 per cent of remote workers say that they are satisfied with their current job, a figure which is 57 per cent higher than the average job satisfaction levels.
- 88 per cent of people who work remotely would recommend telecommuting to their friends and family.
- 55 per cent of commuters in the United Kingdom report increased stress levels due to their commute, and 23 per cent of Americans have quit a job due to a bad commute. Conversely, 82 per cent of remote workers report reduced stress levels.
- Only 20 per cent of employees working from home would rather go back to working in an office.
- 52 per cent of employees who work for companies without remote work wish that their employer would allow them to work from home.
Remote work makes employees more productive
Not only does remote work make employees happier, but it also has benefits for the business in the form of higher productivity and efficiency.
- 53 per cent of telecommuters regularly work more than 40 hours per week, as compared with 28 per cent of employees who work in an office.
- According to a 2017 Stanford University study of the Chinese travel agency Ctrip, employees working at home showed a 13 per cent improvement in performance.
- The same study found that employee attrition at the company decreased by 50 per cent for remote workers.
- 70 per cent of remote workers say that telecommuting has improved their productivity.
- The most common reasons cited by remote workers for higher productivity include fewer distractions and interruptions, lower stress from commuting, and less noise.
Remote work is more cost-effective
Finally, remote work has advantages for both employers and employees in the form of lower expenses. Employers can reduce their real estate expenses and operating expenses, allowing them to expand the business without increasing their footprint. Meanwhile, employees can save on the costs of vehicle maintenance, public transportation, work attire, and more.
- In 2018, companies saved an estimated $5 billion by letting employees work from home at least part of the time.
- 6 out of 10 employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit of telecommuting.
- Computer technology company Dell, a major proponent of remote work, estimates that it saves $12 million every year on real estate costs by offering more flexible work options.
- The average business would save $11,000 annually per person by letting employees work from home at least half of the time.
- In 2015, Xerox reported that its remote workers saved 17.4 million litres of gas every year and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons.
- Flexible work jobs site FlexJobs estimates that employees can save $4,000 or more annually by telecommuting. This includes saving on the costs of gas, car maintenance, dry cleaning, and business lunches.
Of course, remote work isn't the solution to all your problems, nor is it the best fit for every organization. For example, working from home may be difficult or impossible in industries like retail and hospitality that still emphasize or require the human touch.
Yet a growing number of businesses are discovering the many benefits of remote work: cost savings, greater flexibility, employee happiness and productivity, and more.
To fully enjoy the advantages of remote work, however, you need a robust, mature way to get all team members on the same page. Telavox is a telephony, PBX, video, and chat solution that makes it easy for employees to communicate and collaborate, no matter where they're located. To learn more about how Telavox can benefit your remote teams and employees, contact us today for a demo of our services.