50 Remote Work Statistics Shaping the Evolving Global Workforce

October 30, 2019


The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal. Forbes. Across every industry the hot topic for the future of business seems to be remote work.

What was once considered a perk for Silicon Valley tech companies is quickly becoming a mainstream employee benefit. And with more people being allowed the opportunity to work from home, it’s also quickly becoming a perk that many jobseekers won’t agree to work without.

The current state of remote work is different depending on who you ask. Companies often offer different WFH options to their employees resulting in everything from teams with a single remote worker to entire remote teams.

Remote work statistics

In an effort to show the impact remote work has had on the way we do work, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite remote work statistics. These stats cover everything from how employees feel about remote work to how your company can benefit from a remote work policy.

Remote work demographics

We’ve talked about how many people in the US work remotely, but what about globally? Who are these digital nomads and what motivates them to work away from the office?

  • The remote workforce has grown by 173% since 2005. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • 62% of Gen Z and Millennials work remotely at least one day per week. (Remote.co, 2020)
  • Non-union workers are twice as likely to have access to telecommuting. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • On the other hand, only 58% of Baby Boomers have workers who work a significant portion of their time remotely. (Upwork, 2020)
  • Studies show that remote work is more common in cities with high income levels. (Pragli, 2019) 
  • 70% of employees globally work remotely at least once a week. (IWG, 2018)
  • The top three industries for remote work are transportation, IT, and digital media. (Gallup, 2019)

“66% of people who work from home in the U.S. are full-time remote employees, more frequently than the global average.”

Owl Labs, 2019
  • Most remote workers have unlimited vacation, yet take 2-3 weeks of vacation per year. (Buffer, 2019)
  • On average, remote managers have 20.9% more direct reports than onsite managers. (SoapBoxHQ, 2019)
  • 84% of remote workers prefer to work from home as opposed to a secondary location. (Buffer, 2019)
  • In the United States, 5 million employee currently work-at-home at least 50% of the time. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • 58% of employees would work a completely set schedule if it meant they could work remote full-time. (Virtual Vocations, 2019)
  • 42% of people who are full-time remote said they have been working remotely for more than 5 years. (Flexjobs, 2020)
  • 1 in 10 global employees work outside of their company's main office location five times a week. (IWG, 2018)

Remote work and productivity

Do remote workers outperform in-office workers? How much more productive can your team really be with a WFH policy? These stats shed light on how remote work affects performance.

  • Remote employees are 13% more productive than their office-bound counterparts. (Stanford, 2017)
  • A half-time telecommuter saves the equivalent of 11 work days per year in time they would have otherwise spent commuting. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • 47% of employees without a current remote work policy say they feel they would be more productive if given the opportunity to work remotely. (Flexjobs, 2020)
  • Companies with a diverse workforce, including remote workers, are 35% more likely to outperform a non-diverse workforce. (TECLA, 2019)
  • Businesses that allowed remote work from employees saw 89% business growth.  (IWG, 2018)
  • 50% of remote employees said working from home reduced their sick days and 56% said it reduced their absences. (Flexjobs, 2020)
  • 68% of remote workers say they are not concerned that working remotely will impact their career progression, while 23% say they fear it would. (Owl Labs, 2019)

Tip: Discover the skills you’ll need to successfully manage a remote team.

Remote work and employee retention

Curious if remote work could help you retain current employees? These statistics cover how a telecommuting policy can impact employee retention and happiness.

  • Companies saw a 50% decrease in resignations when employees were allowed to work from home. (Stanford, 2017)
  • 56% of employees have a job where at least some of what they do could be done remotely. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • 80% of employees report feeling less stressed when they work remotely as compared to when they work in the office. (Flexjobs, 2020)
  • Gen Z and Millennials are 3x more likely than older generations to prioritize future workforce planning. (Upwork, 2020)
  • 51% of employees would change jobs for a more flexible, remote schedule. (Gallup, 2019)

“82% of remote workers saw reduced stress and 80% say they felt a boost in morale as a result of their remote work policy.”

TECLA, 2019
  • 58% of remote employees say the ability to work remotely has made them more satisfied with their jobs.  (IWG, 2018)
  • 17% of managers who supervise a remote employee say that retention is a big concern and issue for their company, nearly 6 times more than onsite managers. (SoapBoxHQ, 2019)
  • 52% of Gen Z and Millennial managers say offering the option for their employees to work remotely is their number one priority for career planning. (Upwork, 2020)

Remote work and profits

Did you know your remote work policy can impact your bottom line? Check out these stats to discover how everyone can save a little extra dough with remote work.

  • Companies that allow remote work see an average increase of $2,000 in profit per remote employee. (Stanford, 2017)
  • 77% of companies say allowing employees to work remotely may lead to lower operating costs (Flexjobs, 2020)
  • Employees who are allowed to work remotely save about $7,000 a year in transportation, food, and childcare costs. (TECLA, 2019)
  • In 2018, the average cost savings was $5 billion for companies with a remote work policy. (WBUR, 2018)
  • Employees save between $2,500 and $4,000 per year by working at home half the time. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • Remote workers earn salaries higher than $100,000/year, 2.2x more frequently than on-site workers.  (Owl Labs, 2019)

Remote work and recruiting

Remote work isn’t just good for your current employees, it’s also an incredible recruiting tactic. These statistics prove how remote work can help you attract top talent.

  • 85% of managers believe that teams composed of remote workers will be the norm in the future. (TECLA, 2019)
  • Of employees who have remote work as an option, Gen Z and Millennial employees are 28% more likely to utilize remote workers than Baby Boomers. (Upwork, 2020)

“76% of women surveyed who work in tech said a remote work option is increasingly necessary to attract and maintain females in the tech industry.”

Remote.co, 2019
  • 68% of millennials say they expect the option to work remotely to be included in a compensation package when considering a new opportunity. (WBUR, 2018)
  • 41% of global businesses surveyed say they already offer some degree of remote working, while 60% provide flextime opportunities. (Flexjobs, 2020
  • Studies predict that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. (Upwork, 2020)
  • 73% of employees say they would willing take a 20% cut in pay if it meant they could work remotely full-time. (Virtual Vocations, 2019)
  • 64% of recruiters say being able to pitch a work from home policy helps them recruit top talent. (IWG, 2018)

Remote work challenges

It’s not all sunshine and roses. As with any company policy, there are a few downsides to full-time remote work. These stats show the most common pitfalls of a remote work policy.

  • Remote workers are spending 2x more time in online meetings. The average time of MS Teams and Zoom usage increased by 1100% and 600% respectively. (TimeCamp, 2021)
  • Remote workers are 16% less likely to agree that their manager involves them in setting goals at work. (Gallup, 2019)
  • 22% of managers who supervise remote employees say they have trouble getting their teams to collaborate with each other. (SoapBoxHQ, 2019)
  • Remote workers are 35% less likely to agree that their coworkers provide them with meaningful feedback. (Gallup, 2019)
  • The three biggest problems facing remote employees are unplugging after work (22%), experiencing loneliness (19%), and communication issues (17%). (Buffer, 2019)
  • Only 23% of remote employees say their employer covers the cost of a monthly coworking space. (Buffer, 2019)

Read this: Do you recognize some of these remote work challenges? Discover the best ways to conquer common remote work challenges.

Is it worth it? Let me work it

You don’t have to be an enterprise-level company to have a remote work policy. What you need is trust in your employees, open communication, and a willingness to try! Anyone can allow their employees to work remotely and there’s a good chance they’ll thank you for it.

Interested in learning more about remote work and building a distributed team? Check out other resources like this one in our WFH Hub.

50 Remote Work Statistics Shaping the Evolving Global Workforce Advances in technology are shaping where we do work, is your company prepared? These remote work statistics will both shock and inspire you to take a look at your own remote work policies. Learn what companies on the cutting edge of remote are learning about remote work in this guide. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/wfh-software-list@2x.png
Lauren Pope Lauren Pope is a former content marketer at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, the G2 Learning Hub, and other sites. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and singing karaoke. (she/her/hers) https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/_Logos/LaurenPopeUpdated.jpeg https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurenapope/

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