In a pre-pandemic world, it would have been incredibly tough to imagine in what ways the world around us would change – including the way in which we act out our daily lives and work.
But that doesn’t stop us from doing the research work for you. Here are some interesting remote work highlights and statistics:
Interesting Remote Work Highlights
- Telecommuting can save you up to $5000 per year in transportation costs.
- Productivity had increased by up to 13% for remote workers YoY.
- Large businesses could save an average of $11.3 million per year if they allowed remote work.
- Over half (55%) of employees surveyed prefer to work remotely at least 3 days a week.
- 29% of employers surveyed felt that employees need to come to the office at least 3 days a week to maintain company work culture.
- 52% of employees wanted a hybrid virtual-working model post-pandemic.
- 68% of employees surveys feel that their organizations have either not communicated or poorly communicated their vision for post-pandemic work.
With this massive shakeup, we’ve decided to look at the 10 most fascinating Work-From-Home Stats that we think you should know about. These stats reflect the deep change occurring in our economy as well as our overall mental health, wellbeing, and productivity.
Is working from home a step in the right direction, or should we return to normal as soon as possible? You can draw your own conclusions based on these stats, and see for yourself in what ways our adaptation succeeds or falls short.
Our own conclusion is right at the very end.
1. Before the pandemic, only 17% of the population worked from home. Now it’s upwards of 44%!
If you’re wondering just how big of a monumental shift the pandemic was to the workforce and how we engage in business – just 17% of Statistia respondents said they worked from home 5 days a week.
After April 2020, though, this number shot up to 44% of respondents. Needless to say, working from home has never been more prevalent than it is now. But what does this mean for workers and businesses? It means more time saved on commutes which has a positive impact on the environment and it also helps employers save money on office rentals and stationery items.
2. Nearly 80% of remote-working employees say they’re more productive when they’re working from home, as opposed to clocking in at work for the same amount of time.
According to CoSo Cloud’s findings, 77% of at-home workers claim that they feel more productive. The reasoning is highly variable – it could be that they’re simply more comfortable at home, in a familiar place without any pressure from onlookers.
It could also be that they get to allocate their time a bit more efficiently, revolving around when they feel is more productive or insightful. Perhaps their boss that always talks their ear off not being around seriously helps them get work done. The list goes on, but the next stat may give the most universal answer to this question.
3. 37% of all US remote workers stay productive by taking effective breaks.
Participants of Airtasker’s survey seem to believe that taking consistent, regular breaks was their most effective tool at combating laziness and inefficiency. Taking a mental and physical breather from the task at hand is known to refresh you when you come back to it, so managing your time with breaks chunked in there may be an incredible way to continue to feel mentally agile and not overstimulated and overworked.
The ability to work from home and schedule yourself means that naturally, you are much more free to pencil in breaks here and there, it is possibly one of the biggest strengths this workstyle has.
4. One way travel time was at an all-time-high in 2019 – nearly 30 minutes.
(U.S. Census Bureau)
According to a recent Census Bureau report, the average one-way commute was approximately 27.6 minutes in 2019. In 2006, around 15% of commuters had travel times under 10 minutes, but this number declined to just under 12% in 2019. For workers who faced an hour or more of one-way commute time to work, things only got worse, ballooning to a hair under 10% in 2019!
When it comes to increased productivity and efficiency, waking up extra early for your 30 minutes to hour-long commute certainly doesn’t help. It exerts unneeded pressure on our mind and body, and remote work completely cuts that out! Perhaps the lack of commute is a serious factor in reducing inefficiency in the remote workplace. It is also beneficial to the environment according to Carbon Trust – who believe that remote work could result in annual savings of over 3 million tonnes of carbon in the UK.
While there certainly are a lot of positive statistics and data out there, remote work isn’t without its flaws. Our next two statistics will bring us back down to earth a bit, and temper expectations of working from home and the “new normal”.
5. Over a quarter of remote workers feel like they can never ‘unplug’, and are always liable to work at a moment’s notice.
27% of workers polled by Statista felt that the biggest challenge they faced when working in the new normal was that they could never unplug from their work. It is conveniently on their computer, present in their home at all times. This puts a lot of stress and pressure on us to be able to attend to work matters at all times of the day.
Your computer is there, you’re stuck at home, “what else are you better off doing?” your employer might think. Because of this, a lot of people lose the ability to compartmentalize and separate work from home, something that used to be a safe haven for many. If you love what you do, this may not be a huge issue, but even then it can certainly get exhausting. Experts suggest that it is important to separate your work from your life when working remotely.
A few ways of doing this is by:
- Setting up your home-office away from your bedroom
- Doing nothing but work in your designated home workspace
- Leaving your workspace when you would leave the office
6. A whopping 40% of telecommute workers have trouble with loneliness and difficulty collaborating from afar.
Easily the gloomiest statistic here is the relative sense of isolation and “other” that remote workers tend to feel after working independently or freelancing over time. Because the “new normal” creates an environment where we are best left isolated and to ourselves, working with others has become even more of a challenge.
Collaborating online is difficult, and not always as clear-cut as meetings in person are. Coupled with the fact that 20% of workers felt increasingly lonely in 2020, interaction with others is at an all-time low in the workplace. While it is incredibly convenient like never before, for those that are particularly extroverted, working in an isolated from-home manner is not always a change for the better.
7. 65% of workers want to remain full-time remote employees.
Respondents of a Flexjob survey state that they would love to be a remote employee full time, with an additional 31% stating that they’d enjoy a hybridized environment. A hybrid work model means that there would be a mixture of both in-person events and meetings, but also the option to work from home for certain other days in the week – perhaps a 50/50 split across the week.
These two groups together make up 91% of that survey population, meaning that despite all the negativity that the pandemic threw at us, the positives of this style of work seem to be outweighing the negatives that were also experienced.
8. To a quarter of people, the ability to work from home is more attractive than an extra 10-20% raise!
Probably one of the more shocking statistical results here, based on the previous FlexJobs survey, was that over a quarter of people (27%) would rather be able to work from home that they would gladly take a position that would pay 10 to 20% less or a similar pay cut.
In terms of loyalty, 81% say that they would be more loyal to their current employer in particular if they had more flexible work options, like the ability to work from home.
9. Working from home increases overall job satisfaction compared to working in-office.
Despite all that 2020 threw at us, a WorkForce Happiness Index Report by CNBC found that in general, remote employees were more satisfied with their jobs than workers who had to do in-person officework.
The breakdown was 57% of all remote workers feeling adequately satisfied compared to just 50% of all in-person workers. Across the board, remote employees were more positive in their responses, which is a staggering result.
10. Remote work could increase business’ success – upwards of $334 billion a year!
(Global Workplace Analytics)
Tangentially related to the idea of productivity increasing the money saved from workplace distractions. Studies show that productivity has increased anywhere between 15% to 55%, and based on the average, this productivity adds up to over six million man-years of work!
This cost-saving adds up to anywhere between $334 billion to possibly $467 billion per year! Not only does productivity help workers enjoy their work more and balance out their personal lives better, but helps businesses’ bottom line!
11. The number of Americans working from home shot up to 60% in May 2020
(Great Place to Work)
Before the pandemic, only 5% of Americans were working from home. This figure rose to 60% in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Apart from a high number of people working from home, according to a survey ran by GreatPlacetoWork analyzing comments from employees at Fortune 500 companies, the most common phrases were, “experiencing high productivity”, “genuinely love” & “positive atmosphere”.
What conclusions can be drawn?
Statistics alone are always a nice highlight-reel of easily consumable information, but what do these numbers tell us? Is working from home good, or bad? In the end, it really depends on what perspective you’re looking at it from.
The current work-from-home economy has incredible upsides – increased productivity, a sense of employee freedom, the comforts of home, and in general, increased happiness. In its current state, it also houses some worrying problems – no separation of work and leisure, increasing loneliness, and a lack of collaboration and deterioration of interpersonal skills and events.
For many of us, the pandemic’s “new normal” was more than just about maintaining a distance from others to prevent our own sickness, but protecting the health of our immediate family and friends.
One of the ways we could best protect the people we loved was by near-universal adoption of a “work-from-home economy”. This type of economy is one that is relatively uncommon for the West and revolves around temporary freelance jobs and flexible work. Traditional businesses focus more on independent contractors, short-term workers than ever before.
The reason being that there grew a massive need for the service industry and an increasing pool of newly available workers. Following this, traditional businesses have also begun taking a hard look at the desire for flexibility, full-time employee satisfaction, and retention. Needless to say, it has been an incredibly volatile time for us all.
Many people view the situation as having a binary solution, we either return back to normal completely, waking up at 6 to clock in at 7, or we continue in the “new normal” of a desolate home workplace. The reality is that the best course of action is somewhere in the middle. The concept of being able to get your morning coffee, sit at the kitchen table and start your workday in a relaxed state is incredible.
But the interpersonal aspects many of us have been craving this past year also have an incredibly positive impact on us as well, for all of “traditional workplace’s” faults. Successfully normalizing the ability to work from home because we want to, not because we have to, is the key to balance. By not feeling trapped and isolated, with the knowledge that we can separate from work, unplug and go out, while also being able to give yourself breaks that fit your personal work behaviour is the happy medium we should strive for.
Traditional businesses should love the increased productivity and employees should love the increased freedom and general satisfaction of feeling more “in control”. The new normal as it stands has very saddening mental health flaws, as well as usually translating to a lower wage, but with a few tweaks and mixing with the old normal, the work-from-home economy can flourish.
With increasing legitimacy and recognition from traditional businesses and experienced workers who know how to manage themselves efficiently from home, you can really have the best of both worlds.