Remote work statistics 2023
As remote work continues to reshape the professional world, understanding the latest data can provide valuable insights into the future direction of the workforce.
But, we have to dig deeper to answer questions such as “What is the future of remote work in 2023?” and “Is remote work increasing or decreasing?”.
We’ll look back on remote work statistics before and after COVID-19 and the percentage of remote workers in 2022 and 2021 to see how they relate to emerging working-from-home trends.
Finally, we’ll reflect on the opinions of both remote workers and employers to see whether their expectations for remote work in 2023 align.
Table of Contents
Statistics that answer the question: Why remote work?
First things first — let’s learn why people choose to work remotely.
When it comes to the overall remote work experience, Buffer’s 2022 State of the Remote Work Report revealed that 61% of people consider it a positive experience. Also, it’s encouraging to know that no one said that remote work was or is a negative experience for them.
So, why do people want to work from home, especially when they haven’t worked remotely before the pandemic?
Reason #1: Remote work is a choice
For some, working remotely or working from home is a matter of choice.
According to the Pew Research Center study COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Reshape Work in America, 57% of respondents said they rarely or never worked from home before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The study compares data from October 2020 and January 2022.
Interestingly, only 36% of respondents said they chose not to work from their office in October 2020.
In January 2022, 61% of respondents said the same.
In October 2020, 64% said they worked from home because they couldn’t go to the office. The number dropped to 38% in January 2022.
Overall, people consciously chose to work from home — especially in 2022, when companies started to reopen their offices.
|With jobs that could be done from home but |
who are working from home all or most of the time
|Who chose not to work from their office||36%||61%|
|Working from home because |
their workplace is closed or unavailable to them
“I’m working from home because my wife’s career requires her to be in town. She’s a violinist in a chamber orchestra and performs with them several times a week. Being remote allows her to keep her job and not force us to choose between my current job and her career.”
In a remote workers survey from February 2023, the Pew Research Center found that now approximately 35% of US employees work remotely all the time. Although this is a 46% decline compared to data from January 2022, remote work has still changed how people perceive and complete work.
Namely, the survey highlights that around 41% of people whose job aligns with remote work have adopted a hybrid schedule. They’re at the office or workplace on some days, while they work from home on others.
Reason #2: Remote work is a preference
Some people simply like to work from home.
In their State of Remote Work 2022 Report, Owl Labs found that interest in remote and hybrid work rose by 24% and 16%, respectively, compared to findings from the years before. On the other hand, interest in in-office work dropped by 24%. Despite returning to in-office work, 57% of respondents preferred working from home full-time.
Interestingly, if their flexibility to work remotely were taken off the table, 66% of respondents would begin looking for a new job that better supports their priorities. Another 33% would quit, which demonstrates employee appreciation for more fluid approaches.
The report also underscores the gap between employee expectations and company workplace policies.
In 2022, employee preference for full-time remote positions peaked at 42%, with only 31% of employees willing to offer such roles. Similarly, with 30% of employers endorsing full-time on-site work, only 20% of workers were interested in these positions.
|Prefer working from home||60%||76%|
|Afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus||57%||42%|
|Chose to work from home due to childcare responsibilities||45%||32%|
|Chose to work from home because |
they have moved away from their place of work
Reason #3: Remote work contributes to happiness at work
According to The Future of Remote Rork Report (2022), published by Zapier, people choose to work remotely because it makes them happy.
They attribute their contentment to the flexibility that remote work provides, allowing them to achieve a work-life balance crucial to their overall well-being.
Moreover, 96% of remote workers agree that work-life balance is integral to their happiness at work.
The impact of remote work, however, extends beyond just the workplace. It seeps into people’s personal lives, shaping their lifestyles outside work.
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For example, most respondents appreciate the flexibility that remote work gives them to attend to family life.
Others also say that remote work improves employee morale and helps with their savings.
|When it comes to the benefits, people believe remote work…||Percentage|
|Contributes to happiness at work||91%|
|Gives the flexibility to attend to family life||66%|
In the Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2022 report, 86% of employees believe they would be happier if given the possibility of fully remote or hybrid work. Some would even be willing to take a pay cut for the possibility of working remotely.
Reason #4: Highly educated employed adults with higher incomes choose remote work more often
As the Pew Research Center reported, employees who are highly educated and earn higher salaries are the most likely to say that their work can be done from home.
About 38% of US adults who are full-time or part-time employees say that they can do their job from home, for the most part. However, 62% say their jobs can’t be done remotely.
Of the 59% of employed adults with work-from-home jobs, 65% have a Bachelor’s degree, and 67% have a higher income.
|How common is remote work, |
depending on income and education
|All employed adults with work-from-home jobs||59%|
|Bachelor’s degree +||65%|
|College or less||53%|
Statistics showing where remote employees work from
Regardless of why people opt for remote work, the experience can vary widely among employees.
With the sudden expansion of remote work, both employers and employees had to quickly adapt to new work and living conditions.
We often hear that remote work has become a new normal for many people, but what does that actually mean?
What does working from home really look like?
Where do remote employees usually work from?
How many have moved in search of work?
To answer these questions, let’s dive deeper into what working from home is truly like.
The modern remote office isn’t strictly a ‘real home office’
Owl Labs found in their State of Remote Work 2021 Report that not everyone working remotely during the pandemic worked from the comfort of their homes.
Although an actual home office was the most popular choice for 73% of people, others also worked from their bedrooms and closets.
|Modern remote office choices||Percentage|
|Coffee shop or restaurant||25%|
Buffer’s findings for 2023 show that 82% of remote workers choose their homes as their primary work location. Only 5% stated they work from coworking spaces, while 2% preferred to work in coffee shops.
Many had to move, some even a few times
Moving isn’t uncharted territory for remote employees.
In addition to changing their place of work, some remote workers changed their place of living, too.
According to the State of Remote Work 2021 Report done by Owl Labs, people moved a lot during the pandemic.
The data shows that:
- About 78% moved away from an urban location,
- Some 47% moved to suburbia,
- 41% moved to another state, and
- Only 13% moved to another country.
|Where did people move during the pandemic?||Percentage|
|Moved from an urban location||78%|
|Moved from an urban location to suburbia||58%|
|Moved from a suburban location||47%|
|Moved to another state||41%|
|Moved from suburbia to a rural location||24%|
|Moved from suburbia to an urban location||23%|
|Moved from an urban to a rural location||20%|
|Moved to a different country||13%|
A 2022 data survey released by Upwork supports the claim that remote work continues to contribute to employee relocation. The report estimated that around 9.3% of employees planned to move due to full-time remote work.
The study focused on the US employment market, so this percentage translates to roughly 19 million people.
Additionally, 28% of people intent on moving have decided to relocate to a place more than 4 hours away from their current residence. This timeframe implies a non-commutable distance, showing how remote work weakens the bonds between company location and employee residence.
Statistics showing the overall impact of remote work
Things have changed for employed adults who rarely or never worked from home before the COVID-19 pandemic but currently work from home at least some of the time.
The key findings from the State of Remote Work 2022 report by Owl Labs support this sentiment.
A whopping 86% and 85% of employees believe that the ability to work remotely would contribute to their happiness and a better work-life balance, respectively.
But, what can we learn from employee productivity statistics?
Around 11% of employees feel less productive when working remotely, while approximately 62% believe remote work has boosted their productivity.
Owl Labs’ findings indicate that Gen Z workers feel the most productive in a remote environment. On the other hand, Boomers think that remote work significantly dampens their productivity.
However, the office still ensures peak performance and efficiency for some activities, such as meeting new people and team management.
Employee opinion is split when it comes to meeting deadlines. For 42%, working from home is more effective. On the flip side, a nearly equal 41% feel the office is more conducive to meeting deadlines. This breakdown is likely the result of several factors, including how different employees prefer to do their work.
When it comes to equity in the workplace, the concerns of remote workers are more palpable. An article from Forbes summarizes their fears, namely that leadership and career advancement opportunities will remain reserved for on-site workers.
Let’s go further into detail and examine the impact of remote work across:
- Industries, and
Statistics showing the impact of remote work across genders
According to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) estimates, 147 million women and 113 million men worked from home in 2019.
Worldwide, women only make up about 38% of the workforce. However, they are the majority at 58% in remote work, data from GitLab’s Remote Work Report 2021 shows.
Women are more likely to work from home
In 2019, women accounted for 56% of all home-based workers, ILO reported in Working from home: From invisibility to decent work.
The data from Owl Labs for 2022 also shows that the inclination of women to work from home is much higher than that of men.
|Preferred working style||Women||Men|
The report Women in the Workplace 2022 from McKinsey shows similar findings, with 9 out of 10 women gravitating towards remote work.
But, why do women have a greater tendency to work from home?
Well, in addition to being employees, most women across the globe are also homemakers and caregivers.
By choosing to work from their homes, they can combine their care responsibilities and paid work — even if it means working longer hours.
Let’s explore what other benefits both women and men can enjoy when working from home.
According to the Pew Research Center findings, both men and women find it equally easy to balance work and personal life when working from home.
Yet, when it comes to getting work done, meeting deadlines, and advancing their careers, women seem to handle working from home better than men. And, as the McKinsey report highlights, women report fewer instances of microaggressions when working remotely.
|Remote work makes it…||Women||Men|
|Easier to balance work and personal life||Equally likely||Equally likely|
|Easier to get work done and meet deadlines||51%||37%|
|Easier to advance in their career||19%||9%|
Men are more likely to work 10+ additional hours a week when working remotely
Putting in more hours seems reserved for men, the Owl Labs report revealed. They are 41% more likely to work 10+ additional hours per week.
In contrast, women report working the same hours as they did when working in the office.
However, data shows that gendered differences persist and that women focus more on family tasks. For example, a study examining dual-earner couples from the Ohio State University underscores that women who work remotely are more likely to feel the need to complete more chores than their partners. These blurred lines between work and life may sometimes lead to burnout and overwhelming guilt.
Women report being more productive in remote settings
According to data from Viewpoint on Remote Work Depends on Gender, Ethnicity, Industry published in SHRM, both men and women agree they are more productive when working remotely.
Yet, women reported being slightly more productive than men.
Namely, 40% of women say they are more productive in a remote work environment, while 35% of men feel the same.
Statistics showing the impact of remote work across generations
There are currently 5 generations making up the global workforce:
- Traditionalist (1928–1945),
- Baby Boomer (1946–1964),
- Generation X (1965–1980),
- Millennial (1981–1994), and
- Generation Z (1995 and younger).
However, today’s workforce mainly consists of Millennials and Gen Zs, whose diverse people-oriented and socially-responsible world views are making companies reevaluate how they do business.
Moreover, some estimates state that Millennials will comprise about 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
On the other hand, Gen Z is considered the future workforce — more and more Gen Zs are expected to join the global workforce as they age.
But, how has remote work impacted these two (and other) generations?
What do they expect from their employers?
What are they ready to do to find the job that suits them best?
We’ll have to examine data on how remote work has impacted several generations to gain deeper insight.
Most Gen Z and Millennials want a hybrid or remote work arrangement
According to Deloitte’s survey — based on the responses of 23,220 participants from 46 countries — 75% of Gen Zs and 76% of Millennials would prefer a hybrid or remote work arrangement.
In contrast, 19% of Gen Zs and 20% of Millennials would choose a permanent in-office work environment.
|A hybrid or remote work arrangement||76%||75%|
|Always working remotely||14%||12%|
|Working in a hybrid company||62%||63%|
|A permanent in-office work environment||20%||19%|
However, the same survey found that 49% of Gen Zs and 45% of Millennials currently have the option to work remotely at least some of the time.
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More than half of Millennials and Gen Zs are considering a job change
For Millennials and Gen Zs, job changes aren’t uncommon. These generations know what they look for in an employer and aren’t afraid to keep looking until they find a perfect match.
According to Microsoft’s report Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work Report, 52% of Gen Z and Millennials were expected to consider changing employers in 2022.
Moreover, about 52% of Gen Z and Millennials combined may change jobs in 2023.
By comparison, the same report found that only 35% of Gen X and Boomers say they’re considering a job change.
Gen Z is the generation most likely to shift to remote work
Another finding by Microsoft showed that 56% of Gen Z are considering a shift to remote work in the year ahead.
To be able to work remotely, about 52% of Gen Z hybrid employees would move to a new location, too.
Both Millennials and Gen Z are okay with leaving their current jobs
In their 2021 survey, Deloitte found that nearly 1 in 4 Millennials planned to leave their jobs within the year.
Moreover, in their 2022 survey, Deloitte discovered that 40% of Gen Zs and almost 24% of Millennials would like to leave their jobs within two years.
Furthermore, about 32% of Millenials and 35% of Gen Zs would leave their jobs without having another job waiting for them.
Pay is the main reason for job-hopping among Millennials and Gen Z
In their report that closely examined Millennials and Gen Zs, Deloitte found that pay is the main reason they left a role in the last 2 years.
According to the previously mentioned Buffer report, Gen Z is more likely to approve of pay being tied to a specific location. On the other hand, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers are less likely to approve of this.
Millennials and Gen Z are likely to earn more money through side jobs and businesses.
Microsoft’s Remote Work Report revealed that in 2023, as many as 70% of Gen Z are considering earning additional income outside their current employer via a side project or business.
In addition, 67% of Millennials say they are considering earning more through side projects or business in the upcoming years.
Besides these findings, research about Gen Z as employees from the General Center for Kinetics identified several factors that motivate this generation to continue working at a job after they’ve tried it for the first week. These are:
- A flexible schedule,
- Liking their boss, and
- Bringing their authentic self to work.
Saving money is the biggest remote work benefit for Millennials and Gen Z
For Millennials and Gen Z, the benefits of remote work vary.
In their survey, Deloitte discovered the 5 most common benefits for Gen Z and Millennials employees working remotely:
- Saving money — on commuting, clothing, dry cleaning, etc.,
- Being able to relocate away from their place of work,
- Being able to work more efficiently,
- Freeing up time for hobbies and other activities, and
- Spending more time with family and friends.
Another significant insight is that both generations think remote work positively impacts their mental health.
Statistics showing the impact of remote work across industries
Considering the nature of each industry, it’s no wonder that not all industries have adapted to remote work similarly.
It’s also unsurprising that many couldn’t make the necessary adjustments to provide their workforce with the best remote working conditions.
What industries offer the most opportunities for remote work?
What industries are the least likely to operate remotely?
Let’s look at some data.
Legal occupations had the most opportunities to work remotely
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from November 2022, about 50% of employees in legal occupations had the opportunity to work from home.
Computer and mathematical occupations come in second, with 47.6% allowed to work remotely.
Business and financial services roles take third place with 40.8%.
|Top 5 occupations with the best opportunities for remote work||Percentage|
|Computer and mathematical||47.6%|
|Business and financial operations||40.8%|
|Architecture and engineering||29.3%|
Software and IT industries are the most likely to embrace remote work
Companies from the public administration sector were the least likely to have a full-time remote work option — at only 25%.
Interestingly, the public administration sector was more likely to offer hybrid work — at 41% — and flexible hours — at 32%. This is slightly lower than the percentage of the legal sector offering hybrid work (49%) and a bit higher than the healthcare sector (40%).
Here are the remote work statistics on a few other industries:
|Industries that are embracing remote work||Percentage|
|Software and IT||48%|
|Transportation and logistics||46%|
According to research from Remote, some industries are embracing remote work more quickly than others. These 5 industries lead the way in remote job postings in 2022:
- Management & Consulting with 19.4%,
- Media & Communication with 15.9%,
- Information Technology with 15.4%,
- Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology with 14.0%, and
- Personal Consumer Services with 13.8%.
For some industries and occupations, remote work isn’t an option
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some occupations and industries can’t operate in a remote work setting. These include:
- Protective service,
- Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance,
- Personal care and service,
- Construction and extraction, and
- Farming, fishing, and forestry.
Statistics showing the impact of remote work across countries
Remote work is also referred to as:
- Work from home,
- Teleworking, and
- Work from anywhere.
As such, it doesn’t tie employees to a specific office location.
We’re going to look at some remote work statistics and see what they tell us about different countries.
We’ll aim to answer questions such as:
- Which countries are best for remote workers?
- Where is the internet speed the highest?
- Which countries are still not fully embracing remote work?
Portugal is ranked the best country for remote workers
In their Work from Wherever Guide, Kayak has listed the 100 best countries for remote workers.
They ranked the countries based on 6 different categories. Then, they compared the countries based on their remote working conditions and the opportunities they offer for exploring outside the usual 9–5 routine.
The 6 categories include:
- Travel (accessibility; hotel, car, and fuel prices),
- Local costs (apartment rental prices per month and day; transport, food, and restaurant prices),
- Health and safety (political stability; air pollution; LGBT equality; road safety),
- Remote work (remote work visas; co-working spaces; internet speeds),
- Social life (English proficiency; culture; bars and clubs per capita), and
- Weather (precipitation, temperature).
Portugal is first on this list, scoring 100 out of 100 points. It’s one of the first countries to have launched the world’s first digital nomad village, Digital Nomads Madeira.
Spain, Romania, Mauritius, and Japan follow suit, scoring slightly less than Portugal.
|Top 10 countries for remote workers and digital nomads||Points|
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Lisbon is the city digital nomads flock to
With endless possibilities and locations, remote workers can find it hard to pick their next “office.”
To help narrow their choice down, Kayak made sure to examine the global data and choose the top-trending workcation destinations around the globe.
Lisbon is first on the list, followed by San José and São Paulo.
Here’s a list of 10 cities that are excellent choices for remote work, exploring, and new adventures.
|Top 10 trending workcation destinations|
|San José (Costa Rica)|
|São Paulo (Brazil)|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)|
|Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)|
|San Juan (Puerto Rico)|
|Mexico City (Mexico)|
The Netherlands overtake Germany with the highest percentage of remote workers
According to research conducted by Instant Offices, Germany led the way in the remote and flexible work trend during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 80% of businesses adopted flexible working policies, with 68% of their employees thinking flexible work was the new norm.
The Netherlands followed suit, with 75% of companies operating under flexible working policies and 73% of employees considering this a new standard.
However, comparing remote work statistics before and after COVID-19 indicate that the leaderboard has shifted.
A recent survey from Microstartups shows the Netherlands as the country with the highest percentage of remote workers at 13.7%. The Dutch boast a high happiness index and many Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing them to work from home (or anywhere, really) without difficulty.
But, the cost of living in the country can be high for digital nomads without a competitive salary. This fact may deter some people from visiting the Netherlands and sticking around to work remotely.
The Netherlands loses the top spot when we consider 4 essential factors in the remote work shift:
- Physical and digital infrastructure,
- COVID-19 handling and response,
- Cybersecurity, and
- Social and economic conditions.
NordLayer used the above criteria to calculate the Global Remote index of 66 countries. The Netherlands comes in at 6th place, with Germany retaking the lead. Here’s what the top 10 list looks like in its entirety.
|Best countries for remote workers|
Some countries have remote work regulations in place
When the pandemic forced many to work from home, it highlighted the challenges of remote work.
As a result, some countries have updated their labor laws to regulate working remotely. Although some countries already had a form of remote work laws, some of those regulations had never been put into practice.
The changes to remote work legislation include:
- Requiring written agreements for remote work,
- Obligating employers to provide workers with the necessary equipment and cover related costs like internet, and
- Prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers based on gender, age, professional group, disability, or seniority.
Today, more countries, such as Luxembourg, Taiwan, Spain, and Angola, have joined in enacting telework regulations.
|Countries that have remote work regulations in place|
France and Japan remain the top countries to resist remote work
While some countries are introducing or changing existing laws to regulate remote work and provide better working conditions to those who work outside the office, others refuse to fully embrace this trend.
In Japan and France, there’s still some resistance to remote work.
A 2022 Ifop study for Fondation Jean-Jaurès shows that most employees in France prefer to work from the office, with only 29% expressing a desire to work from home at least once a week.
Moreover, only 14% of French employees would like to work remotely 4 days a week, and only 11% would work five days a week. These statistics indicate that French people perceive remote work as isolating and value social interaction.
Meanwhile, in Japan, the number of companies offering remote work has decreased, as data from a 2022 survey done by Tokyo Shōkō Research shows. Only 29% of Japanese companies allow remote work, meaning the remaining 71% offer no remote positions.
US and UK companies are more likely to allow employees to work completely remotely
Unlike France and Japan, where most companies don’t support remote work, some countries are more likely than others to allow their employees to work from home.
For example, GitLab’s Remote Work Report 2021 gathered information from 3,900 respondents based in:
- The US,
- The UK,
- South Africa,
- Brazil, and
- South Korea.
According to this data, businesses in the US and UK are much more inclined to allow their employees to work 100% remotely and in their own time than those in South Africa, Brazil, and South Korea.
Based on data from Employment Hero’s 2022 Remote Work report, Australia follows closely behind the UK, the US, and Canada.
In Australia, more than half of knowledge workers (55%) work remotely to some extent, while 45% are back in the office full-time. These figures suggest that both employers and employees are embracing remote work.
Macau is the country with the fastest broadband internet speed
High-speed internet is one of the prerequisites for modern digital work, especially for the global remote workforce.
Luckily for remote employees, the internet has never been faster. According to research by cable.co.uk from 2022, Macau has the fastest internet in the world — its internet speed has been estimated at 262.74 Mbps.
The jurisdiction of Jersey holds the honorable second place with 256.59 Mbps — and Iceland is third, with 216.56 Mbps.
|Fastest internet||Speed (Mbps)|
Qatar has the fastest mobile internet speed
For some remote workers, using their mobile devices to do business is the norm. That’s why fast mobile internet is vital to remote work since it helps eliminate major disruptions.
As data from Ookla shows, mobile download speeds increased by approximately 17% in 2022 alone. The numbers revealed that Qatar has the fastest mobile internet speed — 176.18 Mbps. The United Arab Emirates follows suit with 139.41 Mbps, and Norway comes in third with 131.54 Mbps.
|Fastest mobile internet||Speed (Mbps)|
|The United Arab Emirates||139.41|
Statistics showing the most common remote work structure
Remote work isn’t the same for everyone.
Some work remotely 5 days a week and meet their teammates only on special occasions — like team-building activities or other corporate events.
Others work mainly from the office, with occasional work-from-home days.
Based on the time employees spend working remotely, we can make a distinction between the following work structures:
- Fully remote,
- Hybrid and flexible hybrid,
- Office occasional,
- Office first, remote allowed, and
- Fully on-site.
With so many diverse choices available, what have companies implemented so far? What are their plans for the future?
What work model are employees currently working under?
Now, let’s dive into the data.
The majority of employees work remotely in some way
In its State of Remote Work 2022, Buffer has found that about 72% of respondents currently work under some type of remote work structure — either fully remote (49%) or in a remote-first company (23%).
Only 11% work on-site, with the possibility of working remotely.
|The most common remote work structure||Percentage|
|Office first, remote allowed||11%|
According to Microsoft’s annual report and based on LinkedIn’s data, the number of remote work jobs offered is also on the rise.
In March 2020, 1 in 67 US jobs offered a remote work option.
Two years later, about 1 in 7 US jobs offered a remote work option.
Moreover, remote jobs on LinkedIn attract 2.6 times more views and almost 3 times more applicants than on-site roles.
More than half of companies operate in a fully remote setting
Based on the data from the Global Virtual Teams Survey Report 2022 conducted by CultureWizard, about 89% of companies function as fully remote, remote-first, or remote-friendly companies.
Of those, 61% are remote, and 11% are on-site.
|Type of work model||Percentage|
The majority of employers implement the hybrid model
In addition to being fully remote, companies primarily work under the hybrid model.
In an Achievers Workforce Institute survey of 952 HR leaders and more than 2,000 employees, data showed that in 2021 most employers operated under the hybrid work model — 60% of them.
About 27% were fully remote, while only 13% were fully in-office.
According to GitLab’s 2021 Remote Work Report, 42% of companies are hybrid.
What do remote work statistics before and after COVID-19 tell us about implementing the hybrid model?
Many companies prefer adopting a hybrid schedule over operating an entirely remote workforce, as data from the State of Remote Work Report 2022 by Owl Labs suggests.
Employee preference for remote positions rose to 42%, with 31% of employers willing to fulfill these wishes. On the other hand, the gap is much narrower regarding the hybrid model. Employer preference for a schedule with 1-4 days of in-office work measured 29%, with an employee interest of 31%.
There are many misconceptions about remote work, and one of the chief ones is that employees can work from anywhere without restrictions. While this is sometimes true, it largely depends on company policy.
The following table illustrates what remote and hybrid workers in the US can expect.
|Type of work model||2021||2022|
Statistics showing the most preferred remote work structure
Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report 2022 states that about 86% of remote employees would like to keep working in a remote setting — be it fully remote (56%) or remote-first (30%).
As few as 3% would like to go back to the office.
|The most preferred remote work structure among employees||Percentage|
|Office first, remote allowed||3%|
Yet, when it comes to remote work, employees and companies seem to have diverging preferences.
Let’s explore that in more depth in the lines below.
Employers and employees aren’t completely on the same page about remote work
As shown by the State of Remote Work 2022 Report by Owl Labs, the majority of remote workers would like to keep working from home.
The data shows that while employees are less interested in full-time office positions, companies are less keen to go fully remote. As a result, the hybrid model is the only area where employees and employers come close to reaching common ground.
|Preferred working style||2021||2022|
Employees generally prefer working from home
Back in 2019, 84% of people chose to work from home, Buffer found in its State of Remote Work Report 2019.
However, the report from 2022 by Buffer revealed that 59% would opt for working from home if the pandemic ended immediately.
|2019 State of Remote Work Report||2022 State of Remote Work Report|
|84% of people chose to work from home||59% of people say they want to primarily work from home (if the pandemic ended now)|
|16% chose to work from coworking spaces, coffee shops, libraries, or other locations||41% said they want to work primarily from other locations (if the pandemic ended now)|
People are willing to move to be able to work remotely
Microsoft’s report from 2022 revealed that about 38% of employees would consider moving because they can’t work remotely at their current job. The number was 46% in 2021.
Additionally, 30% of people are likely to consider a move in the upcoming year, even if it requires finding a new job that lets them work remotely.
“For me, it’s fully remote, 100%. I don’t miss the office at all. I find fully remote easier. I just don’t like anything that is forced on me. I think that the value of freedom is very high on my priority list.”
Employers mostly lean toward hybrid work models
The 2022 Return to Work Trends Survey by the Achievers Workforce Institute shows that about 61% of employers want to continue operating entirely or partly remotely.
Moreover, 90% of senior executives expect to work from home in the future.
Around 24% don’t allow remote work, and about 15% would like to return to the office.
|Type of work model employers want in the future||Percentage|
|Hybrid (partly remote)||35%|
|Remote work not allowed||24%|
Some employees also prefer hybrid work
For some employees, hybrid and remote work are “the new normal” even if the pandemic is no longer an issue.
In its Future of Work Survey, PwC found that more than half of employees would prefer a remote or hybrid work arrangement.
Only 21% said that the nature of their work doesn’t allow for remote work.
|Employees who prefer hybrid work||Percentage|
|Almost entirely remote (4 days remote)||8%|
|Mostly remote (3 days remote)||17%|
|Mostly in office (2 days remote)||12%|
|Almost entirely in the office (1 day or less remote)||22%|
|N/A – The nature of my work doesn’t allow me to work remotely||21%|
No matter what work model they opt for, companies should properly support their employees to help them adapt more quickly.
What are companies doing to support remote work?
What changes have they introduced to ensure a high employee experience?
We’ll find out in the next section of this guide.
Statistics showing how companies support remote work
When working remotely, a lot is at stake.
When the pandemic started, handling a remote team was a novelty for many managers and leaders, so they had to learn on the go.
To support remote work arrangements and protect their employees’ mental health, about 45% of companies implemented flexible scheduling and remote work options, WorkTango’s 2022 Workplace Trends report revealed.
All of this is to nurture employee and manager well-being and prevent burnout.
Buffer’s latest report also recorded several ways companies facilitate remote work.
About 51% of remote workers said their companies help them connect with colleagues for work.
Moreover, 93% of employees said their organization trusts them to work remotely.
After all, trust in remote teams is essential.
According to GitLab, about 82% of workers praised their leadership for understanding how to operate a team remotely in 2021. And 80% of workers said their leadership team provides them agency and autonomy while working remotely.
Let’s see what else companies offer to support remote work.
Way #1: Some companies offer flexible working hours
For some companies, introducing flexible working hours is one way to support their remote workers.
Buffer’s 2022 report revealed that 63% of employees said their companies offer flexible work.
About 30% said their companies don’t do this — but the employees wished they would.
In 2023, 71% of workers in Buffer’s survey stated that their company permits them to work remotely in some capacity.
Clearly, more employers have realized that flexible approaches could yield better results, leading us to a list of 5 companies offering flexible working hours.
Companies offering flexible working hours policy
According to a US Chamber article, many companies have decided to experiment with flexible working schedules.
So, here is the list of 5 famous companies that have already implemented a flexible working policy:
- American Express: The company offers flexible working hours and much more. It provides employees with contracts, including part-time, full-time, and remote work opportunities. Moreover, many positions include the ability to work from home if you’re a parent, live far away from the office, or in case of unexpected events.
- Automattic: The WordPress parent company offers employees a flexible working schedule, among other benefits. Its remote work policies proved so successful that the company closed its 15,000-square-foot office in San Francisco after people stopped using it.
- Dell: The company is one of the pioneers in flexible work scheduling. Since introducing a flexible working policy in 2009, Dell has built up its Connected Workplace program that allows employees to work remotely some or all of the time. The program encourages the employees to get the work done in whatever way suits them.
- InVision: This organization operates under a fully distributed work model and has employees in over 20 countries — but no central hub worldwide. Some of their employee benefits include a fully remote work environment, a pleasant company culture, and good pay.
- Upwork: Upwork has two offices (Chicago and San Francisco) but has been fully committed to a remote-work philosophy for over 20 years. In addition to allowing its employees to do their work from anywhere, Upwork also provides benefits such as family medical insurance, unlimited PTO policy, and 12-week fully paid parental leave with additional support.
Way #2: A small portion of companies have a no-meeting days policy
So, to make things a bit easier for their remote workers, about 37% of companies have implemented a no-meeting days policy in place, Buffer reported.
Moreover, about 42% of employees said their companies don’t do this but wished their employers would reconsider.
Companies offering no-meeting days policy
Let’s discuss 5 companies that have adopted a no-meeting days policy:
- TheSoul Publishing: This remote company has employees scattered across 70 countries. Although collaborating across many time zones is standard for the company, they have a “no-meeting” policy that helps boost productivity and gives employees more control over their time.
- Allianz Technology: The company trialed so-called ‘Silent Friday Mornings’ where no meetings were scheduled between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. It also allows employees to have dedicated focus times without meetings and a break between sessions to further support mental health.
- ESI Group: At the end of April 2021, the France-based corporation realized that meetings were bringing stress and disrupting workflows for their employees. To stop this and enhance their work-life balance and well-being, the company implemented a “No Meeting Wednesday,” allowing employees more flexibility in the organization of their work. The company has reported improved communication and collaboration and plans to implement a “Recharge Day” for all employees starting May 2023.
- Accenture: Back in June 2020, the company acknowledged that its employees were overworked and wanted to ensure a stress-free work environment. As a result, over the summer of 2020, Accenture’s US employees were encouraged to restrict the number of Friday meetings and finish conference calls at 5:30 p.m. every day.
- Citigroup: In late March 2021, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser implemented a Zoom-free Fridays policy to tackle the employees’ Zoom fatigue. Citigroup’s employees are now encouraged to take a step back from Zoom and other video conferencing tools just one day a week to help them set healthy work boundaries. The company also designated May 28 as a companywide holiday to have a day off and “reset.”
Way #3: Some companies have adopted a 4-day workweek
In an attempt to reduce the effects of burnout and the stress caused by the pandemic, some companies introduced a 4-day workweek (4DWW) policy.
In Buffer’s latest report on remote work, only 17% of respondents said their employer operates with a 4DWW policy.
Another 69% said they would like their company to work under this policy.
And, based on the data from the 2022 edition of LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey, which included answers from 19,010 employees, 54% said they would like to work 4 days a week.
Below, take a look at the remote companies offering a 4-day workweek.
Companies offering a 4-day workweek policy
For some companies, a 4-day workweek is already a reality:
- Buffer: The business has been operating on a 4DWW since May 2020. After a successful six-month trial period, the company realized that the 4DWW policy had significantly improved the employees’ productivity levels and given them a better work-life balance. After 3 years of this model, Buffer reports that 71% of employees don’t suffer from burnout and have more energy overall.
- Bolt: The company has made a four-day workweek a permanent policy for its employees. After a three-month trial period, about 94% said they would love to keep working under this policy, and 86% said they were more efficient with their time. Bolt officially formalized the four-day week starting January 1, 2022.
- Uncharted: Since June 2020, Uncharted has moved to the 4DWW policy — the employees would get 100% compensation for 80% of hours. The company experienced decreased workplace stress and improved mental health without dropping the ball on productivity.
- Wonderlic: Another remote company, Wonderlic, introduced a 4DWW in the fall of 2021. According to CEO Becca Callahan, there’s been an increase in productivity and employee engagement. In addition to a 32-hour workweek, Wonderlic offers premium healthcare plans and a competitive salary.
- Nectafy: The organization started offering the 4DWW in January 2020. Although headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Nectafy is a 100% remote company. For the employees, this translates to about 8 hours of work from Monday to Thursday and every Friday off. For the company, it included setting a permanent 4DWW policy and cutting meetings in half.
Statistics showing the changes coming with remote work
With a sudden shift to remote work, employers and employees had to find new ways to keep operations running.
Although Buffer’s 2022 report showed that most people (62%) are more excited about work since they started working remotely due to the pandemic, they had to undergo some changes, too.
Let’s look at what people say has changed since the global spread of remote work.
Change #1: Overall work conditions changed with remote work
The majority of changes affected the workplace itself. Here’s what changes respondents in Buffer’s report listed:
- For 56% of respondents, communication and collaboration have changed since they started working remotely.
- About 51% said they now engage in more video meetings.
- For 53% of respondents, work hours have changed.
- About 45% said the way they worked has changed.
- Only 8% said that nothing has changed since they started working remotely.
“Since I’ve started doing remote work, I feel more productive, energetic, and attracted to my work. I can balance my personal life and professional life while taking care of my mental health. If I don’t feel like working, I can take a pause and start working later on. This doesn’t only result in greater productivity but better results as well.”
Change #2: People tend to work more when working remotely
According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work Report 2021, 55% of respondents stated they worked more hours remotely than at the physical office.
Only 12% said they worked less, and 33% asserted they worked the same hours.
Buffer’s 2022 report uncovered similar data:
- 40% of respondents who shifted to remote work due to COVID-19 said they are working more since going remote.
- The same percentage said they are working the same as before.
- About 20% said they are working less.
|Has remote work impacted how much they work?||Percentage|
|They work more since going remote||40%|
|They work the same||40%|
|They work less now||20%|
Change #3: Most remote workers now prioritize mental health
Since some remote employees have been putting in more hours and weekend work, they have also started taking more care of their mental health.
Microsoft reports that about 53% of those surveyed — particularly parents (55%) and women (56%) — are more likely to prioritize their health and well-being now.
Another 47% are more likely to prioritize family and personal life over work.
That’s not to say that employees, especially those in middle-market companies, haven’t faced any mental health challenges.
A 2023 survey by RSM International and the US Chamber of Commerce found that executives identified isolation as the top mental health stressor for their employees. The survey results indicate that approximately 73% of remote workers felt isolated in 2022, while this figure sat at 68% the previous year.
Besides isolation, executives named the following issues that negatively impact employee mental health:
- Constant interruptions,
- Struggling to find an adequate home office space,
- A messy home, and
- Seemingly longer workdays.
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Change #4: Connecting in remote workplaces has become essential
Data from WorkTango’s 2022 Workplace Trends report shows that 90% of workers find connecting in the workplace important.
This is unsurprising since connection in the workplace contributes significantly to an employee’s:
- Overall sense of happiness,
- Desire to be productive, and
- Level of engagement in their work.
“Our co-founders get on calls with us as well and share their experiences of work and how things have been for them generally. It’s nice when you see them trying to understand the lingo of a couple of twenty-year-olds and even ask us doubts about whether they’ve guessed correctly. These moments really brought me closer to my team and the rest of the organization, and let me know that anyone I needed to speak to was just one message away.”
On the other hand, Buffer’s 2022 report disclosed that 52% of people who started working remotely due to COVID-19 felt less connected to their teammates.
About 30% felt that going remote did not impact this, while 18% said they felt more connected.
Around 38% of those who participated in GitLab’s remote work report in 2021 said that more visibility into the organization improved their sense of connection.
Another 34% noted that transparent communication from leadership leads to connectedness at work, too.
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Change #5: Executives and employees agree that there is trust between them
According to the Future of Work Survey done by PwC, almost the same number of executives (77%) and employees (72%) agree that leaders and employees have a high level of trust.
When individuals collaborate, trust becomes a vital ingredient. The PwC’s Future of Work Survey found that an almost equal percentage of executives (77%) and employees (72%) believe a strong sense of trust exists between leaders and their subordinates.
This suggests that trust is not only essential for interpersonal relationships but also crucial for organizational success.
|Opinion: Trust exists between leaders |
Change #6: Strong workplace relationships are important in a remote setting
When people trust each other, they are more likely to establish stronger relationships, Microsoft’s report stated.
Half of the remote employees said they had a thriving relationship with their direct team, while 42% said they had a flourishing relationship with people outside their closest team.
Microsoft also examined the impact of solid workplace relationships on those with thriving relationships and those with struggling connections outside and inside their team.
Here’s what they found.
The impact of strong workplace relationships for those with thriving relationships
When employees who generally have thriving workplace relationships establish strong relationships with their closest teammates, they:
- Report greater overall well-being (76%).
- Are more productive at work than the year before (50%).
- Are more likely to stay with their current employer longer than a year (61%).
When employees who generally enjoy thriving workplace relationships establish strong relationships with people outside of their immediate team, they:
- Feel the same or more fulfilled by work (79%).
- Are very satisfied with their employer (79%).
- Believe in the improvement of work-related stress (40%).
- Are more likely to stay with their current employer longer than a year (59%).
The impact of strong workplace relationships for those with struggling relationships
When employees with weak relationships at work bond with their team, they:
- Experience greater well-being (57%),
- Are more productive (36%), and
- Are more likely to stay at their job for over a year (39%).
On the other hand, when employees with poor workplace relationships form strong bonds with their immediate team, they:
- Feel equally or more fulfilled by their work (59%),
- Are highly satisfied with their employer (57%),
- Believe that work-related stress can improve (30%), and
- Are more likely to remain in their job for over a year (46%).
Change #7: Some remote employees feel unsure about returning to the office
According to the Pew Research Center, employees who are currently working from home all or most of the time have mixed feelings about returning to the office in the near future.
In January 2022, about 49% felt comfortable returning to the office if it reopened next month. This is an increase from 35% in October 2020.
Additionally, 64% felt uncomfortable returning to the office in the upcoming month, data from October 2020 showed. In January 2022, 51% felt that way.
|How do people feel about returning to the office |
if it reopened next month?
According to Owl Labs’ findings from 2022, 67% of remote workers would expect a pay raise if required to return to the office. However, if their employers were unwilling to meet this demand, 46% would stay with their company but invest less effort into their job.
Remote work has undoubtedly brought about many changes for employees across the globe.
And while, for the most part, these were changes for the better, remote work still comes with a unique set of challenges and benefits. To better understand the two, we’ll now explore them in greater detail.
Some things resisted change: Pay hasn’t been affected by remote work
Regardless of how pay is calculated, 73% of respondents in Buffer’s 2022 report say their salary hasn’t been impacted by switching to remote work.
Yet, 40% say their pay is connected to a specific location, and 38% say it isn’t. About 22% are unsure about this.
When it comes to pay and geographical location, there are split opinions among remote workers.
More than half (54%) believe pay shouldn’t be tied to their location.
The rest (46%) say that it should.
Statistics on the challenges of remote work
Remote work brings particular challenges for both employers and employees.
Here’s what the data on the challenges of remote work indicates.
Challenge #1: Lack of proper workplace communication
Maintaining proper workplace communication still troubles the remote workforce.
According to Hubstaff’s 2021 Remote Project Management Report, almost 46% of respondents cited lack of communication as the biggest challenge in managing remote work.
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Challenge #2: Staying focused and motivated
For 21% of those surveyed by Buffer in 2022, difficulty focusing was a big problem, too. The same percentage said they struggle to stay motivated when working from home. Staying motivated and struggling to focus were also commonly cited in Buffer’s 2023 report.
For 41% of those surveyed by Hubstaff, staying motivated without teammate interaction is a problem, too.
Challenge #3: Working across time zones
As a remote worker, Von Alvensleben had a fair share of challenges caused by time zone differences:
“I’m based In Europe, and sometimes I’ve had to deal with customers or teammates in Asia or on the West Coast of the US. It can become difficult to find a time for all of us to meet that isn’t too late or too early, but I do make compromises, and I know other people do as well. Sometimes, I’ll stay a bit later, or somebody else will start earlier, and that’s the way we get around those challenges.”
The previously mentioned remote work report by Hubstaff revealed that about 27% of respondents find working across different time zones problematic.
Challenge #4: Stress and burnout
In WorkTango’s Workplace Trends Report, preventing burnout before it even starts was one of the main focus points for companies in 2022.
In addition to that, data from Quantum Workplace’s State of Remote Work 2021 report showed that remote and hybrid employees were more likely to work more than 50 hours a week compared to their on-site teammates.
Culture Wizard also reported that tackling Zoom fatigue is challenging for 61% of respondents.
Stress is a significant issue for 46% of Gen Z and 38% of Millenials. According to Deloitte’s 2022 study, these two generations report being stressed all or most of the time.
Owl Labs’ data for 2022 shows that a staggering 45% of workers reported an increase in their work stress levels compared to the previous year.
Interestingly, the primary cause of stress for employees is not work-related. Instead, an overwhelming 58% of workers are anxious about an imminent recession, making this the primary stressor for the remote workforce.
Challenge #5: Difficulties with relationship-building
Another issue with remote work is that it makes forming meaningful workplace relationships all the more difficult.
About 43% of leaders agree that relationship-building is the greatest challenge in remote and hybrid work, Microsoft stated in its report.
Data from Culture Wizard’s survey confirm this — 71% of surveyed agree that building and maintaining relationships is a great challenge for virtual teams.
When people have difficulty establishing solid relationships at work, they struggle with managing conflicts and workplace disagreements (54%) and find it harder to be spontaneous with colleagues (68%).
Our contributor Mason Yu shares that one difficulty of remote work is connecting to coworkers outside of your immediate team:
“The biggest challenge in the remote workplace is being well-connected to employees outside my scope of work. I have to make an extra effort to talk to people outside of my team and find excuses or small side projects to work together so that I can imitate the “in-person” ideating that can be missed during remote work.”
The switch to remote and hybrid work has made rebuilding social connections and team cohesion particularly hard for decision-makers, states Microsoft in its Work Trend Index Special Report.
According to the data, 68% of decision-makers regard maintaining social connections within teams as one of their biggest challenges. Unfortunately, employees suffer the consequences of these hurdles.
Approximately 51% feel that their relationships with coworkers outside their team have weakened, leaving 43% feeling disconnected from the company. Unless employers take steps to combat these numbers, they could see low employee satisfaction chip away at organizational success.
Challenge #6: Inability to disconnect after work
In Buffer’s 2023 report, 11% of respondents cited difficulty disconnecting after work as the biggest challenge. This percentage is a decrease from the previous year, when 25% of remote workers could not unplug when off the clock.
One Simply Hired survey of more than 1,000 participants revealed that Millennials are the most likely to have difficulty disconnecting after work.
The same survey reported that they also find it extremely difficult to stop thinking about work.
Challenge #7: Loneliness and isolation
According to Microsoft’s report, 50% of remote employees feel lonelier at work than before going hybrid or remote.
In Buffer’s Remote Work Statistics for 2022, 24% of remote employees cited loneliness as another big challenge of remote work.
Von Alvensleben admits that she, too, isn’t immune to feeling isolated as a remote worker:
“I think before the pandemic, I never felt that isolated, but I think the pandemic has shown us another side of remote work — which is when you’re not even allowed to meet other people. It does become very isolating. Creating social connections and bonding with other people is a challenge. But, you know, I think most challenges can be solved — and we’ve done that with the virtual social sessions that we host at MURAL.”
Culture Wizard’s report on virtual teams found that for 53% of employees, feelings of isolation are another challenging aspect of remote work.
Challenge #8: Fewer opportunities for career advancement and growth
Working remotely shouldn’t hinder career development and professional growth.
Buffer’s 2022 report dived deep into how remote work affected employees’ opportunities for career advancement.
Unfortunately, 44% of respondents said that their company doesn’t provide career growth opportunities — but employees say they wish this were the case.
For 41% of remote workers, the switch to a remote work arrangement didn’t affect their career development.
Only 14% said that remote work facilitated their career growth.
Owl Labs’ findings from 2022 show that proximity bias is a significant concern for the remote workforce. Nearly half of the respondents (48%) fear that working remotely means they won’t be heard and that their in-office coworkers will have more opportunities for progress.
Fortunately, things seem to be looking up in 2023. Buffer’s latest data shows an improvement of 20%, as 25% of respondents stated they find it harder to advance either career.
Statistics on the benefits of remote work
But, we wouldn’t have these challenges without several benefits to balance them out.
Read on to learn about what benefits remote workers have been enjoying since they started working from home.
Benefit #1: Better work-life balance
In essence, work-life balance is the division of a person’s time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.
Overall, most workers enjoy a better work-life balance when working from home.
Moreover, remote work makes them happy.
According to Zapier’s report, 96% of respondents associate work-life balance with their happiness at work.
The Owl Labs data from their 2021 report showed that remote work supports employees’ work-life balance in more ways than one:
- 86% said they could better support their family and be present,
- 84% said that working from home would make them happier,
- 83% said they are better at managing work-life conflicts, and
- 82% said working from home after the pandemic improves their mental health.
The 2022 findings from Employment Hero align with the above figures. When asked which work model provides the best work-life balance:
- 47% of respondents chose hybrid working,
- 34% believed it was remote work, and
- Only 19% picked in-office work.
Benefit #2: More flexibility
For remote employees, flexibility is another great advantage of remote working.
For 91% of those examined by Zapier, flexible hours are the second-highest perk of remote work.
Overall flexibility in work is what the respondents in Buffer’s report on remote work cite as the most significant remote work benefit:
- 67% say they have more flexibility in how they spend their time.
- 62% say they have more flexibility in choosing where to work from.
- 55% say they have more flexibility in deciding where to live.
- 29% say they have more flexibility in their career options.
Plus, employees can devote more time to family life thanks to flexible working options.
Von Alvensleben also highlights the freedom of remote work:
“Freedom is really one of my biggest values, personal values, and working from anywhere allowed me to really live by this value.”
Owl Labs data from 2022 found that 46% of employees whose companies are planning to in-office work are worried about receiving insufficient flexibility.
Benefit #3: Extra free time
In London, people spent about 149 hours stuck in traffic in 2019.
According to Census Bureau Estimates data, the average one-way commute in the US in 2019 was 27.6 minutes — an all-time high.
Nowadays, thanks to remote work, people have been commuting less and using their time more efficiently.
About 59% of work-from-home employees say that they enjoy more free time because they don’t commute to work.
Additionally, car traffic is decreasing, and people are walking more than ever compared to the pre-pandemic times — all thanks to their ability to work from home.
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions conducted a study titled Less is more: Changing travel in a post-pandemic society. According to their findings, weekday car traffic in England was about 10% lower throughout the summer and autumn of 2021 than before the pandemic.
This free time benefits remote workers, allowing them to explore their interests outside work. Radhakrishnan says that working remotely allows her to devote more time to herself and her loved ones:
“Remote work has made me more aware of the time I have every day. By planning my days, I try to ensure I have enough time to incorporate the work I do on a professional basis and little things I like to do for myself — be it reading part of a book, learning something new, going to visit an old friend, or spending time with family.”
The respondents in Buffer’s 2023 survey agree, citing the freedom to do what they like with the extra free time as one of the best things about remote working.
Benefit #4: Saving money
Another often-cited benefit of remote work is saving money.
So, what do employers and employees save money on thanks to remote working?
Money-saving benefits for employees
People working from home usually save between $2,000 to $5,000 per year on commuting expenses.
In 2022, Owl Labs calculated how much remote workers save daily on commuting, arriving at an estimated $19,11 per day.
About 48% of those surveyed by Buffer in 2022 say remote work is financially better for them.
Zapier came to a similar conclusion, reporting that remote work has improved savings for 61% of their respondents.
Money-saving benefits for employers
Companies can save money on remote work, too.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical company can save about $11,000 per year for every employee who works from home at least 2 or 3 days a week.
FlexJobs managed to save over $5 million thanks to remote work on things such as:
- Real estate expenses,
- Transportation costs, and
- Continuity of operations.
The good news for employers is that remote employees are also less likely to use sick time, as the findings from Global Workplace Analytics indicate.
On average, employers lose $1,800 per employee per year on unscheduled absences.
Benefit #5: Diverse options for those who can’t work in the office
Remote work is a good choice for people who find it difficult or simply can’t work from the office, Buffer’s report from 2022 revealed. These are:
- People with disabilities,
- Parents and caregivers, and
- Pet owners.
How remote work benefits people with disabilities
People with a disability or chronic illnesses prefer remote work because it gives them more flexibility — 44% of Buffer’s respondents who identified as having a chronic disability or illness agree.
Additionally, remote work provides them better access to a full range of opportunities for professional growth.
How remote work benefits parents and caregivers
The Owl Labs 2021 report revealed that 63% of those who worked from home during the pandemic had to take care of children or a dependent. Here are the details:
- 21% cared for children under 5.
- 38% had to take care of children ages 5–11.
- 35% had to look after children ages 11–18.
While Owl Labs didn’t provide updates to the above data in the 2022 report, the findings revealed that 55% of employees have children who still live at home.
How remote work benefits pet owners
Remote work is also an excellent solution for pet owners because it gives them the flexibility to care for their pets.
In Owl Labs’ 2021 report, 51% of remote employees said they adopted a pet during the pandemic:
- 42% adopted a dog.
- 28% adopted a cat.
- 11% had a pet certified as an emotional support animal.
Benefit #6: Increased employee engagement and morale
Remote work supports better employee engagement.
Quantum Workplace found that hybrid and remote employees have reported higher engagement levels than their on-site co-workers:
- Hybrid employees — 81%.
- Remote employees — 78%.
- On-site employees — 72%.
Remote work positively affects remote employees’ morale, too.
According to The Future of Work report by Zapier, 62% of surveyed reported increased employee morale when working remotely.
The remote-work benefits employers can reap also include:
- Increased productivity (42%),
- Increased efficiency (38%), and
- Increased morale (31%).
Von Alvensleben believes that all these benefits come from increased happiness, which she sees at the center of remote work:
“I think ultimately people have all this flexibility and are inspired by all these people that they get to work with. You’re making people happier, and that sounds very basic and simple, but that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. If you have people who are happier also in their career and in their personal lives, they’re going to bring that happiness and get that engagement back to the company.”
Statistics on remote work and productivity
Since remote and hybrid work became more predominant, productivity has preoccupied employers and employees. However, opinions are divided on the impact of remote work on productivity.
Some researchers believe it has made employees less productive, while others think it has genuinely boosted productivity in the workplace.
According to the Future of Work after COVID‐19 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, companies with computer-based office work could spend 70% of their time working remotely without productivity being affected.
In other industries, only 5 to 10% of work could be done remotely.
Here’s the latest data on productivity and remote work.
Most employees claim they are more productive when working from home
Most research shows that employees are more productive when they work remotely.
Based on the data from a two-year study by Great Place to Work that examined the responses from over 800,000 employees at Fortune 500 companies, most people experienced stable or increased productivity levels after shifting to work from home.
In 2021, Owl Labs reported that 90% of employees said they were as productive or more productive working remotely when compared to in-office work. Additionally, the data from 2022 indicates that 67% of hybrid workers, who participate in both in-office and remote work, feel more productive when working from home.
GitLab’s remote work report also revealed that 81% of people are satisfied with their productivity.
Approximately 80% of those surveyed by Microsoft in 2022 said they are just as or more productive since going remote or hybrid.
Similarly, 43% of respondents in Gartner’s recent report claimed that flexible work has positively impacted their productivity levels.
About 75% of respondents in Worktango’s report on workplace trends claimed they were equally or more productive when working from home during the pandemic.
Mirroring this trend, 64% of Zapier survey respondents agreed that remote work has made them more productive.
And, that’s exactly what Yu feels:
“I find myself a lot more productive as a remote worker because I don’t have the distractions of office chatter or worry about how I look to others.”
When speaking with Time Magazine in September 2022, Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford, recognized that employees have become more productive since going hybrid or remote. According to Bloom, this change is understandable, since working from home eliminates time-consuming commutes and people take shorter lunch and bathroom breaks.
More than half of people say they feel more productive working in the office
According to the study from the Pew Research Center, some employees are more productive when working on-site.
Namely, 61% of employed adults who are allowed to work from home at least some of the time say they choose not to do so due to decreased productivity.
|Reasons why people choose not to work from home even if they can||Cited as a major reason||Cited as a minor reason|
|Feeling more productive working in the office||61%||16%|
|Prefer working in the office||60%||19%|
|Don’t have the space/resources to work effectively from home||21%||23%|
|More opportunities for career advancement if they worked from the office||14%||10%|
|Feel pressured to work from the office (by their managers or teammates)||9%||17%|
Most leaders are still concerned about employee productivity
Although studies and research show that employers also enjoy many benefits of remote work, Microsoft reported that 54% of leaders fear productivity has been negatively impacted since shifting to remote work.
Of those that manage remote workers and teams, 36% are concerned about employee productivity, and 36% are worried about reduced focus, Owl Labs 2021 report found.
According to the findings by Achievers Workforce Institute, employers have diverse opinions about the impact of remote work on the productivity of their employees who operated remotely during 2021. Here’s how employers describe employee productivity:
- 56% say productivity levels were the same,
- 31% say employees were more productive, and
- 13% say workers were less productive.
More recent numbers from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report underscored that 85% of employers still harbor misgivings about remote and hybrid work. Namely, the respondents cite they find it increasingly difficult to trust their employees to deliver quality work outside the office.
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Productivity can depend on the type of work model
Culture Wizard revealed that not all work models have the same impact on employee productivity in its Virtual Teams report.
The key takeaway was that companies implementing any remote work model types (e.g., fully remote, remote-first, or hybrid) enjoy higher productivity.
|Types of work models||Productivity percentage|
Statistics showing the role of online collaboration tools in remote work
Staying connected during the pandemic, when most businesses had to work remotely, was essential.
Accordingly, the use of online collaboration tools skyrocketed — making it easier for companies to communicate and collaborate with their employees even from afar.
How much do remote workers rely on collaboration tools for communication?
What have companies done to facilitate communication and collaboration for their remote workforce?
Are employees and employers satisfied with tools and processes facilitating remote communication?
Let’s see whether the statistics can shed light on these questions.
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Collaboration tools took off in 2021
According to Gartner’s Digital Worker Experience Survey, almost 80% of workers used collaboration tools in 2021.
This represents an increase from 55% in 2019 and a 44% increase since the pandemic began.
Another group of tools that saw a significant increase in use was storage and document-sharing tools — about 10%.
Moreover, 80% of remote workers were using instant messaging apps in 2021 — an increase from 75% in 2019.
Yu can’t imagine collaborating remotely without the proper technology:
“Since I’m fully remote, I rely 100% on collaboration tools for communicating with teammates.”
Most companies introduced a proper system for remote communication and collaboration
In Buffer’s Remote Work Report for 2022, 77% of respondents said their companies have proper systems for remote communication and collaboration in place.
Another 75% said their companies organize regular 1:1 meetings.
Overall satisfaction with the collaboration tools and processes that support remote communication is very high — 82% of respondents in GitLab’s 2021 report agree.
Among those surveyed by Wrike for their study on remote work and security during COVID-19, almost half said their team had adopted new software for collaborating and communicating in a remote work environment.
Another 40% say they chose a specific tool due to its security.
|Have teams adopted new software applications |
for collaboration or communication?
In Owl Labs’ 2021 report, 38% of employees said their employer had updated their video technology to allow for more hybrid communication and collaboration.
This is good news since, for remote workers like Von Alvensleben, teleworking and collaboration tools go hand in hand:
“If we didn’t have collaboration tools, we wouldn’t be able to even work remotely in the first place.”
Younger generations are more likely to use collaboration tools
Collaboration tools are a significant part of remote work — in most cases, remote workers are expected to use them daily to stay in touch with their team and do their jobs.
However, research on generational differences shows that younger people are more likely to rely on collaboration tools — especially when it comes to videoconferencing tools and workplace communication apps.
Radhakrishnan, too, stresses that communication and collaboration tools are essential for remote workers:
“Online collaboration tools are probably the reason everything happens so smoothly. They make life easy by making communication instantaneous. If you want something to be said or made known, you can do that in a matter of seconds to the right set of people. Everyone’s in the loop as need be. And, while getting into this zone can take a while, once in practice, it really ensures that there’s no room for miscommunication as work progresses through a project.”
Moreover, 60% of people aged 18–44 have to use three or more tools each day to collaborate with their teammates.
|Age group||Uses video conferencing tool||Uses workplace communication app|
All generations feel overwhelmed by the multitude of apps
While collaboration tools facilitate communication and collaboration, all generations feel that switching between these apps often wastes their time.
About 99% of remote workers use approximately 4.8 different conferencing tools, data from FinancesOnline statistics reveals.
For example, 60% of employees aged 18–24 and 63% aged 25–34 think they waste time switching between collaboration tools.
While employees older than 55 usually use fewer collaboration apps, about 40% also think they are wasting time switching between collaboration technologies.
Employees are worried about a collaboration crisis
Alludo’s State of Collaboration Survey from 2022 warns businesses they may face dire consequences unless they meet employee expectations about virtual collaboration.
The findings show that employees:
- Feel inadequate collaboration wastes their time and dampens productivity (70%),
- Waste at least 3 hours a week due to poor collaboration (64%), and
- Are considering looking for other job opportunities because of virtual collaboration difficulties (41%).
Moreover, the respondents agree on the root cause of these problems. Approximately 78% believe leadership should try harder to promote quality collaboration throughout the company.
Statistics showing how secure remote work is
According to Check Point’s 2022 Workforce Security Report, which collected answers from 1,200 security professionals, 57% of companies say that more than half of their workforce works remotely at least 2 days a week.
This means that working from home is a trend that will stick.
Since remote work is here to stay, companies must step up their cybersecurity game.
But, how are companies keeping their remote workforce and sensitive data secure?
Do companies trust their remote workers?
Do they implement and update their cybersecurity strategies regularly?
To learn more, we’ll need to look at the statistics on what companies are doing to ensure cybersecurity in a remote work setting.
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More than half of the companies allow remote access to corporate applications from personal devices
According to CyberTalk’s Remote work security statistics in 2022, 70% of companies say they allow access to corporate assets from personal laptops and mobile devices.
Only 17% said they limited remote access to corporate devices.
Overall, over half of the surveyed companies allow remote employees to use personal mobile devices and laptops for work.
About 11% of companies haven’t implemented any method to secure remote work access to corporate apps, and 6% don’t allow remote access at all.
|Companies’ policy on using corporate applications remotely||Percentage|
|Remote access from personal mobile devices allowed||51%|
|Remote access from personal laptops allowed||52%|
|Remote access by third parties allowed||32%|
|Remote access isn’t allowed||6%|
|No method to secure remote access to corporate applications||11%|
Considering the percentage of companies allowing remote employees to use their personal devices for business purposes, it doesn’t surprise us that Check Point found that 87% of them have experienced an attempted exploit of an already-known, existing vulnerability. Additionally, GoTo’s findings from 2022 show that one of the top reasons for increased workloads were increased cybersecurity threats.
For the majority of companies, VPN connections provide secure remote access
According to CyberTalk’s data, to ensure secure remote access to company apps and tools, companies usually implement the following:
- 73% rely on VPN connections.
- 46% use multi-factor authentication.
- 18% use Device risk posture check.
- 16% use Zero Trust Network Access.
However, sometimes, relying on a few elements here and there to provide secure remote access isn’t enough.
This is where remote work security policies come in handy.
Most companies have a remote work security policy
According to the Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Survey by OpenVPN, about 93% of companies have a remote work security policy in place.
But, what do they include in their remote work security policies?
OpenVPN’s report revealed that the top three elements most companies include in their remote work security policies are:
- VPNs (74%),
- Sensitive data encryption (69%), and
- Prohibiting the use of personal devices for work-related data (68%).
Other elements include:
- Security training for employees (66%),
- Password management (56%), and
- Prohibiting BYOD (Bring your own device) (38%).
Data from GoTo also indicates that companies allocate more budget resources to IT and security training. In 2021, businesses invested more money in:
- IT training (52%),
- New tools optimizing IT performance (48%), and
- Software upgrades (47%).
According to Wrike’s Future of Work Security report, 74% of employees say that their company has released official security guidelines or training for working securely while remote.
However, about 26% of employees say that they never received any guidelines.
This means that almost a third of employees who participated in the survey either work for companies that haven’t implemented any remote work security policies or are simply unaware such policies exist in their companies.
Companies use diverse methods to ensure secure internet browsing
According to Check Point Research, only 9% of companies use all 5 must-have protection steps against internet-based attacks.
It’s scary to learn that, in 2021, Check Point Research discovered more than 10,000 new malicious files and 100,000 new malicious websites every day.
Unfortunately, 20% of organizations don’t use any methods to protect remote users browsing the Internet.
Of the 9% of the companies that do use methods to provide a secure internet browsing experience, 55% use URL filtering, and 49% rely on URL reputation.
Only 17% use credentials protection to secure their internet experience.
|Top 5 methods companies use |
to provide secure internet browsing
|Content disarm and reconstruction (CDR)||41%|
Company executives think remote work poses a major security risk
According to OpenVPN’s Cybersecurity Report, 90% of respondents believe that remote workers aren’t secure.
Additionally, 73% of VPs and C-suite executives say remote workers pose a greater risk than onsite employees.
About 48% of IT managers and 45% of IT directors feel the same way.
Companies usually organize cybersecurity training twice per year
Providing proper training to their employees is a step forward in creating a reliable and secure work-from-home environment.
The OpenVPN survey has found that about 90% of companies offer security training for their remote employees.
However, it has also been revealed that only 23% of companies require their workforce to undergo cybersecurity training more than twice per year.
|How often do organizations require remote workers |
to go through cybersecurity training?
|More than twice per year||23%|
|Twice per year||32%|
|Once per year||25%|
|Only during employee onboarding||8%|
|They have an e-learning platform offering courses for employees to take as they wish||11%|
More than half of remote employees feel their company has made remote work security a priority since work from home began
A total of 74% of respondents from Wrike’s report believe that “remote work security is a priority for their company.”
In more concrete numbers, this means that:
- 37% strongly agree with the above statement,
- 37% somewhat agree,
- 15% somewhat disagree, and
- 11% strongly disagree.
Despite increased awareness, risky behavior continues
The Cybersecurity Team’s Guide from Delinea states that small and mid-size businesses are at a higher risk of cybersecurity breaches than larger companies.
While employees acknowledged that cybersecurity threats are a growing concern, 79% admitted to participating in risky activity. The data also shows that:
- 33% of respondents save passwords in their browsers,
- 32% use public Wi-Fi networks,
- 23% have a single password for multiple websites, and
- 13% share passwords and credentials with coworkers.
More than half of remote workers say their company has a team or a person that takes care of cybersecurity
Even though companies understand the importance of cybersecurity in a remote setting, not all have a designated team to take care of it.
About 52% of workers say their company has at least one person or an entire team in charge of cybersecurity, Wrike has found.
Another 30% of employees say this is true for their company — while 18% of workers either strongly disagree or somewhat disagree with this statement.
Some remote workers say they understand the importance of cybersecurity practices
As part of their research, Wrike asked the employees if they understood common remote access cybersecurity risks and knew the best practices to reduce them.
The results revealed that only about 38% of employees were confident they did.
|“I have a good understanding of common cybersecurity risks |
and know the best practices to reduce them.”
More than half of remote workers still exchange confidential information over personal apps
Despite being aware of common cybersecurity risks, many remote employees still send confidential information over personal devices.
The Wrike report has revealed that almost 59% of remote employees still use personal apps to send and receive confidential files every week.
Exchanging confidential information and company-sensitive data using personal apps varies across generations.
Gen Zs are the most likely to use personal devices to exchange sensitive information on a daily basis, while Baby Boomers are the least likely to do this.
|Generation exchanging sensitive information on personal devices||Daily||At least once per week||More than once per week|
|Baby Boomers||About 15%||About 11%||About 7%|
|Generation X||About 18%||About 13%||About 7%|
|Millennials||About 22%||About 15%||About 10%|
|Gen Z||Almost 25%||About 17%||About 13%|
Some remote workers say they use personal apps because their company doesn’t provide proper tools
Overall, the majority of work-from-home employees cite the following reasons for using personal apps over the one their company provides:
- Their company doesn’t offer apps with similar functionalities (26%).
- Their personal apps are more convenient to use (25%).
- They prefer the user experience of their personal apps (21%).
Interestingly, 21% also say that no one has told them they shouldn’t use personal apps for business matters.
Moreover, about 14% believe using personal apps for business purposes in their company is normal.
More than half of remote workers use a VPN provided by their company
It’s reassuring to learn that 51.3% of remote workers connect to the Internet using a VPN provided by their company.
Still, about 38% don’t do this, and about 10% aren’t sure, Wrike reported.
More than half of remote workers use a WPA/WPA2 network
When it comes to encrypting their home Wi-Fi network, some remote employees aren’t sure about how it’s done. Wrike has found that:
- About 57% say they use a WPA/WPA2 network,
- Almost 31% say they aren’t sure what network encryption they use,
- 8% use a WEP network, and
- The rest use Open Networks, which means they don’t use encryption.
Risk perception varies among remote workers
Although remote workers are increasingly familiar with cybersecurity threats, risk perceptions vary. For example, 83% of respondents in Delinea’s survey believe clicking on an email from an unfamiliar person is high-risk, but 38% think connecting a personal device to their work network is low-risk.
The survey also found that:
- 69% of remote workers believe that letting family members use their work devices is risky,
- 81% feared that accessing the Dark Web could lead to a security breach, and
- 73% thought the same of visiting a web page the IT department hasn’t sanctioned.
What is the future of remote work in 2023?
The Great Resignation — also referred to as the Big Quit and the Great Reshuffle — represents an ongoing economic trend across the globe.
Starting in early 2021, The Great Resignation has had employees voluntarily resign from their jobs en masse — mainly seeking better work conditions.
Since global workplace trends are changing, business leaders must look beyond the basics to attract and retain top talent.
The global work-from-home statistics show that people lean towards remote work and work-from-home more than in-office work.
Data from a US Labor of Statistics survey released in 2023 show that 3.9 million workers quit in January alone. In 2021 and 2022, that number regularly went over 4 million each month. Yet, despite the slight decrease, it’s evident workers have few qualms about leaving their positions.
So, why are people leaving their jobs?
What are they willing to do to keep working remotely?
And how many employees would leave their current job without a remote work option?
Let’s find out.
People would like to continue working remotely
Among those who worked from home all or most of the time, 80% said they’d like their employer to retain a flexible policy after the pandemic, Owl Labs reported.
Additionally, 53% of workers who had already returned to the office in 2022 stated that the lack of remote options was their primary work stressor.
Moreover, 66% of employees were ready to begin searching for a new job were their employer to place remote work off-limits. And, 39% stated they quit immediately without a backup plan.
In 2023, the global workforce is leaning even more into remote work. Buffer’s State of Remote Work for 2023 indicates that 98% of employees wish to continue working remotely in some capacity for the rest of their careers.
More than half of all employees want a fully remote job
WorkTango’s 2022 Workplace Trends Report highlights that 50% of workers do not intend to stay with employers who don’t offer at least some remote work options.
Plus, it seems that companies have received this message. When analyzing responses from CFOs, WorkTango found that around 74% believe they will have to shift a portion of their workforce to full-time remote work.
But, does this information hold up in 2023? What percentage of workers will be remote in 2023?
The first reports are slowly coming in, indicating that 64% of the workforce works remotely. Buffer has compared this number to findings from 2022, noting that the number of remote workers in 2023 has risen by 15%. And, 71% of respondents look forward to continuing working remotely.
Some employees would quit if they couldn’t work remotely anymore
Returning to full-time in-office work is already a dealbreaker for some employees, Zapier has found.
In a 2022 survey, 36% of respondents disclosed they had already quit their jobs because they couldn’t work remotely, with 61% ready to hand in their resignation if a remote opportunity were to come up.
Employment Hero has similar findings. When asked whether they would quit if their employer demanded they came back to the office:
- 32% of remote knowledge workers were prepared to leave their job,
- 18% would consider doing the same, and
- 50% would stay in their position.
Remote employees job-hunt for various reasons
After going through a pandemic, remote workers have changed their priorities and shifted workplace expectations.
As Microsoft reported, 51% of hybrid employees would consider a switch to remote work, while 57% of remote employees would consider a change to hybrid work in the year ahead.
And even when employees return to the office, their future plans often involve a hybrid schedule.
Here is the latest data on why people choose to stay with one employer and how important remote work options are for them.
Reason #1: To find better working conditions
When Employment Hero asked respondents which work model best supported their mental health, these were the results:
- 26% chose in-office work,
- 28% selected remote working, and
- 46% picked hybrid working.
According to WorkTango, 60% of job seekers are more likely to accept a job offer with robust mental health benefits.
The good news is that employers have already recognized the importance of employee mental health and well-being in the workplace.
About 45% of employers added or increased their wellness programs, WorkTango reports, and 32% added more benefits.
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Reason #2: To find a position where they’ll feel recognized
Recognition is another major reason for job-hunting among remote workers.
It’s inextricable from employee experience, which, unfortunately, was merely a mid-level concern for employers in 2021, reports WorkTango.
In 2021, companies changed their strategies to attract and keep talent, and:
- 56% offered higher compensation,
- 49% became more open to remote work and flexible scheduling, while
- 39% upgraded perks and benefits.
While rewards work as a temporary motivation, being recognized for your achievements is a much better incentive to stay with an employer.
In fact, 63% of workers who feel they are recognized “often” or “usually” feel they are unlikely to look for a new job in the coming 3-6 months. Plus, companies with a successful recognition program report a decrease in turnover rates by as much as 31%.
Reason #3: To find better work-life balance
One of the driving forces behind the Great Resignation is employee dissatisfaction with how companies support their personal priorities. Insufficient mental health resources and a lack of work-life balance are among the top reasons workers flee their positions, underscores WorkTango.
Employment Hero also asked remote workers which model allowed them the highest level of work-life balance, and the results showed that:
- 47% chose remote hybrid working,
- 34% opted for remote work, and
- 19% picked in-office work.
Owl Labs’ findings from 2022 align with the above figures. Around 71% of remote workers who had recently changed jobs or planned to do so in the future cited work-life balance as a reason for resigning.
Reason #4: To find better career development options
In their 2021 State of Remote Work Report, Owl Labs reported that 90% of people would leave their current employer for better career prospects.
And, if their current employer offers excellent opportunities for career development, they are more likely to stay with them.
In 2022, the percentage of those who would leave their job for a position with better career opportunities fell to 82%, which is still relatively high.
Reason #5: To find better compensation and benefits
Owl Labs reported that for 84% of remote workers who changed roles in 2022 or planned to do so, better compensation was a top priority. Compiling data from 2021 and 2022, the Pew Research Center found that workers who changed jobs saw their pay rise by as much as 60%.
Reason #6: To find more flexibility
Remote workers want to remain flexible no matter what.
Based on the responses of those surveyed by Owl Labs in 2021:
- 84% of employees changed their jobs to get more flexibility in where they worked, and
- 82% changed their positions to attain more flexibility in when they worked.
Newer findings for 2022 from Owl Labs report that 1 in 2 employees (52%) would accept a pay cut of 5% if it guaranteed flexibility regarding their work location.
Remote employees are ready to sacrifice a lot to stay remote
In 2022, Robert Half released remote work findings that indicated half of US workers (50%) would be willing to quit if required to return to office work. The same survey highlighted that 66% of managers preferred having their teams in the office. Only 18% were in favor of remote or hybrid models.
Some companies will remain remote permanently
For some businesses, remote work will continue in the future, too.
In WorkTango’s report, 84% of surveyed businesses switched to remote work in response to the pandemic. In 2022, with restrictions becoming more lenient, nearly two-thirds of interviewed CFOs (74%) anticipated having a part of their workforce go fully remote.
Other companies are planning to go back to the office
In Microsoft’s 2022 report on hybrid work, 50% of leaders stated that their company already required, or planned to require, full-time in-person work in the upcoming year.
What’s more, the numbers went up for leaders in the:
- Manufacturing (55%),
- Retail (54%), and
- Consumer goods (53%) industries.
For some, the future is still uncertain
In 2022, 9% of employees said their company wasn’t planning to make remote work permanent, reported Buffer, which is nearly identical to Buffer’s findings in 2023.
This reveals a decrease from 16% in Buffer’s report from the previous year.
Moreover, 19% of employees said they weren’t sure what their company was planning for the future. About 38% of employees had these concerns in 2021.
Statistics showing trends that will shape the future of work
Although we can’t ever truly predict the future, experts across the globe have already anticipated a few trends that will most certainly shape the future way of work.
At the start of 2021, many expected a return to “normal” — a return to the office.
However, 2021 turned out more unstable than imagined, shaped by a massive war for talent, high inflation levels, and high resignation rates. Employment Hero reports that in 2022, our perception of normal changed, as under half of the surveyed employees (45%) were back for full-time in-person work.
So, what can we expect for the future of work? Let’s take a closer look.
Trend #1: The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will increase
The first trend that will most definitely shape the way people work in the future is the increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In 2017, Accenture disclosed in its report on the impact of AI that companies that successfully implement AI practices could increase their profitability by about 38% by 2035.
In 2023, the Top Employers Institute also touched on the use of AI technology in its World of Work Trends report. According to their data, some businesses already use AI tools to generate prompts for developing employee learning programs.
On the other hand, all this comes at a certain price. Therefore, businesses should weigh the pros and cons of implementing modern AI technologies in the workplace.
Judging from the above data, AI will surely become a staple in both on-site and remote work.
Trend #2: The hiring process won’t depend as much on geography and location
Although remote work is a long-known work arrangement, people used to believe it was only for those working part-time or that it wasn’t an effective way to work.
Fast forward to today — people work from anywhere in the world full-time, some even on the weekends.
Since remote work has proven to be such a success, geography and location no longer play such an essential role in the hiring process.
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In support of this, Owl Labs found that only 18% of organizations required employees to live or work within a certain distance from the corporation’s location.
Employers aren’t interested in where people are working from as long as they are:
- Meeting their deadlines,
- Attending meetings, and
- Doing their jobs.
Trend #3: Companies will be dealing with an all-time-high talent shortage
The talent shortage is another major issue in the business world that needs to be addressed.
As findings from this ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey show, 3 of every 4 companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring – the highest in the last 17 years.
The survey also showed that the top 5 in-demand professions globally are:
- IT and Data,
- Sales and Marketing,
- Operations and Logistics,
- Manufacturing and Production, and
- Customer Facing and Front Office.
Trend #4: Reskilling of employees will be a top priority for employers
Upskilling employees is another top priority for employers — especially considering the talent shortage.
As new technologies emerge, employees need to keep up their game, understand the systems, and be able to do their jobs properly.
What’s more, the predictions from the 2021 World Economic Forum report reveal that about 40% of the global workforce will need reskilling for up to six months by 2024.
According to the HR Predictions for 2022 report by the John Bersin Company, companies should focus on figuring out the following:
- What skills their employees possess,
- What additional skills are needed, and
- Identifying where the gaps are.
After addressing the above areas, businesses will equip their employees to participate more effectively and proactively in the ever-evolving global market.
Trend #5: The Great Resignation will plateau
When examining data from those who quit in 2021, the Pew Research Center determined the most commonly cited reasons for resigning. Namely, employees sought other positions because of:
- The low pay,
- The lack of career growth opportunities,
- The disrespect they experienced at the workplace,
- Childcare problems, and
- Unsatisfactory benefits.
If data from 2023 is anything to go off from, employers have understood they should take better care of employee experience to decrease turnover rates.
Approximately 29% of respondents stated they spend days waiting for crucial information, while 22% struggle to collaborate with coworkers from other departments and teams.
Implementing practical collaboration tools and communication technology could be a good way forward for companies of all sizes that have identified these issues.
Trend #6: The next generation of remote workers will be hybrid or completely remote
The last trend we’ll examine that will shape the future of work is employees’ desire to keep working remotely.
According to Zapier’s Future of Work report from 2022, the next generation of workers will be completely remote.
A staggering 100% of those aged between 18 and 24 would leave their current job to embrace a fully remote opportunity.
About 88% of those between 45 and 54 would do the same.
Other age groups are of similar opinions — more than half of employees in each age group are ready to quit their current job if they could work entirely remotely.
|Different generations want to work entirely remotely in the future||Percentage|
Finally, the WFH Research survey from 2022 shows that employers are also more open to allowing their employees to work in a fully remote or hybrid environment after the pandemic ends.
The latest data reveal that employers plan to allow employees to work from home at least 2 or 3 days a week.
The above remote work statistics point us toward hybrid collaboration and communication, which is how Von Alvensleben sees the future of work:
“We’re hearing more and more often about hybrid collaboration — people working both in-person and remotely and having to find ways to do that. And, I really think that’s where remote work is heading. So, I think the future of remote work is really about catering to different people’s needs, different people’s desires, and finding ways to meet the challenges that those different needs will inevitably bring up.”
Conclusion: Are remote jobs here to stay in 2023? It sure looks like it
Although the shift to fully remote work was unplanned and sudden, global data showed that remote work had a significant impact on the world and was a success.
As leaders become more aware of the overall benefits of remote work, they have and will continue to shift their focus to:
- Investing more in training remote workers properly and providing them with the necessary software to do their jobs from anywhere in the world,
- Ensuring better workplace communication and promoting healthy remote company culture, and
- Putting forward policies that support those who work from home, protect their mental health, and give them enough flexibility to manage their time.
On the other hand, remote employees changed and shifted their priorities, too:
- They choose when and where to work while maintaining high productivity and respecting deadlines.
- They are more focused on balancing their professional and personal lives and prioritizing their mental health.
- They spend less money on commuting and food while spending more time with family and friends.
- They know what they want from their employers and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
Based on the remote work data mentioned above, the overall impression is that remote work and work from home are two trends that will stick in the future — hopefully, to the benefit of both employers and employees.
- Accenture. (2017, June 21). Accenture Report: Artificial Intelligence Has Potential to Increase Corporate Profitability in 16 Industries by an Average of 38 Percent by 2035. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/accenture-report-artificial-intelligence-has-potential-to-increase-corporate-profitability-in-16-industries-by-an-average-of-38-percent-by-2035.htm
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