The working landscape has changed significantly in recent years. Today, remote and flexible work is widely accepted as normal. The hybrid workforce is running at full steam, but what makes remote work and flexible working so successful?
We've put together 39 fun facts about remote work and interesting statistics about flexible working that sum up the modern working world in vivid detail!
1. One in Five UK Workers Would Happily Work from Home For Good
When people were asked to return to the office at the end of the lockdowns, YouGov surveyed the UK workforce to see how many people wanted their old normal back.
Although most people wished for some kind of hybrid model, YouGov found that 20% of workers across all industries hope to work from home permanently. This is a significant shift in attitude because roughly two-thirds of the population had never worked from home or considered working remotely prior to the pandemic.
2. Remote Work is Cheaper in the Summertime
In the summer months, remote work statistics show that homeworkers can save on commuting costs. When it's warm outside, homeworking contributes little more than a few extra pots of tea to their annual bills.
With recent spikes in the energy market, it's predicted that many homeworkers will counteract their travel savings with the high cost of winter fuel needed to keep warm during working hours.
While many remote workers do save money year-round, it may be better for some people to work from the office during the cold winter months.
3. Easy Access to Snacks Make Remote Workers Happier
From bananas to crisps, snacking is an essential part of many people's work day. Two-thirds of people say a well-stocked snack cupboard at work makes them feel happier. Studies show that 48% of people with access to snacks at work will snack up to four times a week, while 28% of workers snack every day.
Remote work removes the guesswork from choosing which office snacks may be available, so those working from home can snack to their hearts' content on their preferred items, which makes for a very happy work environment!
4. Nearly Half of Europe's Companies Still Don’t Allow Remote Working
84% of the employees say they would prefer remote work, and many also expressed that they would be willing to take a pay cut to work remotely. Despite remote, hybrid work and flexible working taking centre stage, 44% of European companies still don't allow remote work.
5. 53% of Workers Feel Less Distracted at Home
According to the UK's Office for National Statistics, 53% of workers feel less distracted when they work at home. This varies by industry, but can largely be accredited to fewer informal chats held with colleagues, and the ability to make the remote work zone perfectly comfortable for maximum concentration.
6. Working From Home Can Save Up To $15,000 A Year
The average American spends between $6,000 and $15,000 a year just getting to work. These costs are a mixture of public transport and fuel costs, as well as the hidden costs built into things like car insurance and maintenance costs.
Remote workers may also be able to skip buying an expensive set of formal suits, spend less money on daily coffee runs, and collect extra tax benefits. The more days an employee works from home, the cheaper their work becomes.
7. Remote Working Reduces Anxiety By More Than 30%
According to Statistica, remote work reduces anxiety by over 30% in both the USA and the UK, and by 28% in Canada and Australia. This is often because remote workers are less micro-managed, and can often enjoy a higher level of autonomy at home than they have at the office.
8. There Are Over 15.5 Million Digital Nomads Worldwide
One of the major benefits of remote work is the opportunity to work from anywhere which lets people travel while they work.
It's estimated that there are over 15.5 million digital nomads, who are mostly Millennials and Generation Z. Digital nomads can work in any industry, and they require nothing more than a laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection to collaborate from anywhere in the world.
9. Zoom Hosts More Than 300 Million Daily Users
Few businesses saw as big a pandemic success story as Zoom, which went from 12.92 million users a month to an incredible 300 million users a day at the start of the lockdowns.
Today, Zoom's brand has become a generic term for 'an online meeting.' Zoom is now also the world's leading online communication platform. It keeps remote businesses connected throughout the world.
10. Companies Can Save More Than $44 Billion A Year With Remote Working
Remote work benefits aren't just for homeworkers. Research shows that companies offering remote work are collectively saving around $44 billion a year through initiatives like downsizing and multi-functional workstations.
Reduced office snacks, fewer utilities used, and less rented real estate rented means that larger companies can spend less money facilitating people's work and can focus instead on increasing their profit margins.
11. Remote Workers Earning Over $100k Prefer Working from Home
Higher earners are frequently cited as more likely to prefer remote work, which is likely due to remote work offering fewer distractions with greater flexibility. At the end of the pandemic, a study conducted by Owl Labs found that 77% of people who said they wanted to work from home also earn over $100k a year.
12. 50% Of People Would Relocate If They Worked Fully Remote
In a study shared with Global Workplace Analytics, Owl Labs also found that 50% of the 2,025 people surveyed would choose to relocate if they always worked remotely.
This corresponds with trends seen in the housing market, where people are actively seeking properties that have private green space or easy access to walks in the countryside.
13. One in Three Work More Hours Per Week While Working Remotely
People like working from home, which can make it more difficult to leave things for tomorrow when the work day ends. 30% of homeworkers have seen a marked increase in their working hours since moving to remote work.
This trend can make some people feel burnt out, while others become empowered to get things done without having to wait until the office opens again tomorrow.
14. The Number of Remote Working Job Roles Advertised Has Grown by 233%
Remote work has always been around, but until recently many people who worked remotely requested it as a special arrangement. In February 2021, the number of remote jobs advertised in the UK was around 78,000 jobs, which was a 233% increase from the same period in 2020.
Today, new employees often expect remote working from the outset. This is helping to change the homeworking narrative throughout the world.
15. Flexible Working Is Listed As The Most Common Benefit of Remote Working
Statistica's global survey showed that flexible working was the most desirable workplace benefit in 2020, and again in 2022. Flexibility contributes significantly toward leading a healthy work-life balance.
Remote workers have the flexibility to design their own workstations, create their own workdays and fit their work responsibilities into their personal schedules.
16. Over 40% of People Would Consider Quitting Their Current Job to Work Remotely
The workplace is evolving quickly, but many people are still suffering from post-pandemic exhaustion. Microsoft reports that 46% of people would consider quitting their office job to work remotely.
Millennials and Generation Z are particularly sensitive to remote flexibility, as this group makes up a large proportion of the digital nomad population and likes to travel while working.
17. Only 17% of Workers In The UK Say They Are Less Productive At Home
60% of British workers feel they're more productive at home, and 23% feel they're equally productive at home, while only 17% of workers feel they're actively less productive at home.
Interestingly, when the same question was asked of business decision-makers, 44% of company decision-makers felt they themselves are more productive at home, but only 23% said they believe that other people in their company are more productive at home.
This shows that people feel more productive at home, but tend to believe their homeworking colleagues are lazy!
18. Healthcare Industry Has The Highest Percentage of Remote Workers
In America, the healthcare industry has the highest representation of remote workers, while insurance has the lowest. Other key industries for remote workers include finance, technology, and education.
19. Millennials Value Freedom Over Traditional Work Benefits
Many Millennials will judge an offer based on the lifestyle flexibility it affords them. 69% of Millennials prefer the freedom and flexibility of remote work over traditional work benefits like eyecare vouchers, summer parties, medical plans and free lunch.
20. 97% of Workers Would Recommend Remote Working to a Friend
For many years, remote working was something that people naturally shied away from because office work was socially accepted as the normal way to work.
Today, 97% of workers would recommend remote working to a friend. This change in stigmatism is largely accredited to the hybrid movement, which has given more people the opportunity to enjoy regular remote work without feeling like the odd one out.
21. 27% of People Can’t Unplug When Working from Home
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is the blurry line between the home and the home office. Working in home living spaces means that 27% of people struggle to unplug when working from home. This is often cited as the biggest downside to remote work by multiple trusted sources.
22. Introverts Are More Likely to Prefer Remote Working
A lack of social inclusion makes remote work difficult for people who draw their energy from others, but for introverts, homeworking can be an easy way to avoid other people. Introverts are more likely to enjoy homeworking, whereas extroverts tend to prefer office work.
23. Remote Working Reduces Staff Turnover by 25%
The great resignation of 2020 highlighted the importance of keeping people happy, so the challenges around staff retention have been in the hot seat recently. Remote working reduces staff turnover by 25%!
If people are happy they generally stay in their jobs, so this is also a good indication of people's overall improved job satisfaction when working remotely.
24. Remote Working Has Increased by 140% Since 2005
In a study done by Global Workplace Analytics, it was found that remote working in traditional office roles has increased by an average of 10% per year since 2005, with a total increase of 140% seen over 15 years.
This figure doesn't include self-employed homeworkers like freelancers and small business owners, it only applies to roles that used to be office-based and are now remote.
25. Remote Working Can Save Commuters 3 Hours a Week
On average, remote workers save 3 hours a week on their commute time. This varies by industry and location, so it can be a lot more for those living in commuter towns around big cities like London or New York.
26. Most Professionals Predict Remote Working to be the New Normal
The way we think about work is changing. Work is becoming more inclusive, and less restrictive, with far more opportunities given to define the individual's daily experience.
Today, 76% of working professionals believe that remote work will be the default normal in the future.
27. Remote Working Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 600,000 Cars A Year
Working from home is good for people, but it's also good for the planet. The lack of commute means fewer cars on the road, which reduces greenhouse gas.
If 3.9 million people switch to remote work for half their working days, thereby halving their commute time, then remote work would reduce greenhouse gas by the equivalent of removing 600,000 cars off the road every year!
28. Small Businesses Are More Likely to Hire Fully Remote Workers
Sales roles are 66% more likely to be remote, and small businesses are the most likely type of company to hire remote sales workers.
People who work for commissions and perform business-to-client sales roles need little more than a phone and a laptop to work effectively, so small businesses can save significantly on rental and utilities when they hire remote workers.
29. 19% of People Feel Lonely Working from Home
Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp make it easier than ever to stay connected to others while working remotely, but 19% of homeworkers report feeling lonely.
Remote work lacks impromptu socialisation. Those working from home don't get the 5-minute coffee chats scattered throughout the day, and they can frequently miss out on after-work drinks that happen on the spur of the moment.
30. 73% of All Departments Will Hire Remotely by 2028
Upwork, the world's leading freelance work platform that caters exclusively to remote workers, believes that 73% of all departments in all industries will hire remotely by 2028.
What the success of Upwork already proves today is that anything can be done from home, provided people have the right tools to do the work required.
31. Nearly a Quarter of the American Workforce will be Remote by 2025
With so many companies going fully remote, Upwork's unprecedented growth in the freelance industry predicts that people are moving away from simply freelancing for a side-line income towards actively working remotely in full-time roles for large companies on a contractual basis.
According to Upwork's forecasts, 22% of the working population in America will work remotely by 2025.
32. Around 87% of Remote Workers Get Regular Training
One of the main benefits of remote work is the desire to improve productivity. Remote workers are motivated to learn from their experience, so large companies are investing heavily in training opportunities for remote workers.
77% of those who receive training will get it directly from their employer, while a further 10% self-train to boost their skills wherever they can.
33. Over 50% of IT Professionals Think Remote Working is a Security Risk
Cybersecurity is often very tight in large organisations, but this can present weaknesses when people take their work equipment home and connect company systems to personal, unsecured networks.
Naturally, 54% of IT professionals think that homeworking poses an increased security risk, so companies are advised to take proper measures to protect their digital assets in remote teams.
34. 16% Of Global Companies Are Now Fully Remote
Businesses all over the world are seeing the financial gains brought about by remote work, so it's now estimated that 16% of the world's companies are fully remote.
With the rising global interest in hybrid and flexible working, this trend is likely to continue for many years to come.
35. Absenteeism Is Reduced By Remote Work
In Portland, Maine, the Council for Disability Awareness has found that industries with high levels of remote work have significantly reduced absenteeism. The study looked at absenteeism during the pandemic and compared it to the five years leading up to the lockdowns.
The results showed that remote working has always reduced absenteeism, and isn't just a run-off effect from covid isolation. People with high levels of remote work record fewer sick days, and report being sick less frequently than those with office jobs.
36. In the UK, 61% Would Accept a Lower Salary to Work Remotely
With the cost of living rising, employers are frequently faced with a choice between paying people more money in line with inflation or adjusting people's perks to make their jobs more appealing.
When surveyed, statistics about flexible working reveal that 61% of British workers are willing to accept less pay if it meant they could work from home, while 70% would happily switch benefits for remote work.
37. Remote Workers are 50% Happier Than Onsite Workers
Forbes says that people are 87% more likely to love their jobs if they work from home, and also reports that people who work remotely are 50% happier than office workers.
The reason? People working remotely often rely on self-motivation to get things done, which makes the personal reward higher when they do a good job!
38. Remote Workers Are At Lower Risk of Obesity
People who work from home are at a lower risk for a range of health conditions including obesity, inactivity and alcohol misuse. Homeworkers are more likely to build regular exercise into their work routine, rely less on sugary office snacks, and have fewer nights out after work.
39. Remote Workers Feel More Valued Than Office Workers
When asked, 'how valued do you feel on a scale of 1-10?' HubSpot found that office workers scored their perceived value a 6.69 on average, while remote workers scored their perceived value at 7.75.
Not only do remote workers feel more valued than office workers, they also report feeling happier and having better relationships with their co-workers.
While the benefits of remote working have long been around, these 39 statistics about remote working show that working-from-home distractions are a relatively small price to pay for the enormous increase in happiness, motivation, productivity and success that's enjoyed by remote workers throughout the world.
Whether you're hoping to feel more valued, make better use of your time or simply stay in control of your daily snacks, you can use this handy guide to help you work well from home, and these top tips to ask for flexible work if your employer is still one of the 44% who doesn't offer remote work.
Graham Joyce is co-founder of DuoMe, a flexible working advocate and a frequent panellist/commentator on the issues of flexibility or hybrid working.