I’ve seen people claim that remote work is only possible due to the pandemic.
Truth is, remote work is decades old; the first mention of remote work comes from IBM in the 80s.
That being said, for many industries, remote work is turning into the future and I’ve collected some key remote work statistics to show that.
Let’s dive right into it.
Top Remote Work Stats
Before going into more detail, I will give you five of the most impactful remote work statistics.
You’ll find more details about them below.
- The remote workplace services market size will be $111.63 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 23.9%.
- 36.2 million professional American workers will be working remotely by 2025.
- 87% of people take the chance to work remotely.
- 88% of small companies with less than 500 employees are fully flexible.
- There will be 76.4 million freelancers in the US in 2024.
Current State of Remote Workers
Remote work accounts for all instances of hiring where an employee, contractor, or freelancer works from a remote location for a company based in another location.
It’s now becoming a norm because it allows companies to hire top diverse talent – while it allows workers to save on time and money with no commute, fewer food expenses, and other office-based expenditures.
The following stats give a better idea of the state of remote work in 2024.
49% of US workers have worked remotely in the past. (Gallup)
For comparison, in 1995, only 10% of US workers had experience with remote work.
And, contrary to popular belief, remote work has since been gaining traction.
While the 2020 pandemic did provide a boost to remote work, it wasn’t nearly as much as companies have made it out to be.
That being said, since 2020, there has been a minor increase in the number of US workers with remote work experience.
I believe this shows a point where further industries are not able to function with remote work.
2.4% of establishments in the US have hired at least one full-time remote worker. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
This means more than 200,000 businesses in the US have at least one full-time remote worker.
Among such companies, an average of 7.7% of employers are fully remote.
Furthermore, data shows that 22.4% of companies hired a new employee in the last year.
That means around 1 in 10 new hires across the US are remote hires.
However, this data does not show whether the remote hires are within the US or foreign independent contractors.
The remote workplace services market size will be $111.63 billion by 2030. (SkyQuest)
By 2022, the market had a valuation of $20.1 billion. Currently, it’s growing at a CAGR of 23.9% during the 2023-2030 forecast period.
The largest segment in this market is the communication and collaboration tools market.
It’s also the segment with the fastest growth.
In 2024, North America and the Asia-Pacific regions will be the biggest contributors to the global remote workplace services market.
22% of the American workforce will be remote by 2025. (Upwork)
The study reveals that 36.2 million American professional workers will be working remotely by 2025.
That’s an 87% increase compared to remote workers before the pandemic.
Furthermore, 68% of the hiring managers interviewed revealed that remote work continues to get easier and smoother.
58% of Americans have the opportunity to work remotely at least one day a week. (McKinsey)
35% of the respondents said that they have the opportunity to work from home five days a week.
That means almost one-third of the American workforce has the opportunity to remain fully remote for the foreseeable future.
87% of people take the chance to work flexibly. (McKinsey)
Flexible working refers to a hybrid working model where some days are remote and others are on-site.
The study found that almost 9 out of 10 people will take the opportunity to work remotely if they’re given the option to do so.
US executives expect 10.2% of their employees to work fully remote. (HBR)
They expect that percentage to reach 11.2% by 2028. Meanwhile, they expect 14.1% of their employees to work in a hybrid model with expectations of 16.3% by 2028.
Currently, they have 75.7% of their employees on-site. However, the executives expect these numbers to come down to 72.6% by 2028.
60.4% of US employees report no commuting as the main benefit of WFH. (NBER)
49.1% of employees consider flexible work schedules as the main benefit of working from home (WFH).
46.9% focus on saving time by not having to get ready for work.
37.8% believe a quiet environment is the main benefit while 36.7% believe having more time with friends and family is also a primary benefit.
Only 15.7% of employees believe that fewer meetings are among the main benefits of WFH.
Employees value working from home the same as an 8% pay increase. (NBER)
On the other hand, this means that people may be ready to change their jobs and accept a lower salary if they get to work from home.
Most people factor in commute costs, meal expenses, and other in-office overheads.
82% of managers of hybrid/remote teams believe remote and in-house employees have the same career advancement opportunities. (Robert Half)
However, 42% of remote workers have concerns regarding being visible for promotions and various other opportunities.
That’s why remote employees need to have more career pathing conversations, show interest in developmental opportunities, and volunteer to contribute to projects.
Remote Work Market Statistics
As more companies realize the importance of remote work in the context of overhead savings, more talent, and better collaboration, businesses are introducing and developing new remote work tools.
From collaboration tools to project management, time-tracking, and international payment systems, the remote work market is fast-growing.
The following are some statistics that give a better idea of how remote work is shaping the market.
71% of organizations currently use web-based video collaboration tools. (Unisys)
20% of businesses are planning to use such tools. Furthermore, companies are also already using online portals for accessing data, online project management tools, and polling tools.
While this trend is consistent with companies shifting toward the cloud, there has also been an uptick because of remote work.
More companies than ever are using net-based collaboration and management tools, making it easier to commit to both synchronous and asynchronous remote work.
52% of businesses have increased spending on remote desktop software. (TrustRadius)
Remote desktop software refers to all software necessary to make remote work possible, including project management, LMSs, and collaboration tools.
The study also found that 67% of businesses are increasing spending on web conferencing software and 57% on collaboration software.
The collaboration software market is now worth $14.6 billion. (Statista)
Statista’s analysis shows that the market has an annual growth rate of 2% between 2023 and 2028.
Based on that, the market will be worth $16.12 billion by 2028.
The US is the highest contributor to this market, accounting for more than $7.5 billion in revenue in 2023.
32% of remote workers use software and apps not approved by their company’s IT department. (Lookout)
92% of remote workers perform tasks on their personal smartphone and tablet devices.
There have been rising concerns about data leaks due to remote workers mixing their personal and work tasks during work hours.
However, companies are working toward minimizing data breaches.
But a lot of companies are settling for hybrid work settings to curb such security threats.
How Small Businesses are Using Remote Work
Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, but they often have differing views on remote work.
Some consider it a way to hire diverse talent at adjusted rates. Others consider hiring remotely a nuisance due to hiring laws, contracts, and more.
At any rate, small businesses are taking advantage of remote work but in specific industries; here are a few stats showing how.
55% of small businesses are unable to support employees working from home for more than a few days. (Meta)
This has been the case since the pandemic hit the US. 52% of small businesses are more likely to report being out of operation.
The same businesses are more likely to struggle with operational issues like logistics.
51% of small business owners said that interactions with clients and employees need to be in the same physical location. (Meta)
35% of the operational business owners said they can’t work remotely. 17% of SMB managers in the information and communication industry said they can’t work remotely at all.
Meanwhile, 67% of SMB owners of hotels, restaurants, and cafes said they can’t work remotely under any condition.
67% of tech companies with less than 100 employees are fully remote. (Flex Index)
On top of those, 26% of tech companies with 250-500 employees are fully remote.
The report shows a preference for fully remote working options – most companies leave it for their employees to decide.
Meanwhile, others opt for a structured hybrid work system. Only 8% of tech companies have a full-time in-office policy.
Global Remote Work Statistics
Remote work has generated a positive response globally as well as with individuals.
The following remote work statistics are about how remote work has affected the collective and how individuals feel about it.
91% of people have had a positive experience with remote work. (Buffer)
68% of respondents describe having a very positive experience while 23% describe it as somewhat positive.
Only 1% of the respondents in Buffer’s study reported having a somewhat negative experience with remote work.
Meanwhile, 8% were neutral. In my opinion, that’s an overwhelmingly positive response to any state of work.
98% of people would recommend remote work to others. (Buffer)
Only 2% of the respondents said that they wouldn’t recommend remote work.
There are always people who prefer an office environment, in-person meetings, and similar schedules.
That being said, the 98% that recommend remote work to others don’t necessarily mean it in absolute terms – it may just be a recommendation to try it out or be flexible.
36% of remote workers claim that career growth is easier due to remote work. (Buffer)
Another 36% said that working remotely has no impact on career growth while 28% said that remote work has made career growth more difficult.
Compared to Buffer’s 2022 report, the numbers are getting better. Last year, only 22% said remote work makes career growth easier and 45% said that it made it more difficult.
Employers with longer commutes have stronger beliefs in the productivity benefits of WFH. (NBER)
The study found that the longer the commute, the more positive sentiment an employee has towards the benefits of working from home.
This was true both before and after the experiment. Albeit, there was a small increase in the overall belief of how beneficial WFH is to worker productivity.
67% of remote workers feel like they’re less connected to their colleagues. (StandOutCV)
Meanwhile, 20% struggle with being lonely, and 22% find it hard to stop working after they’re done for the day.
35% believe they need to remain at their computers for fast replies.
Recent Remote Work Trends
While remote work has been around for a while, the pandemic led to a lot of changes in how it’s done.
New remote work tools and products, updated company policies, and services marketplaces are only the start.
The following are a few remote work trends that are shaping the future of work.
There will be 76.4 million freelancers in 2024 as freelancing becomes more popular among the US working population. (Statista)
For comparison, there were only 57.3 million freelancers in the US in 2017.
The number has been rapidly increasing over the years as more people adopt a remote working style.
Statista estimates that there will be 90.1 million freelancers in the US by 2028.
That’s almost one-fourth of the total population.
48% of remote workers are more energized compared to last year. (Buffer)
Only 21% of remote workers said that they feel burnt out compared to last year. 21% said there was no change.
Buffer’s research indicates that the burnt-out respondents are often those who were working remotely, but were asked to return to the office with higher expectations.
70% of large employers will be monitoring and tracking remote workers by 2025. (Gartner)
Gartner’s research shows that this number has doubled to 60% right now, almost doubling compared to early-pandemic numbers.
Moving forward, more companies will be adopting this bossware approach. We can expect the same trend in SMBs but at a slower rate.
44% of remote workers are willing to use wearables and sensors so employers can track their productivity. (PwC)
In 2014, PwC had a similar survey where only 31% of respondents agreed to such tracking.
This shows that remote working capabilities also help instill trust and confidence in an organization’s data collection policies.
The pandemic made the world talk about remote work but it’s not a new concept.
That being said, remote work is being adopted by more companies compared to pre-pandemic work settings.
Many startups and businesses are producing software and tools to make remote hiring easier globally.
Meanwhile, we’re also seeing a lot more freelancing platforms pop up, especially specialized ones like Contra.
The remote work statistics above give a glimpse into where the remote work market is right now and where it’s going in the future.
More or less, the trends show that even companies that lean toward an office environment are settling for hybrid work settings.
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