It's 2022. The pandemic is still with us, but many companies want workers to return to the office. But how do workers feel about that? As it turns out, most are unhappy about it and are considering changing jobs to companies that offer more remote work opportunities.
In fact, 35% of employees that participated in the "Great Resignation" did so because their employers were no longer offering remote options.
Remote work was growing in popularity before the pandemic. Yet, the pandemic was the catalyst that led to an explosion in remote work opportunities. Workers are taking significant pay cuts to maintain their remote and hybrid jobs. Many workers will never return to the old way of doing things.
In this article, we'll share some remote work statistics that illustrate how employees feel about remote work and how remote work affects employers.
Key remote work statistics
We chose the following statistics to illustrate how workers feel about remote work while illuminating the benefits to employers. We also included some stats on the challenges associated with remote work to ensure a holistic view of the current remote work situation.
Over 40% of employees work from home regularly
In 2022, the Australian Financial Review reported that 40% of employed Australians work from home regularly.
In addition, Pew Research reported that in January 2022, 77% of American workers with jobs that could be performed remotely worked from home for at least some time. Of all American workers, 56% have jobs they can perform at least part of the time from home.
Since 2007, remote workers have increased by 159%
Forbes Magazine reports that remote workers in the US have increased 159% since 2007. The stimulus for a transition to more remote work before 2020 was the ever-increasing level of broadband availability.
These trends existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic caused an explosion in the popularity of remote work. During the pandemic, workers learned what is possible with remote working — a much better way of living and working.
Over 55% of workers don't want to return to the office
According to Owl Labs State of Remote Work in 2021 report, 57% of American workers prefer to work from home full-time. Of all companies, 39% require their workers to be in the office full-time, while only 29% want to be in the office full-time.
In Harvard Business Review's article, The Great Resignation Didn't Start with the Pandemic, the authors share that 36% of American workers will look for other jobs if they're not offered a remote or hybrid (remote at least part of the time) option.
Employees want choice
Many workers would rather take a 5% pay cut than return to the office. The results vary from study to study, with the percentage preferring a pay cut increasing from 2021 to 2022. Tech workers are most willing to take reduced pay to work from home.
In fact, ZD Net reports in January 2022, 96% of workers would take a 5% pay cut to continue working from home. ZD Net primarily reports on technology issues.
The most likely causes of this trend are:
- Rising petrol prices increasing the cost of commutes to work
- Rising COVID-19 rates during the survey periods
- People returning to the office only to realise they prefer working from home
- A combination of these causes
Whatever the reasoning, it's clear workers want a choice of working from home at least some of the time. Many will even take a pay cut in exchange for the flexibility of working from home.
Over 70% of departments will have remote workers by 2028
According to a recent report from UpWork, 70% of departments will have some remote workers by 2028 – mostly related to skill shortages. Companies that fail to go remote will have difficulty finding enough workers in the upcoming years.
Remote work saves businesses money
Employers can save up to $11,000 per employee in-office overhead costs by switching to remote workers. That's money saved on utility bills and other overhead expenses. Savings are even more significant when employers reduce the amount of office space.
When employers need in-person meetings, it makes sense for smaller companies to use virtual offices or co-working spaces. Larger companies can downsize their office space and have employees share desk space (called hot-desking).
It saves employees money, too
Working from home saves employees money in countless ways. The first way is the reduction in petrol usage since there's no commute. It also saves them an average of 51 minutes in commute time. Employees preparing their own meals instead of paying for takeout in the central business districts is another huge cost-saver. In the US, savings on childcare expenses can dwarf fuel and food expenses. Overall, employees who work remotely save money and time over their in-office counterparts.
Businesses that allow remote work make more money
Forbes Magazine reports remote work increases business profits in the following ways:
- Remote work reduces operating costs
- Remote working increases productivity
- Remote work improves employee retention rate
- Companies that offer remote work have a better chance of hiring the best talent
A Stanford University Business School professor did an experiment with a company providing the option of working from home. The data showed the company's profits increased by $2,000 per remote worker.
Over 80% of workers say they are at least as productive at home
Owl Labs' 2021 report shows that 83% of workers say they were as productive or more productive when working from home. In the same survey, 55% of workers say they worked more hours when working from home.
From an employee's perspective, commute time is part of their work day. Anyone who thinks driving in traffic isn't stressful hasn't looked at the latest road rage and traffic reports. Stress drains a person's energy. By working remotely, employees can direct the energy lost from commuting into higher productivity.
Work-life balance is number one
Flexibility is what employees want. Though there have been challenges for some workers to adapt to working from home, they usually adjust. In some surveys, up to 64% of respondents say working from home has positively affected their work-life balance.
Remote working is greener!
Of course, working from home is better for the environment, too. Cars moving slowly through heavy traffic flood the atmosphere with carbon emissions. If the world has any hope of fighting climate change, remote work is one of our key tools.
Most managers see remote work as the future
Up to six out of seven managers say remote and hybrid work is the future. Though many managers resist remote work, there's no way to stop this trend now. Instead, managers must learn how to operate in this new world.
It isn't hours worked managers need to measure. It's the production for each worker. Therefore, managers need new performance metrics to determine the value of each employee. A manager's eyes can deceive them, but the metrics never lie.
Over 60% of recruiters find a work from home policy helps their recruiting efforts
Over 60% of recruiters say that remote working makes it easier to find skilled talent and fill open roles. This makes sense since more employees want remote work. Remote working also allows employers to pull from the global talent pool instead of being limited by their geographic options.
There are some downsides to be aware of, too.
Everything in life involves trade-offs. Remote work is no different. Forbes Magazine identifies lists the following as some of the primary issues.
- More distractions
- More difficult communication and collaboration
- Technical challenges
- Work-life unbalance
However, with the right approach and #WorkFromAnywhere technology, most of these issues go away.
For example, managed devices and unified communication tools can prevent technical issues and communication problems. Other solutions like time and attendance tracking and real-time employee monitoring help ensure employees maintain a good work-life balance. (You get all these things with Outstaffer.com)
Small businesses are more likely to hire remote
Small businesses are more likely to hire remote workers. So while some large companies are passing up on remote work, these smaller companies are seizing the opportunity to hire the talent they might not have been able to afford in the past.
Remote workers are happier
Owl Labs 2021 survey shows that 84% of employees are happier working from home. Considering all we've already touched on, is it any wonder there's such a high percentage of happy remote workers?
Nearly three-quarters of workers are less likely to quit a remote job
CNBC reports that 64% of the global workforce would consider or are already looking for other jobs when their employer wants them to return to the office full-time. Owl Labs report that 75% of respondents said they would be less likely to look for a new job if their employer provided at least some work-from-home time.
Where to go from here: hiring remote workers
Remote work is here to stay. Businesses that take advantage of the opportunities provided by remote and hybrid working will be ahead of the game.
But as with any change, there are some challenges. From finding the right remote employees to giving them the tools they need to work, Outstaffer is here to make hiring, employing and equipping global talent easier.
Our #WorkFromAnywhere solution lets employees leverage the global talent pool without opening a local entity. Serving as your employer of record, we handle the HR and liability so you can focus on what matters most.
Contact us today to get started.