We Studied 18 Remote Work Studies: Here Are The Key Stats

I thought about doing a remote work study. I really did.

Then I remembered that I read amazing ones from Buffer and Owl Labs each year. Then I remembered I read one from GitLab this year that was fantastic. I came to the conclusion that the world does not need yet another remote work, or State Of Remote Work, study… especially in 2021.

But, we may need someone to go through all of the studies to find the interesting statistics and trends. Along with 25 Buildremote expert contributors who all work from home, we surfaced and analyzed the best remote work studies available today. That group also helped me come up with 105 tips for remote work. In this article, you’ll find the most important statistic from each study as well as main takeaways that will drive remote work into the future.

The Best Remote Work Studies: Key Statistics & Takeaways

State of Remote Work 2020 by Owl Labs

Key statistic #1: 23% of full-time employees are willing to take a pay cut of over 10% to work from home at least some of the time.

Key statistic #2: Only 20-25% of companies pay or share the cost of home office equipment, furniture, cable, chair.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I am surprised to find out that most employees are not receiving financial incentives to work remotely. Furthermore, when given the to choose, a fraction of employees would take a pay cut to continue working remotely.” Thank you to Tyler Forte of Felix Homes for sharing this remote work study.

Key statistic #3: People who work remotely at least once per month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I believe this statistic. When working from home, there is less time spent commuting in traffic, less stress, and more time to perform the tasks at hand.” Thank you to Kirsten Selvage of ShopPros for sharing this remote work study.

Key statistic #4: 74% of respondents reported that remote work made them less likely to leave their employer.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I found the Owl Labs report interesting because it’s something they’ve been tracking for years, making it easier to compare how the pandemic’s compulsory remote work has changed the perspective on remote work from previous years. The number of people that reported that remote work made them less likely to leave their employer didn’t change by even a percent, showing that the positive attitude towards remote work isn’t caused by pandemic necessity but is part of a larger pattern in support of the trend.” Thank you to Shaun Price of MitoQ for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.



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Flexing for the Future by Mercer

Key statistic:

94% of employers say that productivity either remained the same or increased with implementation of remote work.

***The takeaways for remote work:

“The move to remote work came as a sudden and necessary leap for many companies. Many business owners and managers had the fear of change, of lowered productivity, and of additional obstacles to collaboration. This study shows that, perhaps, remote work is here to stay permanently for many companies; if not for all employees and full-time, then at least partially. The statistics support the change to remote work, it seems.” Thank you to Natalya Bucuy of LiveHelpNow for sharing this remote work study.

“If the vast majority of employers note that productivity has improved or stayed the same when the employees began working remotely, they have no reason not to facilitate flexibility in where their employees work in the future. This flexibility could alleviate stress for caregivers when situations arise and they need to work from home or elsewhere to better care for their family.” Thank you to Melanie Musson of HomeInsuranceReviews.com for sharing this remote work study.

“Mercer’s study shows that remote work is here to stay and that employers are open to embracing remote work post-pandemic because productivity has remained the same or improved during work-from-home. This provides a wonderful new option for small businesses to scale back on their offices or forgo having a physical office space entirely, rerouting those funds to essential work functions.” Thank you to Yuvi Alpert of Noémie for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

(***Three people shared this study and all of them chose the same key statistic.)

To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home (+ How Working From Home Works Out) by Nicholas Bloom

Key statistic #1: People working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did—meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday per week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.

The takeaway for remote work:

“Often companies are afraid that remote work means lower productivity. In fact, the opposite can be true. Yes, working remotely can bring its own set of distractions. But, it limits the many known distractions of the office: side conversations, ringing phones, etc. These distractions are especially troublesome for introverts or those who prefer quiet. So, offices may also be skewed toward serving certain roles and personalities more than others. As long as companies provide the tools and trainings to help employees succeed remotely, working from home can not only help the bottom line. It can improve employee wellbeing, productivity, diversity, and retention.” Thank you to Jasmine Chen of LIFE Intelligence for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Key statistic #2:

In the United States, 42% of the labor force is now working from home. About 33% are unemployed, and 26% are working away from home, which means nearly twice as many employees work from home than outside the home. The contrast is even more striking when you look at earnings. Work-from-home employees generate more than two-thirds of the United States economic activity.

The takeaway for remote work:

The United States is now a work-from-home economy.

Read the full study here.

Key statistic #3: Only 51% of the survey respondents – mostly managers, professionals and financial workers who can carry out their jobs on computers – reported being able to work from home at an efficiency rate of 80 percent or more.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I find this information interesting because my understanding is almost all businesses that were previously working out of office spaces are continuing their operations remotely, which means that about half of those employees are working under less than desirable conditions. It is unfortunate that even though businesses can continue their operations, their employees suffer because they do not have access to a proper workspace. I can imagine the 49% working out of their living rooms or bedrooms with family or roommates as distractions and poor internet connections. This situation is a big concern because I see a trend of businesses moving towards being fully remote or even a hybrid solution past the pandemic but not accounting for their employees suffering over the long term due to improper work conditions.”

Thank you to Dr. Robert Applebaum of Applebaum MD for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

The 2020 State of Remote Work by Buffer

The key statistic:

98% of respondents would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career.

The takeaway for remote work:

“As the demand and supply chain growing rapidly, there are clear benefits with remote work, 90% of the employees likes to work remotely because it allows them to have a flexible schedule, flexible working condition which allow them to work from anywhere, spending their valuable time with the family along with their family gives them job satisfaction reduced stress, although rest like the other 10% feel like it’s not a good option for remote work as they feel lonely and distractions at home and unreliable wifi according to the statistics stated in this study most of the remote workers wants to continue to work remotely for the rest of their careers, at least for some time in a year. Half of the people agree to spend most of the time working remotely, whereas some say they would like to work remotely more often.” Thank you to Caroline Lee of CocoSign for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

US Remote Work Survey by PwC

The key statistic:

83% of employers state that working remotely has proven successful for their company.

The takeaway for remote work:

“Working remotely is actually much more advantageous than some might think, and employers are excited to see where they can take their business remotely in 2021.” Thank you to Josh Eberly of 717 Home Buyers for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

The Remote Work Report: The Future of Work is Remote by GitLab

The key statistic:

86% of respondents believe remote work is the future. But it’s also the present, as evidenced by 84% of those surveyed saying that they are able to accomplish all of their tasks remotely right now.

The takeaway for remote work:

“That statistic, combined with GitLab’s research showing that 90% of responders are satisfied with existing tools that enable remote team communications, show that remote work is the way forward. We haven’t had a significant evolution in the format of the work day since Roosevelt normalized the 40 hour work week, and a change in our day-to-day best practices incorporating tech advancements has been long overdue.” Thank you to Chris Vaughn of Emjay for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

How Millennials Want to Work and Live by Gallup

The key statistic:

55% of on-site millennial workers are stressed as compared to 62 percent of remote millennial workers.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I found this study from Gallup interesting because it showed that millennials are being hit the hardest emotionally by remote work, although employee engagement remains high across the board. I believe this shows that millennials are more likely to work harder and longer from home, but they feel more pressure to be online all the time, which contributes to stress.” Thank you to Tyler Boyd of Squeeze for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

57 Statistics About Life in Quarantine by Drive Research

The key statistic:

96% of respondents reported experiencing an awkward occurrence in a virtual meeting such as technical difficulties (69%), “Uh, I think you’re on mute” (64%), awkward silence (53%), family members interrupting (52%), and pets making an appearance (51%).

The takeaway for remote work:

“It is interesting to me because COVID-19 has changed how we perceive others during work meetings. Before quarantine, many employees would find the actions listed in this statistic as rude and unprofessional. But now, we’re more accepting because most of these things are inevitable and out of our control when working from home.” Thank you to Emily Carroll of Drive Research for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

How Many Jobs Can be Done at Home? by Journal of Public Economics

The key statistic:

37% of jobs in the United States can be performed entirely at home.

The takeaway for remote work:

“HR professionals have helped lead the transition to a more remote workforce in this past year. It is not surprising that jobs that can be done at home typically pay more or that lower-income economies have a lower share of them. It is interesting to see academic research that quantifies that over a third of the jobs in the U.S. can be done entirely from home. We have entered a new work world the past year and as we return to some normalcy in the future, our work world may still look very different with remote work part of our new normal. ” Thank you to Anita Krieg of KMA Human Resources Consulting for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Canada’s Canadian Workforce of the Future Survey by PwC Canada

The key statistic:

The two-thirds (67%) of Canadian employees who report being provided with upskilling opportunities are more productive and confident in their organization’s leadership than those without.

The takeaway for remote work:

“Investing in employee education and growth has always been important for individual and company productivity as a whole. To see this statistic confirms this and shows that investing in upskilling truly pays off even in tough times, whether that’s the pandemic or other inevitable challenges that come your company’s way.” Thank you to Michael Steele of Flywheel Digital for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Attitudes on Remote Work for Employees in Companies with Digital Output by Statista Research Department

The key statistic:

When asked about their attitudes toward remote work, 86% of 3,000 respondents said, “Remote work is the future of work.”

The takeaway for remote work:

“There seems a clear interest in employees working to work remotely and with 86% of respondents seeing remote work as the future, I think companies will have to start offering more flexibility for remote working. Offering at least some remote working will become a key benefit in attracting the best employees.” Thank you to Paul Symonds of PromarketingOnline for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Employee Benefits 2021: The Definitive Guide to What Employees Want by YouGov and Vestd

The key statistic:

When looking to switch jobs, 66% of job seekers are now prioritizing jobs that offer remote and flexible work (the number one listed desire).

The takeaway for remote work:

“The demand for remote working is increasing. Alongside the obvious time and cost savings from the daily ‘commute’, remote working gives individual team members autonomy, flexibility and a sense of responsibility for their own day and delivery. The other massive bonus is the ability to attract great talent from all over the country. COVID-19 has clearly shifted the dial and accelerated all of our thinking when it comes to remote working, and that’s reflected in the statistics.” Thank you to Ifty Nasir of Vestd for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

New Hires Suffering in Silence: Two Key Ingredients Missing from Remote Onboarding Programs by TINYpulse

The key statistic: Remote new hires are saying they are fine, but behaviorally, they’re not. So much so, that there was a 34% drop in peer recognition.

The takeaway for remote work:

“The main takeaway of this is that it’s an early warning sign for leaders. They need to recognize the costs of remote onboarding and take the appropriate steps to mitigate these negative impacts. Luckily, our research provides some solutions for them.” Thank you to David Niu of TINYpulse.com for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

The Effect of Working from Home on Major Time Allocations with a Focus on Food-related Activities by Springer Science+Business Media

The key statistic: Among individuals with a spouse or partner present, those who worked from home spent 25 more minutes engaged in food production and 48 more minutes eating and drinking at home than did individuals who worked away from home.

See Also: The 2-Person Home Office: How My Wife & I Have Managed For 4 Years

The takeaway for remote work: “I use this statistic as a reminder of the benefits of offering flexibility. A lot of people would prefer to make their own meals, whether it be for health or financial reasons, but even something as simple as that is becoming more difficult. By remaining flexible, we give people the chance to take care of themselves.” Thank you to Thomas Mumford of Undergrads for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Telework in the EU Before and After COVID-19 by EU Science Hub

The key statistic:

The occupational composition of a given sector can be very different across Member States. For example, the shares of high-skilled occupations in ICT and communication was close to 90% in Sweden, whereas this fraction was around 65% in France. As a result, the portion of workers in this sector who occasionally or regularly teleworked in 2018 was as high as 70% in Sweden and only around 40% in France (Figure 7). However, even within the same professional occupation, the prevalence of telework can vary considerably across countries. For instance, while more than 60% of ICT professionals in the Netherlands, was regularly or occasionally working from home in 2018, only 32 and 11% were doing so in Germany and Italy respectively.

The takeaway for remote work:

“My main takeaway is that the ability for companies to switch to remote work at a large scale was higher in Information and Communications Technology and knowledge-intensive sectors, and for workers that were considered of high skill, while there were huge differences in these sectors and also others throughout EU countries.” Thank you to Chris Bolz of Coara for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

UK Workers Would Forego a Chunk of Their Salary to Go Remote Permanently by Citrix

The key statistic:

75% of respondents said that they would accept, or have accepted, a pay cut in return for a fully remote role that allows them to work from anywhere.

The takeaway for remote work:

I will say, I was shocked to read this, as a pay cut wouldn’t necessarily be essential, especially considering costs for offices are lower and also the work will still be completed. If anything, it proved to me that people would do anything to be able to work from home. It is evidently an important thing. Working from home and more flexibility is so important. It gives workers more freedom and also the nice ability to not have to commute every single day – something that can lead to extreme burnout. I think this statistic is so important and interesting, purely because it shows just how working from home has revolutionized workers.” ” Thank you to Stefan Smulders of Expandi for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Microsoft Analyzed Data on Its Newly Remote Workforce by Harvard Business Review

The key statistic:

Microsoft’s researchers found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, remote work has forced employees to collaborate more: they’re spending 10% more time in meetings each week.

The takeaway for remote work:

“I do observe employees working more past the given working hours and I think one reason for this is the need to talk to each other more. When in an office setting, explaining information to your colleague is much easier for example if you have a question you could simply ask personally but now communicating while working from home is a little challenging. You still need to set up or schedule a time for a meeting and wait for the meeting to get your response and that meeting/response might take a while resulting in your work being delayed if that query is about your task for the day. Employees setting up quicker meetings but more meetings are already given and understood since manually typing for each query you have would be time consuming so a video meeting would be preferable and would save you time. Setting quicker meetings would also help managers monitor your employees if they are still on the right track and see your current condition while you are working from home.” Thank you to Stefanie Siclot of Growth Rocket for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Survey Shows Working Remotely Benefits Employers and Employees by ConnectSolutions

The key statistic:

42% of remote workers feel they’re just as connected with colleagues as if they were working on-premises, and 10% feel even more connected.

The takeaway for remote work:

“These findings just showed us that we don’t have to be physically close to each other while working to feel connected, the key is the constant communication and follow-ups (interactions) with the team while doing the tasks is what really matters.” Thank you to Chris Von Wilpert of Content Mavericks for sharing this remote work study.

Read the full study here.

Did we miss a great remote work study?

Like all of our articles, we view them as living resources. We want to update wherever we are missing something or have outdated information. Did you recently come across an insightful study about remote work? Please share it below. We’ll give you credit in exchange for the suggestion.

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