Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
There’s no doubt about it—remote work has had a banner year.
But, while many of the well-known remote work statistics help tell the story of how far it’s come over the past several years, there’s also a lot yet to be discovered. We dug deep to find these fun facts about remote work!
A Remote Future
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 5.2% of employees in the United States worked from home full time in 2019.
Of course, COVID-19 lockdowns sent many more home to work, but in March 2021 — more than a year into the pandemic — nearly six in 10 (58%) of working adults in America were still working from home at least part of the time.
Now that the benefits of remote work have become clear to employers and employees alike, by 2025, an estimated 22% of the workforce in America (36.2 million people) will be remote. This is an 87% increase from pre-pandemic numbers!
Although most people are aware that working from home is better for the environment, the actual numbers are staggering.
For instance, if 3.9 million employees work remotely at least half-time, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the equivalent of taking over 600,000 cars off the road for a whole year.
Considering that approximately 39 million Americans plan to work remotely in 2021, that number jumps to 6,000,000 fewer cars on the road! With anywhere from 13 to 27 million people working from home over the next several years, remote work stands to reduce commuting miles by 70 to 140 billion every year.
And when remote workers make environmentally-minded choices in their home offices — such as using less paper and monitoring heating and lighting usage — they stand to have the same impact on air quality as planting a forest of 91 million trees.
There tends to be an assumption that remote jobs allow employees to work from anywhere, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, 95% of remote jobs have specific location requirements.
That’s right! Whether it’s due to legal and tax considerations, client-based work, licensing requirements, or several other factors, most remote jobs require that workers live in a certain city, state, country or region.
The good news is that more companies are realizing the benefits of expanding their candidate pool beyond their immediate geographic locale — and offering employees the option to work from anywhere they choose.
It’s clear that working from home can save employees money, but exactly how much do remote workers stand to save?
Statistics show that the average remote worker can save around $4,000 per year! The biggest savings come from the elimination or reduction of commuting costs that include:
- Car maintenance
- Car insurance
- Public transportation
Remote workers also save by not having to buy work clothes, not eating out as much and utilizing work-from-home tax breaks.
Is your furry (or scaly) friend an integral part of your home life? FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship survey found that 85% of respondents say that having flexible work options, including remote work, would help them be better pet owners.
Working from home naturally enables people to spend more quality time with all the ones they love.
Not surprisingly, the flexibility of remote work improves quality of life and benefits both mental and physical health in a variety of ways:
- Helps people take better care of their mental health (80%)
- Decreases their level of stress (83%)
- Increases the time they spend exercising (67%)
And in a FlexJobs survey with Mental Health America, respondents report that they’d also be open to participating in virtual mental health solutions offered in the workplace, such as:
- Meditation sessions (45%)
- Healthy eating classes (38%)
- Virtual workout classes (37%)
As the economy and job market continue to recover, certain industries are poised to take the flexible and remote job market by storm.
These top five fast-growing career categories have experienced over 10% growth in flexible job listings since the beginning of 2021:
- Virtual Administration
- HR & Recruiting
- Nonprofit and Philanthropy
- SEO and SEM
There’s a belief that people need to be physically together to foster the creativity and brainstorming essential for business success.
However, research indicates that where employees work has no impact on team creativity in the workplace. Specifically, workers are as likely to agree that their teams are as or more creative when working fully remotely (53%) or in a hybrid remote arrangement (54%), compared to working full-time in an office (53%).
Remote Work Experience
When hiring for remote positions, employers like to see previous remote experience. But many job seekers assume that only means a traditional work-from-home job.
In actuality, remote experience comes in many forms and can include any of the following:
- Taking classes online
- Earning degrees and certifications remotely
- Working occasionally from home
- Temporary remote work (i.e., during the pandemic)
- Working via email, phone and online collaboration
- Working with people across time zones
- Remote volunteering
If you’re wondering if your remote experience “counts” when you’re applying for remote jobs, ask yourself: “Was I productive and effective working, volunteering, or studying remotely? Did I do it enough that I could talk about it during a job interview?”
When you can answer “yes” to both, it counts! As you prepare your application materials, make sure you show your remote work experience on your resume in a way that stands out to potential employers.
FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship survey asked 3,900 people how having a flexible job would impact various aspects of their non-work lives, including their romantic relationships. Respondents said that flexible work would:
- Benefit their romantic relationship: 64%
- Improve their sex life: 64%
- Help them be a more attentive spouse/partner/significant other: 80%
- Increase time available for dates/date nights: 53%
Cover Letters Still Matter
Whether you’re applying to remote, office, or hybrid jobs, cover letters are still essential components of your job applications.
In a ResumeLab survey of 200 hiring managers, 83% of hiring managers agreed that a cover letter could help job seekers snag an interview, even with a less-than-perfect resume.
When cover letters are “optional” on an application, 77% of recruiters said they give preference to candidates who submit one. And, applications with customized cover letters tend to result in 50% more interviews than job applications without.
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