11 Key Facts About Remote Work

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This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

With millions of Americans moving to working remotely in 2020, the work landscape has changed dramatically. And with that, so too has the perception of remote work as the benefits for employers and employees alike have come to light.

Having a choice of work environment and location is now a key factor for many job seekers when searching for a better work-life balance and evaluating new career opportunities.

Just how much has remote work impacted the notion of business as usual? Here are some intriguing remote work statistics that offer a by-the-numbers look at where things stand.

Remote Work “Works” for Companies

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The massive transition to remote work during the pandemic was a necessity for office-based companies that wanted to maintain operations. But the majority of companies want to continue with some form of remote work post-pandemic.

A Gartner survey of company leaders found that more than 80% plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow employees to work from home full-time. In a PwC survey of 669 CEOs, 78% agree that remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term.

Remote Work Attracts and Retains Talent

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In a recent FlexJobs survey, 65% of respondents reported wanting to be full-time remote employees post-pandemic, and 31% said they want a hybrid remote work environment — that’s 96% who desire some form of remote work.

What’s more, 27% of workers said that the ability to work from home is so important to them that they are willing to take a 10% to 20% pay cut to work remotely. And, 81% said they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.

Remote Work Is Good for Business

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Research shows that businesses lose $600 billion a year to workplace distractions and that remote workers are 35% to 40% more productive than their in-office counterparts.

Among performance-based remote work statistics in 2020, 94% of surveyed employers report that company productivity has been the same (67%) or higher (27%) since employees started working from home during the pandemic.

Remote Work Increases Job Satisfaction

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Despite a tumultuous year in 2020, remote workers report a Workforce Happiness Index of 75 out of 100, compared with 71 for in-office employees. And, remote employees are more likely to report being satisfied with their jobs than office-based workers (57% versus 50%). All in all, those working from home report more positive measurements on almost every question related to job satisfaction.

Remote Workers Are More Productive

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According to FlexJobs’ survey, 95% of respondents say their productivity has been higher or the same working from home, and 51% report being more productive when working remotely. Top reasons for increased productivity include:

  • Fewer interruptions
  • More focused time
  • Quieter work environment
  • More comfortable workspace
  • Not being involved in office politics

Despite pandemic challenges, working parents also report increased productivity, with 49% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers saying they are more productive working from home.

In a Boston Consulting Group study, 75% of employees working remotely report being able to maintain or improve productivity on their individual tasks, and 51% say the same about collaborative tasks.

Remote Work Leads to Better Mental Health

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In a survey with Mental Health America, FlexJobs found that respondents with flexible work options (including remote work) report better mental health. In fact, employees without access to flexible work are nearly two times more likely to have poor or very poor mental health.

Of those who do have flexible work options, 48% say their work-life balance is excellent or very good, and 54% have the emotional support they need at work, compared with 36% and 45% for respondents without flexible work.

Remote Workers Make More Money

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According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work report, remote workers earn more than $100,000 per year more than two times as often as on-site workers. While 74% of remote workers earn less than $100,000 and 26% earn more, that compares with 92% and 8% of on-site workers, respectively.

PayScale analyzed thousands of salaries and determined that remote workers make 8.3% more than non-remote workers with the same job and qualifications and earn 7.5% more in general — not accounting for years of experience, job title, or location.

Add to that the ability to save more money — FlexJobs estimates $4,000 a year — and remote workers come out on top.

Remote Work Is Environmentally Friendly

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One silver lining of the pandemic is that it necessitated human behavioral changes that have led to slowed deforestation rates, reduced air pollution, and improved water quality all over the world.

This positive environmental impact is due, in part, to the millions of people who transitioned to working from home, thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution from commuting.

When 3.9 million employees work from home at least half time, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for an entire year. Considering that 1 in 4 Americans are expected to work remotely in 2021 (approximately 39 million), that number jumps to 6 million cars. With an estimated 13 to 27 million people working from home in coming years, remote work could reduce commuting miles by 70 to 140 billion every year!

And by making environmentally sound choices — like opting to use less paper and monitoring their air conditioning, heating, and lighting — remote workers have the same potential impact on air quality as planting an entire forest of 91 million trees.

Remote Work Is More Favorable in Certain Areas

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According to research by WalletHub, all states are not considered equal when it comes to working from home, with some having more favorable remote-work conditions than others.

Based on 12 metrics, Delaware, Washington, and New Hampshire came out on top. Some of the data points that helped determine which states were most suited to remote work include:

  • Number of people working from home
  • Internet access and cost
  • Price of electricity
  • Median and average home square footage

Remote Work Is Impacting Real Estate

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Remote work gives people more options for where they live, reducing the necessity to live near large metropolitan city centers in order to maximize career potential. And with companies allowing employees to work from home permanently, remote workers are taking advantage of their new location independence, including the 27% of respondents considering a move from our FlexJobs survey.

Whether it’s to flee cities with a high cost of living or to find more space to spread out, remote workers are realizing that they have more real estate choices than ever. According to Zillow, 4.5% of renters in the U.S. (nearly 2 million renter households) who would otherwise be priced out of their current market can now purchase a starter home somewhere else in the U.S., thanks to remote work.

San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., is feeling the burn as remote employees search for more affordable digs. In fact, housing inventory there is up 96% over last year, while listing prices have dropped by 5%. Manhattan is also experiencing a 4.2% drop in home values as residents leave for suburban markets.

Remote Work Is Here to Stay

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According to Upwork, 41.8% of the American workforce continues to work remotely. Although an estimated 26.7% will still be working from home through 2021, 36.2 million Americans (22% of the workforce) will be working remotely by 2025. This is a staggering 87% increase from the number of remote workers prior to the pandemic!

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