The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote work the new normal for millions of American workers. But remote work is far from new. The term “telecommuting” was coined by a “work from home” NASA scientist in the 1970s, when the oil crash prompted many companies to mull remote work as a cost-saver. Within the next decade, nearly all the era’s major tech companies were experimenting with remote workforces. By 2009, 40% of IBM’s workforce was remote. Flash-forward to 2020, and social distancing has helped remote work adoption reach new heights for businesses of all sizes.
If you’re looking for statistics on remote work, they largely fall into two categories: pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19. Consider this your go-to list of remote work research, including its effects on productivity and the future of work in America.
Statistics on remote work adoption
- As of April 2020, 62% of employed Americans had worked from home during the crisis, a number that has doubled since mid-March (Gallup)
- Just 26% of remote workers would prefer to return to the office once businesses and schools reopen (Gallup)
- 30% of executives believe they’ll need less office space in three years due to remote work (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- 55% of executives expect to offer employees at least one day per week of remote work moving forward (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- 49% of remote workers would like to continue working from home; 22% because they prefer it and 27% because of coronavirus concerns (Gallup)
Statistics on remote work productivity
- 44% of executives report that employees have become more productive since working from home (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- 80% of workers say they enjoy working from home, and 41% say it has made them more productive (McKinsey)
- 41% of US-based financial leaders cite workforce challenges and/or reduced productivity as a Top 3 concern for business post-COVID-19 (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- 14% of consumer-facing companies are concerned about reduced productivity following COVID-19, while 16% are concerned with the ability to effectively manage hybrid remote and onsite work models (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- Professionals who work remotely 60% to 80% of the time were the most likely to respond that their engagement needs were met. (Gallup)
In a 500-person company, a 5% increase in employee productivity through remote work would save $3,000 per employee. A 15% productivity bump would save as much as $8,000 per employee, or $4 million annually. (Gallup)
- 76% of venture-backed founders reported productivity has either maintained or increased as a result of working remotely (The Kung Group) 32% of remote workers said doing so made them feel lonely, and 35% said remote work could potentially impact their work social connections, illustrating the need for new remote work models that enhance the human connection (Deloitte)
- Executives and employees both agree that better equipment and greater flexibility in work hours are critical to boosting productivity. Yet less than 50% of executives plan to take steps to help manage workloads or set clear rules on availability. (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
Statistics on the future of office work
- 73% of financial leaders say work flexibility during COVID-19 will make their company stronger in the long run (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- Office-space decision makers expect the time worked in main offices to decline by 12% and satellite offices by 9%, while working from home will increase to 27% of work time (McKinsey)
- 49% of financial executives say they plan to implement measures that enhance the remote work experience at their company (Pricewaterhouse Cooper)
- 54% of office workers say they would leave their current job for one that offered remote work flexibility (Gallup)
- In the wake of COVID-19, 49% of HR teams are implementing organization-wide hiring freezes, and 41% are looking to make better use of technology in the workplace (Gartner)
- 66% of founders of venture-backed companies are reconsidering their investments in physical offices entirely (The Kung Group)
As the business landscape continues to transform, there’s one thing we know for certain: remote work is here to stay. But with the rise of remote work also comes challenges. At REAL, we help executives and organizations get all the benefits of dedicated onsite teams, plus the flexibility of remote resources. The result? Enhanced productivity and reduced costs, without removing the human collaboration that drives real progress.
Do you need to scale up to tackle new projects? Are you looking to rightsize your workforce without eliminating any core capabilities? Or maybe you’re an executive who needs extra support to navigate what’s ahead. No matter your stage of growth, we’re here to help. Let our REAL Partners boost your productivity and raise the benchmark for what remote teams can accomplish.