The Ultimate List of Work From Home Statistics for 2023
Remote work is reshaping the way we work and live. The advent of technology confirmed that remote work is possible and destined to happen. In fact, remote work has been on an upward trend for close to two decades, but once the pandemic hit, remote work became a reality of many businesses overnight.
Scroll down to discover key remote work statistics and see how the world is adapting to the sudden shift to remote work, the benefits employers and employees have realized, the drawbacks, and how remote work is impacting businesses across the world.
Fascinating Remote Work Statistics
- Only 7.9% of the global workforce worked remotely before Covid-19; today, 41% of the American workforce are working remotely.
- The remote work potential average in high-income countries like the US is 10x the possible average in low-income countries like Nepal.
- Employees are less likely to work a full 8 hours from the office (12%) than from home (14%).
- On average, a remote worker saves 408 hours per year of free time by not commuting to work.
- Only 1 in 10 organizations have offered subsidies to the employees for managing the costs of working remotely.
- 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.
Remote Work Statistics: The World At Large
1. 41% of the American workforce are working fully remote, 2x the pre-pandemic fully remote workforce
(State of Remote Work)
Although remote work became the new normal in 2020, remote working was common even before Covid-19. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people working from home has risen by 159% in the US since 2009.
In 2018, 16% of companies were fully remote and were operating without offices or headquarters. In addition, 40% were hybrids that presented both remote and in-office options to the workers. And only 44% of companies didn’t allow the employees to work remotely.
Even in 2019, 62% of respondents (1202 people reviewed) said they had worked some time remotely, while as much as 50% said they work remotely at least once a week.
Come the pandemic, 70% of the US full-time workers were working from home; in which 51% were working remotely, and 49% returned to the office for at least one day a week.
As of 2021, 58.6% of workers were working remotely, of which 41% were fully remote employees.
And while Covid-19 accelerated the rate of working remotely, it has been rising even from before — the reason: speedy advancements in technology and awareness about healthy work-life balance.
2. In high-income countries like the US, 35.5% of all jobs are suitable for work from home, 10x the low-income countries.
(World Bank, 2020)
World Bank predicts that remote work in low-income countries like Nepal could only be practiced by 14.7% of the workforce because of the nature of the occupation in the country.
In Ethiopia, only 5.3% of jobs are suitable for remote working. Important to realize the actual work from the home rate in these countries drop by half. The actual work-from-home rate averages 3.2% in low-income countries.
However, in mid-income countries like India, 18.7% of all jobs are suitable for work from home.
At the same time, in high-income countries, 35.5% of all jobs are suitable for work from home, ten times the low-income countries.
The average in the countries with better internet access like the Netherlands (40.23%) Switzerland (53.5%) is even higher.
The explanation is simple: low-income countries do not have a potent primary market of jobs that could be worked remotely. Additionally, internet penetration (only 59.5% of the global population uses the internet) and connection speed also have an effect.
Another critical point is that metropolitan areas can create more flexible working space than the ruler areas because of the variation in the type of work.
3. 35% of remote workers say don’t they have internet fast enough — or no internet — to facilitate telecommunication
While 65% of remote workers reported having enough internet speed to support workable virtual meetings, many remote workers lack the facilities or sufficient internet capacity to work remotely.
According to Owl Labs, only 49% of remote workers log in from a dedicated home office. On the other hand, more than half (51%) of remote workers do not have a dedicated room and work from their bedroom or a communal area.
4. Only 7.9% of the global workforce was working remotely before Covid-19.
(International Labor Organization)
ILO’s remote work statistics before Covid-19 states that there were 260 million remote workers, accounting for 7.9% of the global employed population (3.3 billion), in the more general category of home-based work, including the self-employed people.
56% of these 260 million were women, amounting to 11.5% of the global women workforce, while the rest, 44% of male full-time remote workers, accounted for 5.4% of entire men workers worldwide.
Looking at the labor statistics of the individual countries, 12% of entire US workers were working remotely before the pandemic. Additionally, 18 million (10.3%) of the 183 million employed were working from home in Europe, while only 2% of Australians were full-time remote workers.
In some countries, like Bulgaria (0.3% of total employed) and Romania (0.4% of the entire workforce), the proportion of remote employees was barely noticeable.
5. Sectors such as construction (15%), hospitality (8%), and agriculture (7%) have the lowest potential of working from home.
Contrary to popular belief, remote work is not determined by occupation, but by duties and activities, one has to perform. Out of 2000 activities, only 800 activities have the most significant potential for remote work.
Because even in occupations like Finances and Insurance — the possibility of working from home is 78%. The potential for remote work in other IT-based disciplines like management and professional services is 68% and 62%, respectively.
However, looking at the in-practice rate relative to their share of the total workforce, healthcare (15%), technology (10), and financial services (9%) industries have the highest proportions of remote workers in the US.
Nevertheless, the activities involved in some occupations call for more physical or manual activities like agriculture, where the potential for remote work is lowest. Likewise, other sectors like transportation, food services, property maintenance also have a low potential for remote work due to the physical activities involved.
6. Japan has the lowest work from home rate (10%) among developed high-income countries.
There was a 30% increase in remote work rate across Europe and the US during Covid-19, but only a 5.2% increase in Japan. The reason: heavy reliance on paper, many Japanese workers use their seal of authorship and process invoices on the form.
Moreover, most Japanese workers do not own a computer. A report from Japan Productivity Center said employees lack Wi-Fi and decent IT equipment to work from home. At the peak of Covid-19 (2020), only 1 in 10 Japanese full-time workers was able to work remotely. In comparison, almost 1 in 4 South Korean workers were able to work from home at the same period.
Even those who own a computer cannot understand how to use online collaboration tools or any other applications. Fearing they cannot do their work online and their employer will find them out — most refused to work from home.
Remote Work Statistics: The Benefits of Working From Home
7. Employees are less likely to work a full 8 hours from the office (12%) than they are from home (14%).
(Stanford, Own Labs)
According to a Stanford study of 12000 remote workers over nine months, working from home increased productivity by 13%. On average, a remote employee spends 10 minutes less a day being unproductive and works one more day a week at home than in the office.
Even the employers who use employee monitor software to manage their remote team report (75%) remote workers perform better than working individually in-office. However, when working on collaborative tasks, only 51% had maintained or improved their productivity compared to working in-office space.
According to Owl Labs’ home productivity statistics report, only 1% of those who worked from home during Covid-19 say they are less productive at home than in their office environment. In comparison, 24% of workers report that working from home hasn’t affected their productivity.
But a majority (67%) of remote workers report increased productivity. Of which, 30% say they complete more work in less time, while 24% say they do more work in the same period due to fewer distractions.
However, a Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that home-distractions decrease productivity when workers have tedious tasks at hand. On the other hand, if remote workers have to do something creative or simple tasks — they are more likely to do better at home than in an office environment.
8. 1 in 2 workers that worked from home during Covid-19 would take a pay cut of up to 5% to work remotely — always or sometimes — in the future
Furthermore, 40% of full-time workers that worked from home would take a pay cut of up to 10%, and about 37% would take a pay cut of more than 10% — to be able to work from home after the pandemic.
The employees gave multiple motivations for taking a pay cut to work at least part of the time remotely:
- Almost 86% say remote work allows them to support their family well.
- 84% say they are happier working remotely than working as in-office employees.
- 83% say remote work enables them to create a better work-life balance, while as much as 79% of them are less stressed working remotely.
Many said they are much more likely to recommend their company to others if part-time remote working is allowed. Additionally, 79% of full-time workers working from home said they feel their employers trust them and care more when they work from home.
9. Organizations that allow remote work — sometimes or always — have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
(Employee Benefit News)
The remote work statistics report from Employee Benefit News states employers have to spend 33% of a worker’s annual salary on hiring a replacement. The same survey also reports that 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable.
There are several drivers for employees to leave their jobs (3 million US workers quit their job every month). But the most significant causes for employees leaving their job are depleted employee morale and mental health, loud colleagues, lousy work environment, long working hours, inability to create a work-life balance.
The above remote work stats show that remote workers have a better work-life balance and maximum productivity. Also, both the employer and employee satisfaction rates are higher. So, it is not difficult to see why organizations supporting remote work have a 25% lower employee turnover.
10. On average, a worker saves 408 hours per year of free time by not commuting to work.
Additionally, an average employee can save about $4,000 per year (based on the average annual income of an employee in the US). Furthermore, even companies could save costs related to renting and utilities, cleaning services, and taxes (property). In fact, according to Owl Labs, 60% of employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit of working remotely.
But not only in terms of time and money, daily commute to and from work directly affects the greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, although public transport is the third-most-popular commute in the US, 3 (111 million) in 4 workers drive to work alone to the office or factory every day.
According to US Environmental Protection Agency, transportation (29.3%) is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. If the workers prefer working from home for half the week, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons (600,000 fewer cars on the road) every year.
11. Remote workers are happiest when they spend 76% or more of their time working remotely.
An interesting remote work statistics from Buffer indicate a correlation between people who work from home 75% of the time and people who are happy with the amount of time they work remotely.
More than 80% of remote workers who work remotely entirely and 70% of remote workers who work most of the time (>75%) remotely are content with the amount of time they work remotely. On the contrary, 50% of the people who work remotely half of the time want to work from home more often.
Likewise, 82% of people who work remotely 25% of the time want to work more; on the other hand, only 2% of the people who work remotely 25% of the time want to work remotely less often. Meaning people who work remotely less want to work from home more often.
12. 3 in 4 of workers who have worked remotely during the pandemic say working from home is better for their mental health
53% of American workers say Coronavirus has impacted their mental health negatively. Nevertheless, when it comes to working from home, 74% say working from home is better for their mental health.
Remote Work Statistics: The Challenges of Working From Home
13. 62% of millennials reported higher stress levels while working remotely during Covid.
Puffy’s National Sleep Survey indicates although 74% prefer to work from home, a vast majority of this proportion are sleeping less and feel more stressed.
The same report indicated that about 82% of remote workers sleep late than their usual time, and only 36% claim sleep satisfaction. However, on a positive note, 63% of remote workers — despite going to bed late — are more productive than usual (which matches the Owl Lab’s stats on remote worker productivity).
Owl Lab’s remote work trends best explain the reason for lack of sleep and less sleep satisfaction; for instance, 30% of men and 21% of women reported working two more hours per day. In fact, only 12% of remote workers report working fewer hours than at the office.
Furthermore, there is another factor that affects takes a toll on employees’ mental health. For instance, adults who set up a home office are less stressed than individuals working in the bedroom or living room.
Of the 36% of remote workers of all age groups who worked in a home office, 54% are baby boomers (57 – 75 years old). As much as 80% of Millenials (26 – 41 years old) and Gen Z (21 – 25 years old) worked from the living room, bedroom, or dining room.
14. Communication, collaboration, and loneliness are the top challenges for remote employees and employers.
Communication and collaboration are the biggest struggles for more than 20% of remote workers.
Although there is a 78% increase in the utilization of team collaboration software, 63% increase in the utilization of business management software, 43% increase in the utilization of project productivity software since the pandemic started, only 36% of employers have upgraded their video technology to improve hybrid collaboration.
On the other note, another 20% say loneliness was their biggest struggle while working from home during Covid-19. In addition, Vikings’ survey on 1500 freelancers revealed that 63% of respondents admitted loneliness was their primary struggle. Furthermore, according to Global Workplace Analytics, 68% of remote employees say they miss work-related social events.
Be that as it may, loneliness may have less to do with remote work, given that loneliness is labeled an epidemic in the US (by New York Times). Still, there is an easy solution for overcoming loneliness: opt to work in a casual coworking space.
Other top challenges of remote workers include not being able to unplug (18%), distractions at home (12%), different timezones (10%), staying motivated (7%). Plus, 3% of remote workers say they do not have a reliable internet connection, and it is their biggest challenge.
15. About half (48%) of the remote workers remain silent during video calls because of burnout from an excessive number of meetings.
Yet only 11% of employers show concern about employee burnout.
Beyond that, dealing with hybrid video calls while others are in-person remains one of the top challenges of remote workers:
- 72% say they can’t tell who is speaking
- 70% say it’s difficult to contribute
- 67% feel disengaged
- 62% say they can’t see the faces
- 62% say they can’t see the presentation
- While as much as 60% say they feel left out
Nevertheless, when it comes to remote meetings (everyone connected virtually), Owl Lab’s remote workers statistics report that 71% find it easier to present in meetings remotely compared to in-person. Furthermore, about 70% say online meetings are less stressful, while only 15% find it less productive than in-person meetings.
The challenges faced during hybrid meetings are a result of companies not adapting to hybrid office space.
However, given that 57% of companies globally are planning to upgrade their conference rooms to support hybrid video meetings by the end of this year — the new environments will overcome the challenges of hybrid arrangements.
16. Only 1 in 10 organizations have offered subsidies to the employees for managing the costs of working remotely
A survey based on 283 large employers (employing over 4.4 million US workers) revealed that only 2 in 10 companies had provided tools to the employees who may work remotely long term.
The same survey revealed that more than 65% of remote workers make less than US$ 75,000 annually. Furthermore, almost half of these make less than US$ 25,000 annually.
That is to say, remote employees, are not equipped to cover work-from-home expenses.
Remote workers paid on average US$ 194 to buy remote equipment. Moreover, other workers who weren’t allowed to bring equipment home — nearly 1 in 3 — spent US$ 34 more on office supplies to work remotely.
Yet only 47% of organizations are considering any allowances and reimbursement policies for remote employees.
Remote Work Statistics: Impact and Adaptations to Management Practices
17. 60% of organizations made changes to team meetings post-first-lockdown, and over half changed the structure of their internal communications.
Given the potential to operate 44% (average of all industries) of their workforce remotely, 84% of organizations are rapidly digitalizing their business processes.
Besides temporary changes to suit remote working during Covid-19, 26% of organizations report making changes (than usual in a typical year) to their long-run management practices for adopting remote work better. Other 41% say they have made somewhat more changes than usual. And these changes are not limited to incorporating online team communication tools.
In fact, they go well beyond video communication and collaboration tools — the business world already has adapted these during the pandemic.
Their most significant focus is on incorporating workflow management software that allows employers and employees to collaborate asynchronously and create a productive work environment suitable for remote working.
Furthermore, 35% of organizations have changed priorities while recruiting new employees. Over 40% have switched to online training, and 25% have changed how they share performance reviews.
18. 1 in 3 organizations has experienced a security breach because of a remote worker’s actions.
Although 93% of organizations have a remote work security policy in place, and as much as 90% offer security training to remote workers, 36% of the organization have encountered security vulnerabilities because of their remote employees.
Furthermore, 90% of employers believe remote work poses a greater security risk to their organization.
19. Over 50% of businesses say remote work has changed their view towards using outside services.
(Not Just Tech)
After seeing the remote work culture, companies are now more than ever willing to hire freelancers to substitute for the firm’s employees. With over 37.6% of all work done by external services, web/ mobile/ software development is the top sector when it comes to using freelancers or outside assistance.
However, using external services is not limited to the tech industry alone. Global Workplace Analytics’ remote work statistics indicate that the impact of freelancers is widespread and has been increasing across all sectors since the pandemic.
Upwork key remote work statistics indicate that over 24% of organizations say they are much more willing to hire freelancers than before. Another 33% say they are somewhat more likely to use external services to do work. Nonetheless, 30% are still hesitant, while 13% are less likely to use outside help than before.
Remote Work Statistics: Future Trends
20. 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028
(Future Workforce Report)
Upwork’s remote work trends indicate that younger generation managers (Millenials and Gen Zers) are more likely to prioritize remote work than older generation managers.
The same report also indicates that 52% of younger managers ranked future workplace planning as their top priority, 3x more than older age groups. Furthermore, younger generation managers are 3x more likely to involve freelancers and remote workers than Baby Boomers.
The Millenials and Gen Zers make up 38% of the workforce today, which will be 58% by 2028.
Meaning as the younger generation ascends to the workforce and managerial positions, remote work will become more common; by estimation, 73% of all future workforce will be working remotely by 2028.
21. Remote working is impacting real estate, and a typical office space could come down by 30%
With both large organizations and small businesses giving the green light to long-term remote work, workers are moving from urban to suburban and rural communities.
56% of those who have moved in the past few years state they want a better quality of living. 45% say they moved because of the lower cost of living or housing, 35% say they moved for better weather or a different climate.
Be that as it may, 4.5% of American households who couldn’t purchase a house earlier near their workplace can now buy a home somewhere else because of remote work.
Work From Home Statistics in a Nutshell
Remote work is here to stay. And the number of remote workers will continue to increase in coming years.
The reasons are apparent: remote workers have more job satisfaction and are more productive due to flexible schedules and fewer distractions than office workers.
Moreover, even employers have realized the benefits of remote work. And as indicated earlier, most companies allow their workers to work remotely at least 30% of the time, especially after the pandemic.
Yes, there are some drawbacks. And these challenges stand because of the sudden shift towards remote work. Most businesses weren’t prepared to walk at the pace they did during Covid-19. But with ongoing adaptation to business and management practices, the challenges will be short-lived.
Even now, the benefits of remote work outweigh the risks.
So, what did you decide? Will you consider increasing the number of remote workers in your organization and profit from remote work or suffer by sticking to old-school practices?
- OwnLab’s State of Remote Work 2018
- OwnLab’s State of Remote Work 2019
- OwnLab’s State of Remote Work 2020
- OwnLab’s State of Remote Work 2021
- Upwork Future Workplace Report 2021
- Global Workplace Analytics 2020
- World Bank, 2020
- Stanford News
- Business Because
- Threat Post
- International Labor Organization
- Employee Benefit News
- Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2020
- Upwork’s Not Just Tech Report