Remote Work Statistics Prove It's the Future of Work

Remote employee on a business call.

Globally, 16% of companies, including HiringThing, are fully remote companies. We’ve been fully remote since our 2012 founding. We’re big advocates of remote work and are thrilled to see it trending its way from outlier to status quo. Remote work is truly the future of work, and while we may be very biased, the statistics back us up!

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Remote Work is Here to Stay

The number of remote workers in the U.S. rose 173% between 2005 and 2018.

The number of remote workers in the U.S. rose 173% between 2005 and 2018. Then, the pandemic happened, and it went into overdrive. COVID-19 pandemic closures made working remotely ubiquitous for a time. Gartner reports that 88% of organizations worldwide made it mandatory for employees to work from home in the spring of 2020, and a Gallup poll conducted in April of 2020 found 70% of participants worked remotely at least one day a week.

For those of us invested in the remote work life, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey from January 2021 found 83% of employers felt the shift was a success, compared to just 73% from their June 2020 survey—the January 2021 survey also found 52% of executives now report employees are more productive than they were before the pandemic, up from 44% in the earlier survey.

PwC found 72% of those surveyed want to keep working remotely at least 2 days a week (32% want to work remotely permanently).  Similarly, a Deloitte survey of 9,000 workers from around the world found 72% said they’d prefer a hybrid work model versus returning to the office permanently (coincidentally, Fortune found 63% of high-growth companies have some kind of hybrid-work model).

Gartner found that even with many organizations returning to the office, 74% of organizations will shift at least some of their workforce to permanent remote-work status. A Forbes study found that 74% of the workforce expects remote work to become “standard,” and Upwork predicts that by 2028, 73% of all organizations will have at least some of their team working remotely in a full-time capacity and forecasts that 22% of the U.S. workforce will permanently be fully remote by the end of 2025. 

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Today’s Employees Want to Work Remotely

Buffer’s State of Remote Work report found 99% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely.

Today’s employees overwhelming want to work remotely:

  • Buffer’s State of Remote Work report found 99% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely and 97% of remote workers would recommend remote work to others.
  • Buffer also found that 84% of workers prefer remote work to office work. 
  • Owl Labs found that 42% of employees with the option to work remotely plan on doing so more often in the next five years. 
  • 77% of future workers find the possibility of working from home at least one day a week to be “a great incentive.”
  • 69% of millennials would give up other work benefits for a more flexible remote work policy. 
  • 75% of Gen Zs and 76% of millennials would prefer a hybrid or remote work arrangement.
  • FlexJobs 10th Annual Survey found that 97% of respondents desired some form of remote work post-pandemic —58% want to be fully remote, while 39% want a hybrid model. 
  • A separate FlexJobs survey found 58% of respondents would “absolutely” look for new work if they couldn’t continue working remotely. 
  • FlexJobs also found that 79% of workers said they'd be more loyal to employers with more flexibility regarding remote work. 
  • 89% of companies have introduced a remote work policy (or are in the process of creating one).
  • The number of job listings with remote work has tripled since 2020.

58% of respondents would “absolutely” look for new work if they couldn’t continue working remotely. 

Employers like remote work too—76% of companies say hiring is no longer geography-dependent, which widens their candidate pool, increases diversity, and strengthens retention (if a current employee moves, they don’t have to take a new position).

Remote work can also help increase an organization’s job applicant traffic. Want additional ways to get more individuals applying to your company? Check out The HiringThing Guide to Increasing Your Applicant Traffic.


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The Benefits of Remote Work

Remote work has numerous benefits for both employers and employees. 

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A Global Workplace Analytics study found 72% of employers say remote work helped with employee retention. 

  • Companies that allow remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
  • A Global Workplace Analytics study found 72% of employers say remote work helped with employee retention. 
  • 34% of workers who said they plan on looking for a new job post-pandemic said they were looking for one with remote options. 
  • 95% of workers who participated in a survey said they’re considering changing jobs, with many saying “working from anywhere” being a top reason for this switch.

 A mid-2020 McKinsey study found remote workers are 10% more engaged than their in-office counterparts, and there’s a direct correlation between engagement and retention. The same report also indicates a 55% increase in job satisfaction for remote workers.

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Work-Life Balance

  • 40% of individuals who work remotely find the biggest benefit is the flexible schedule—flexible schedules can help individuals maintain healthy work-life boundaries. 
  • Individuals who spend just 50% of their time working remotely save an average of 11 days per year on travel time alone! Think of how much more time you’d have to spend with friends, family, or on hobbies if you had 11 extra days a year! 
  • 2019 statistics show how much remote workers enjoy their work-life balance, citing that 30% most value working from any location, 14% most enjoy spending more time with family, and 13% value working from home. 
  • Researchers at car-shopping app CoPilot studied how much time residents of cities with major commuting times gained back from not commuting during pandemic closures (time they can then spend on personal endeavors). They found: 
    • New York City: 15.2% time gained back from not commuting
    • Chicago: 13.1% time gained back from not commuting
    • Philadelphia: 13% time gained back from not commuting
    • Oakland: 12.6% time gained back from not commuting
    • Los Angeles: 12.4% time gained back from not commuting

According to the CDC, 40% of the nation reports that their jobs are stressful—stressed employees make more mistakes, are less productive, and have a higher turnover rate. A healthy work-life balance can reduce stress and benefit any organization. 

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Mental Health

84% of employees shared that working remotely would make them happier.
  • 84% of employees shared that working remotely would make them happier.
  • The Tracking Happiness Study found employees working from home were 20% happier on average than their in-person counterparts. 
  • 80% of remote workers experience less work-related stress than their in-person counterparts. 
  • Remote workers reported a Workforce Happiness Index score of 75 out of 100, compared to 71 for in-person employees. Remote workers were more satisfied with their jobs  vs. in-person employees (57% vs. 50%) 
  • FlexJobs found remote workers report better mental health—48% say their work-life balance is excellent and 54% say they have the emotional support they need at work—employees without access to flexible work are two times more likely to have poor or very poor mental health.
  • 56% of FlexJobs respondents say flexibility in their workday is the top way workplaces can better support employee health and wellness. 

Studies show there’s a deep connection between mental health and job satisfaction. 70% of respondents told Flexjobs that a permanent remote job would have a considerable or positive impact on their mental health. 

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  • The Owl Labs 2021 State of Remote Work Report asked remote employees about their productivity during COVID-19 closures. Only 1% of remote workers said they were less productive. 67% said they were more productive. 
  • Stanford University conducted a two-year remote-work study and found that remote workers are more productive and use fewer sick days. This study also found employees’ performances went up 22% when working remotely. 
  • Boston Consulting Group found 75% of employees working remotely during the pandemic maintained or improved their productivity on individual tasks. 51% reported improving productivity on collaborative tasks. 
  • A 2020 article in Forbes reports a 35% rise in productivity among remote workers.
  • 10,000 employees surveyed by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago said they thought they were just as productive working remotely than in the office—30% of those respondents said they were more productive and engaged working from home.
  • A remote work study by HR and workplace benefits company Mercer surveyed 800 employers. 94% of these employers said their productivity is the same or higher since transitioning to remote work. 
  • And Chicago Booth Review found nearly 6 out of 10 workers reported being more productive than expected throughout the pandemic. Respondents’ productivity at home was an average of 7% higher than expected, and 40% of workers reported they were more productive at home during the pandemic than in the office.
  • FlexJobs’ surveyed more than 2,100 people who worked remotely during the pandemic and found that 51% were more productive working from home, and 95% say productivity has been higher or the same while working remotely.
  • FlexJobs also investigated why productivity improved—some of the top reasons respondents provided include:
    • Fewer interruptions (68%)
    • More focused time (63%)
    • Quieter work environment (68%)
    • More comfortable workplace (66%)
    • Avoiding office politics (55%)

Studies show that having set working hours is the most effective way to stay productive for 33% of telecommuters, proving work can be both flexible and stable.

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A McKinsey study found diverse companies are more productive and lucrative than their less diverse counterparts. 

  • Remote work expands the talent pool, and if a talent pool grows, so will employees’ socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds. And while diversity and inclusion are the right choices for forward-thinking companies, this McKinsey study found diverse companies are more productive and lucrative than their less diverse counterparts. 
  • A Harvard Business Review study on diversity in big tech found, "Seventy-five percent of venture capital funding is concentrated in just three states—New York, California, and Massachusetts—and more than 90 percent of technology-intensive innovation-sector growth between 2005 and 2017 occurred in just five metro areas.” Diversity in tech has been a major problem, and opening up positions to remote work opens up positions to all states and metro areas, and thus hopefully a more diverse workforce. 
  • A Slack survey found 97% of Black employees would like to work remote or hybrid, largely because so many have faced a hostile in-person work environment—64% of remote Black employees surveyed reported being better able to manage stress, and 50% reported an increase in feelings of belonging at their organization. 
  • 61 million adults — roughly one in four — live with a disability, and, for many, in-person work is problematic. The commute or office environment may be too physically demanding, and the lack of dedicated support can make navigating the workplace challenging. Remote work can help them succeed and feel more accepted at their chosen organization. 
  • A 2018 report found that one in five LGBTQ+ workers have had coworkers either explicitly say or allude that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner (compared to one in 24 non-LGBTQ+ employees), and some felt exhausted hiding their sexual orientation (17%) or gender identity (13%). When Flexjobs cross-referenced the best companies for LGBTQ+ employees, they found that almost all were remote—that can’t be coincidental. 
  • Childcare costs have risen 40% during the pandemic. Remote work can help parents or guardians struggling to pay for childcare remain employed. 

 McKinsey's diversity report makes the financial case for ensuring a diverse workforce. Organizations can see a 35% increase in financial performance if they’re diverse.

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Environmental Impact

  • Workplace paper usage statistics reported by the University of Southern Indiana found that Americans use 85 million tons of paper each year, which is the equivalent of 680 pounds, or seven trees per person. While stats on paper usage during the pandemic closures haven’t been collected yet, digitizing documents for remote works has 100% led to less paper usage. 
  • According to the World Economic Forum, power consumption has gone down overall due to work from home positions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Estimates predict that when 3.9 million employees work from home at least half the time, they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for an entire year.

Being eco-friendly saves money and improves employer brand— at least 12 peer-reviewed studies show that many job seekers are attracted to organizations with sustainable practices. 

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Saves Money

According to Global Workplace Analytics, companies can save up to $11,000 per year for each worker that commutes half the time. 

  • The Stanford Remote Work Study found participating organizations saved nearly $2,000 per employee on office space rent.
  • Not commuting to work can save employees up to $1,700 a year!
  • According to Global Workplace Analytics, companies can save up to $11,000 per year for each worker that commutes half the time. 
  • Flexjobs found that 92%  of remote employees save some money by shifting to working remotely full time—Flexjobs found the average employee saves $4,000 a year working remotely. 
  • According to The Cloud Awards, businesses can save approximately $1,400,000 per 100 remote employees per year.
  • Zillow found that 4.5% of renters in the U.S. (equivalent to nearly 2 million households) who would otherwise be priced out of their current markets can purchase a home in a cheaper market due to remote work. 
  • PayScale found that on average, remote workers make 8.3% more than non-remote workers. 

Businesses can cut expenses with remote staff, allowing them to compensate employees better—it’s a win-win!

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Visit Our Remote Work Hub

As stated earlier, HiringThing has been a fully remote company since 2012. Visit our HiringThing Remote Work Hub to find our Remote Work Manifesto, work-from-anywhere guides, and other great remote-working resources. 

Work Remotely at HiringThing

Does a fully remote workplace appeal to you? Check out our open positions and apply to join our team!


About HiringThing

HiringThing is a modern recruiting platform as a service that creates seamless hiring experiences. Our private label applicant tracking system and open API enable technology and service providers to embed hiring capabilities from sourcing to onboarding. Approachable and adaptable, the platform empowers anyone, anywhere, to hire their dream team.

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