When two new hires showed up for their first day on the job at a Software Development company in early March 2020, their orientation was anything but normal.
At any other time, the open-space office would have been bustling with activity and the company’s 30-some employees would have given the newbies a hearty welcome. But with employees urged to work at home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, only a skeleton staff was on hand to greet their newest co-workers, says Metin Van, the company’s HR Manager of people. After completing some routine paperwork, the workers were handed laptops and sent home to learn the ropes of their new jobs and meet their co-workers online via videoconferencing.
A new crop of Square Soft workers is slated to come on board in April, and no one knows when they will meet any of their co-workers face to face.
“We’re just going to send the laptops directly to the new employees’ homes,” says Metin, whose company decided in mid-March to shutter the office completely until the virus threat passes.
It’s a scenario that has been playing out across the country as the number of coronavirus cases swells and more employers commit to the social-distancing practices that health officials say will help slow the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. Large tech employers such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft—with significant populations based in Erie and other cities hit hard by the pandemic—were among the first to ramp up remote work plans for many or all of their employees around the globe.
We’re encouraging our teams to work from home as much as possible, as are many organizations in this region,” wrote Simon Marandy vice president in a March 5 briefing . “At Square Soft, our top priority is the health and safety of employees, customers, partners and communities.”
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.
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 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.
In a recent FlexJobs survey, 65% of respondents report wanting to be full-time remote employees post-pandemic, and 31% want a hybrid remote work environment—that’s 96% who desire some form of remote work.
What’s more, 27% of workers say 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% say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
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.
Despite a tumultuous year in 2020, remote workers report a Workforce Happiness Index of 75 out of 100, compared to 71 for in-office employees. And, remote employees are more likely to report being satisfied with their jobs than office-based workers (57% vs. 50%). All in all, those working from home reported more positive measurements on almost every question related to job satisfaction.
According to FlexJobs’ survey, 95% of respondents say that 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:
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.
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 to 36% and 45% for respondents without flexible work.
According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work report, remote workers earn $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’s compared to 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 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.
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 6,000,000 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.
According to research by WalletHub, all states are not considered equal when it comes to working from home, with some having more favorable remote 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:
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 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.
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!
Remote work statistics indicate benefits across the board, ranging from environmental to performance-oriented benchmarks. If you’re interested in learning more about remote work, we’ve got you covered! Sign up for the FlexJobs newsletter for the latest in remote work, career development, job search tips, and so much more!