2022 remote working statistics you need to know

In early 2020, a small business owner named Matthew Ross faced a dilemma that was becoming increasingly common for employers. As the co-owner of mattress review site The Slumber Yard1, he oversaw a team of 12 and one of those workers had plucked up the courage to raise a subject that remained taboo at many organizations – remote work.

M_BlogT_2022 remote working statistics you need to know

“To be honest, from an employer’s perspective, there are really not many benefits to letting employees work from home,” Ross told Forbes of his colleague’s plea. “It’s just more difficult to communicate, manage expectations and audit work2.”

Ross’s comments appeared beneath a headline that summed up the prevailing attitude at the time - “This is why employers are still denying your remote working requests.” Despite mounting evidence that remote work could boost productivity, reduce costs and improve recruitment and retention, many managers remained hesitant to embrace a new way of thinking.

Then a global pandemic forced them to.

While remote work was already on the radar, COVID-19 was the agent of change that saw it enter the mainstream. For proof, consider that a 2019 National Compensation Survey found only 7% of US workers had access to a flexible workplace benefit3. Less than a year later, analytics company Gallup found 70% of U.S. employees were working remotely for all or part of April 20204. Remote work was always destined to increase on the back of emerging technologies but the global pandemic was the catalyst for it to be widely adopted in a relative blink of they eye.

What does the future hold though? With the COVID-19 threat diminishing and businesses no longer forced to promote remote work for public health reasons, will the status quo remain or employers push for a return to the days when working from home was a privilege rather than a right?

No one truly knows but a great way to gain an insight into the issue is through the lens of statistics that showcase the current landscape of remote, hybrid and office work, how it impacts the social and mental health of employees and what they think of the technologies driving it.

What is the state of remote work?

While 70% of employees may have worked remotely at the height of the pandemic5, those numbers were always destined to track down. The early months of the COVID-19 crisis required an unprecedented response from employers but almost three years on, there is a sense the true face of remote work is about to reveal itself. Many people have returned to the office full-time, others are committed to remote working, while some are transitioning to a hybrid model that combines the best of both worlds. Then there are the employers who are hesitating to make a call until the waters become clearer.

  • 74% of employees worked from home at least some of the time during 2020-21
  • 45% of employees are back in the office full time post-pandemic, with 31% working in a hybrid model and 24% fully remote6
  • 75% of global workers think flexible working is the new normal
  • 41% of small companies (10-50 employees) are requiring employees to return to the office compared to 27% of enterprises (10,000+ employees)7
  • The number of remote workers has more than doubled since 20178
  • The top US industries represented by remote workers are healthcare (15%), technology (10%) and financial services (9%)9
  • 44% of companies do not allow any kind of remote work.

Are remote workers more productive?

Matthew Ross – the Slumber Land co-owner we met earlier – ended up allowing his employee to work from home three days a week and even conceded that remote work may even help boost productivity and efficiency. “This doesn’t always hold true,” he said. “It largely depends on the person but let’s face it, working in an office environment – especially in an open office environment – can be very distracting.” While Ross had his doubts, many experts will tell you the rise of remote work is having a positive impact on productivity metrics.

  • 77% of remote workers say they get more done when they are working from home10
  • A survey of 1,000 Australian workers found 37% believe hybrid working is better for productivity compared to office working (33%) and remote working (30%)
  • 75% of people work remotely because there are fewer distractions11
  • Almost half of workers (50%) feel managers view in-office employees as working harder and being more trustworthy than their remote colleagues12
  • 55% of hybrid employees work more hours at home than they do at the office13
  • The top reasons for increased productivity in remote work include fewer interruptions (68%), more focus (63%), quieter environments (68%), more comfortable workplaces (66%) and avoiding office politics (55%)14
  • 97% of workers would recommend remote work to others15.

Are remote workers happier?

Providing meaningful support for employees was already a key priority for businesses but the pandemic has increased its importance. Lockdowns and social distancing measures saw a huge spike in mental health issues and as the world returns to ‘normal’, employers are acutely aware that modern workers want more from their professional lives than just a wage. For all the benefits of remote work, it is essential that both employers and employees do what they can to mitigate risks such as social isolation and work encroaching on personal space and time.

  • 45% of workers say their level of work-related stress has increased somewhat or substantially during the past year16
  • 33% of remote workers during the pandemic were concerned about their mental health17
  • Better work-life balance is the top reason people choose to work remotely18
  • Remote workers save about $7,000 per year on transportation, food and childcare19
  • The main challenges for remote workers are not being able to unplug (25%) and loneliness (24%)
  • 69% of millennials would give up on certain work benefits for a more flexible working space20
  • 97% of people would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers21.

What are the global trends for remote work?

While the pandemic may have seen borders closed and international travel put on hold, the parallel rise in remote work opportunities showed that many modern workers can do their job regardless of where they are located. This has inspired many businesses to look beyond their own shores for cost-effective labor options, with outsourcing destinations such as the Philippines home to quality candidates across multiple industries and sectors. As for how the remote work revolution is playing out in different regions, the numbers tell the story.

  • A quarter of all professional jobs in North America were remote at the end of 2022, with the percentage set to grow in 2023
  • 30% of UK-based remote employees worked more hours than they would have at the office during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • 90% of “new remote workers” in Canada report being at least as productive at home as they were at their traditional workplace
  • Remote work is saving Australians about $10,000 per year, with 70% of respondents saying working remotely at least some of the time is better for reducing the cost of living
  • 74% of U.S. companies currently use or are planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model22.

Is remote working here to stay?

Employers may debate the pros and cons of remote work but what can be said with certainty is it is here to stay. Like a genie that cannot be put back in a bottle, the pandemic allowed workers to get a taste of the benefits that come with flexible work arrangements and businesses that refuse to support the concept are putting themselves at a disadvantage to competitors. On that note, here are two final statistics that show why remote work is no longer just an employee want but an employer imperative - 64% of recruiters say pitching a work-from-home policy helps attract high-quality talent23 and 74% of workers that have a remote work opportunity are less likely to leave a company.

‘Candidate ghosting’ became a recurring headache for many recruiters in 2022. Discover what the buzzword means and how organizations can reduce their chances of feeling its impact.

[2] This Is Why Employers Are Still Denying Your Remote Working Requests (forbes.com)
[3] How many people work from home? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)
[4] Majority of U.S. Workers Continue to Punch In Virtually (gallup.com)
[5] EH_RemoteWorkReport_AU.pdf (smartcompany.com.au)
[6] Global research shows that flexible working is now a deal breaker in the war for talent - IWG plc
[7] State of Remote Work 2022 (owllabs.com)
[8] 22 Remote Work Statistics to Know in 2022 | TrueList
[9] The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics in 2022 (codesubmit.io)
[10] EH_RemoteWorkReport_AU.pdf (smartcompany.com.au)
[11] The Ultimate List Of Remote Work Statistics for 2023 (findstack.com)
[12] State of Remote Work 2022 (owllabs.com)
[13] 22 Remote Work Statistics to Know in 2022 | TrueList
[14] The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics in 2022 (codesubmit.io)
[15] 2023 Remote Work Statistics: 20 Trends to Know - Remote Work From Home Job Search Tips and Advice (virtualvocations.com)
[16] State of Remote Work 2022 (owllabs.com)
[17] 22 Remote Work Statistics to Know in 2022 | TrueList
[18] The Ultimate List Of Remote Work Statistics for 2023 (findstack.com)
[19] Buffer | 2022 State Of Remote Work
[20] The Ultimate List Of Remote Work Statistics for 2023 (findstack.com)
[21] EH_RemoteWorkReport_AU.pdf (smartcompany.com.au)
[22] 30 Essential Hybrid Work Statistics [2022]: The Future Of Work – Zippia