As you wade through the midst of what Time calls “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment,” you may be wondering what your company’s workplace will look like in the future. How will this affect your employee engagement? And what will productivity look like, if fewer people are coming into the office every day? To answer these questions, all we have to do is look at a batch of recent remote work statistics. The news is good: Evidence suggests that your business’s bottom line will be strengthened by a move in the direction of remote working.

Where we came from: remote work statistics prior to spring 2020

  • In 2020 (before the arrival of COVID-19) there were already 7 million people working remotely in the U.S., or 3.4 percent of the population.
  • 43 percent of U.S. employees already were working remotely, at least some of the time, according to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace
  • Over the last five years, the number of people working remotely has grown by 44 percent.

Employees love remote and flexible work options

So, it’s clear that by the beginning of 2020, remote work statistics show big increases in sheer number. But how do those employees feel about the situation? Here’s a few numbers that tell the story:

  • In a Future of Work survey of company managers, 78 percent of the respondents listed “flexible schedules and telecommuting” as their most effective non-monetary ways to increase employee retention.
  • 82 percent of U.S. businesses are using flexible work locations as a way to improve work-life balance.
  • 83 percent of workers in that same global survey report that the ability to work remotely at least some of the time would act as the clincher, if they were deciding between two similar job offers, and …
  • 32 percent state that having a choice of work location would matter more to them than being given a more prestigious role within their company.
  • Gallup research found that 54 percent of office workers would leave their job, if they could have one with more flexibility. And Gallup further states that “job flexibility increases engagement.”
  • Two-thirds of employees say that a loss of flexibility would make them start thinking about looking for another job.

employee feedback and voice

Remote workers are more likely to be engaged

  • Gallup research finds that “optimal engagement … occurs when employees spend 60 percent to 80 percent of their time working off-site — or three to four days in a five-day workweek.”
  • 90 percent of employees say that flexibility in their work arrangements contributes to their morale.

Regardless of whether your staff is a few yards or a few miles away from your office, it is vital that you make yourself available to listen to them.

  • A poll of 1153 workers published in Harvard Business Review found that 46 percent of them said that the most successful managers check in frequently with remote workers, rather than just leaving them to work on their own. These workers also said that managers who are always available during the remote employee’s work hours — an always-on listening channel — were best at helping workers feel supported and cared about. The polled employees also noted that they appreciate a bit of awareness by managers of the employee’s personal life — water cooler chat about family, hobbies, challenges etc.

Employee recognition is essential

Slack, which knows a thing or two about remote work statistics, states the following: “Daily greetings and regular check-ins over shared communication channels are effective ways to acknowledge remote employees, but the biggest impact comes from celebrating contributions and achievements with specific, purposeful feedback and recognition.”

They also note that employee engagement is based on teamwork. “Connecting with distant employees can sometimes feel daunting, but there are lots of workplace collaboration tools and engagement techniques to help your team feel like, well, a team.” Start fostering teamwork with an effective employee recognition program. With an employee recognition program, your employees can easily send and receive recognitions and celebrate major accomplishments.

Technology brings us together

We tend to hear more about how society has been changed through social media and online shopping options, but remote work statistics show us that technology has also revolutionized our workplaces.

remote work statistics

Environmental care makes a statement about your company

Decreases in carbon dioxide release make a difference in the world, and the more employees you enable to work from home, the better it will be for our environment.

  • When Sun Microsystems allowed 24,000 employees to work from home, the change meant that 32,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide were not released into the air.
  • Xerox calculated that it saved 92 million miles of driving by allowing its remote workers to avoid commuting, thereby reducing carbon emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons.

Remote work leads to better business outcomes

Gallup puts it all together: “Job flexibility engages remote workers — which drives performance.” The following remote work statistics support that statement with hard numbers:

  • Remote workers can be 20 to 25 percent more productive than their onsite colleagues, and
  • Real estate expenses saved by each remote worker average $10,000 a year.
  • Employee turnover in companies that allow remote work is 25 percent lower than in companies that don’t offer that option.
  • Employees who work remotely at least one day a month are “24 percent more likely to be happy and productive.”
  • 85 percent of businesses say that implementing flexible work locations have made their company more productive.
  • 75 percent of people who work remotely do so because there are fewer distractions.
  • 77 percent of employees say that working remotely will help their company lower operating costs.

If someone suggested one change that would save your company money, increase productivity, lower employee turnover, and result in happier, less distracted workers, you would definitely want to hear more about it, right? As we move forward in 2020 together and adjust to a larger remote workforce, take these 25 key remote work statistics with you.

To learn more about how we all stay connected, download our webinar recording, “The Evolution of Connection and Need for Belonging.”

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