Today’s organizations are rapidly shifting toward the use of virtual teams to deal with their biggest challenges. Thanks to a variety of communications technologies and tools, companies can expand their talent search to a global scale, which allows them to build diverse and specialized teams with the flexibility to be successful in an ever-changing business environment.

As more and more organizations embrace virtual team trends, it’s helpful to see just how much of an impact telecommuting has had on today’s workforce. Here are some key virtual team statistics to note as 2019 winds down.

6 Virtual Team Statistics You Should Know

70 Percent of Professionals Work Remotely in Some Capacity

According to IWG research, more than two-thirds of professionals around the world telecommute at least one day a week, with 53 percent working remotely at least half of the week. Gallup research has found that the percentage of Americans who telecommute in some capacity has been steadily increasing throughout the decade, and just over five percent of Americans work entirely from home. These figures certainly suggest that organizations will need to work hard to overcome virtual team challenges.

Three in Ten Companies That Support Telecommuting Are Entirely Virtual

While the majority of companies using virtual teams in the workplace employ a hybrid arrangement of some kind, a 2019 Buffer survey found that 31 percent of them are completely virtual. Forty percent of virtual employees cite schedule flexibility as the greatest benefit of working remotely, although 60 percent of them work the same fixed hours as their colocated office peers. Successful virtual teams leverage this flexibility to improve productivity and performance.

Working From Home Can Improve Performance By as Much as 13 Percent

In one of the most rigorous studies on virtual teams in the workplace, Stanford researchers carefully measured the job performance of office employees and virtual employees within the same company over a period of two years. The research found that remote employees not only outperformed the control group by 13 percent, but they also had half as much turnover. Employees working from home were more likely to put in a full day of work and were able to concentrate better. Successful virtual teams combine these productivity gains to reach their goals more effectively.

Telecommuting Can Save Employers more than $11,000 per Remote Worker

Allowing employees to work virtually on a full time or part-time basis reduces the need for expensive office space, translating into significant savings for employers. For larger companies, these savings can be quite substantial. Meanwhile, virtual employees can also save quite a bit of money by reducing their work commute costs. This can make working on a virtual team very appealing for everyone.

Virtual Employees Are 29 Percent Happier Than On-Site Employees

While organizations often worry about remote employees becoming disengaged and unhappy, recent research found that 71 percent reported being happy in their work compared to 55 percent of their colocated counterparts. The same study also found that over half of virtual employees would look for another job or ask for a pay increase if they were no longer permitted to work remotely.

83 Percent of Recruiters Struggle to Find Suitable Talent

As the unemployment rate continues to shrink, employers have found it increasingly difficult to identify and recruit qualified candidates who possess the skills they need. By expanding their talent search to incorporate remote candidates, organizations increase the available talent pool.

Of course, building a virtual team is only the first step in a longer process of promoting a successful remote work environment. Virtual leaders must take steps to build trust in their teams and help provide them with the resources to facilitate communication and collaboration. Without proper support, virtual teams may struggle to be effective. The demands of remote teams are quite different from those of on-site teams, so organizations must be sure they are prepared to cater to their unique needs. Properly supported, however, virtual teams can provide an unparalleled level of flexibility and drive tremendous business results.

Read more: Strategies to Keep Your Virtual Employees from Quitting from A-Z