Remote Working Statistics
Remote working isn’t a new idea. Many organisations have been embracing the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home for several years. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced many more businesses to adapt and evolve. Only time will tell how the pandemic will influence the future of remote work. Will companies continue to embrace the benefits of working from home, or will they go back to business as usual as the virus subsides?
Whatever happens, people have learned a lot about remote working over the past year. This new knowledge, combined with data from before the pandemic, makes it harder to deny that remote working is a crucial part of any modern business plan. Here are the key statistics you need to know as you plan your next steps:
In Australia, 64% of employees were working from home in 2020.
Research published by Capterra revealed that around two-thirds of Australian employees were working remotely in November 2020. Of those working from home, 67% were new to remote working. This data represents a considerable increase in the number of people working remotely compared to pre-pandemic numbers. The shift was an unplanned experiment for many businesses. This fact may lead some to believe the ways of working will return to their previous format as soon as it’s safe to do so. However, it is also likely that many business owners may realise their assumptions about remote working were outdated and incorrect. It will be interesting to revisit this statistic throughout the next five years to see how the remote working culture evolves due to the pandemic.
90% of Australians would like to continue working from home.
The surge in remote working has not only been an experiment for employers but their employees too. PwC recently surveyed 2,000 Australians as part of their Hopes and Fears 2021 report.
The report found that 90% of Australians want to continue to work from home after the pandemic, with the majority (75%) suggesting they would prefer a combination of in-person and remote working. These findings indicate that remote working may be here to stay in the post-coronavirus world, especially coupled with statistics about employer intentions. One recent survey conducted by Gartner found that over 80% of employers plan to continue allowing their staff to work from home after the pandemic.
82% describe their employer’s transition to remote work as smooth.
Despite the rapid switch to remote work in 2020, an overwhelming majority of people describe the transition as smooth. This statistic comes from Buffer’s 2021 State of Remote work survey, which also attempted to learn more about the future of remote work. They found that at least 46% of companies intend to continue allowing employees to work from home indefinitely. Only 16% of those surveyed said their employers do not intend to introduce permanent remote working following the pandemic, with 38% unsure of their employer’s intentions.
These statistics, taken together with PwC and Capterra’s findings, suggest that many organisations — both employers and employees — have had positive experiences working from home during the pandemic.
75% of employees maintain or improve productivity when they work from home.
In August 2020, Boston Consulting Group surveyed 12,000 people about their experience of working from home. They wanted to find out how the shift to remote working affected productivity in the first few months of the pandemic. They found that 75% of people either maintained or improved their productivity compared to working in the office. This statistic ties in with anecdotal data, which tends to indicate people can get more done in less time when working from home, as they’re presented with fewer distractions than they encounter in the workplace.
However, the number fell slightly to 51% when tasks required collaborative working with other team members. Further analysis revealed several factors that influence an employee’s productivity on joint tasks. For example, 63% of employees that feel connected to other team members report maintained or improved productivity on shared tasks, compared to 20% of those who don’t feel connected. These findings highlight the importance of preserving the social connection between employees who work from home.
People who work from home take better care of their health.
According to research conducted by Virtual Vocations, over 91% of people who work from home regularly engage in wellness activities, compared to 81% of on-site workers. These wellness activities included healthy eating, exercise, meditation and getting enough sleep. The survey also found that among remote workers, 27.9% of those who report good personal relationships and engage in at least one wellness activity had increased their productivity during the past six months. These findings suggest that the key benefits of remote work to employees — more time for the activities that matter to them — can also benefit the organisation with increased productivity.
30% of company leaders worry about maintaining company culture when employees work from home.
Gartner’s remote working survey revealed that among company leaders planning to continue a hybrid model of remote and in-person working, workforce productivity isn’t a significant concern. Only 13% of employers admitted they were concerned about maintaining productivity levels — and 29% said they were not taking any measures to monitor their employees’ productivity while working from home.
However, the maintenance of company culture was a key concern among 30% of those surveyed. Given this company culture is crucial to achieving goals set out in any business strategy, this is likely to be a key consideration should organisations move to hybrid remote and in-person working models. Setting up suitable systems and technologies to facilitate remote working can significantly help businesses overcome this barrier to working from home.
67% would consider leaving their job if their working arrangements became less flexible.
The workplace survey conducted by Staples in 2019 revealed that almost 70% of employees would consider resigning from their job if flexibility was reduced. Although this statistic comes from the pre-pandemic workforce, it’s still worth employers’ consideration if they intend to make changes to working arrangements following this extended period of working from home. Suppose their employees have adjusted to the increased flexibility of remote working. In that case, it may significantly reduce their job satisfaction if they’re suddenly forced back into the office with less flexibility. Staples recommend employers listen to their workforce’s flexibility requests, which seems like a wise approach to any reductions in flexibility that may arise as people return to the office. Producing a formal remote working policy can help set boundaries and manage expectations when introducing a hybrid working model.
Remote working increased by 173% between 2005 and 2018.
As mentioned, remote working is nothing new. According to Global Workforce Analytics, the number of people working from home increased by 173% between 2005 and 2018. Their latest prediction is that up to 30% of the workforce will be working from home a few days a week by the end of 2021. Their research suggests this will be primarily due to employee demand, which has been building over the past several years.
These statistics are hardly surprising when you consider that employees may save up to US$4,000 annually if they work from home half of the time — and the equivalent of 11 full working days that they would have otherwise spent commuting. These benefits are even more significant for employers, with Global Workforce Analytics estimating that employers would save around US$11,000 annually for each employee that worked from home 50% of the time.
So what’s the future of remote work?
To conclude, these statistics about working from home reveal that remote working is likely to continue increasing over the coming years. This trend has been rising for almost 20 years, with the recent coronavirus pandemic catapulting remote working to unprecedented levels.
It seems as though many employers intend to continue with remote working in some capacity, with many planning to adopt a hybrid working model that allows their workforce to work from home at least some of the time. These policies will likely provide benefits to the organisations in reduced costs and increased productivity. The positive impact on employees will also mean organisations benefit from a happier and healthier workforce.
That said, remote working isn’t without its challenges. The primary concerns aren’t related to employees’ productivity but the social connection lost when people work in isolation. Maintaining company culture is a bigger challenge since remote work means people are not physically present in the organisation on a day-to-day basis. Ensuring your team has the best software to facilitate collaborative work is essential and can help your team members maintain the connections they would have if they worked in the office full time.
What will your remote working policy look like as we move beyond the coronavirus pandemic? Do you want to learn more about the systems you need to implement to maximise your workforce in this new era of remote working? Get in touch to find out how we can help.