Working From Home Statistics [2021 Update]

James Patterson | Last Updated:

Online Gaming & Internet Privacy Expert

The popularity of remote working has been increasing over the last decade at a steady rate. However, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, much of the workforce has been forced into working from home and telecommuting. With more remote workers than ever, we decided to take a look at the current state of remote work. 

Interestingly, as the amount of remote work increases, the VPN market has also seen a surge.  According to Atlas VPN‘s user data, VPN usage in Italy increased by 112% and 53% of US citizens started using a VPN more often. ExpressVPN and NordVPN have both reported increases in updake of their services of 27% and 35% respectively.

With the increase in remote workers, the threat of malicious cyber attackers has also grown. When 41% of companies have over 1000 sensitive files open to the public, it’s easy to see why VPN usage has skyrocketed.

As remote work and working from home becomes more normal, VPN Compass asks what does this mean for both employees and employers, and how can everybody benefit from remote work? Here are remote work statistics for 2020.

The State of Remote Work in 2021

While it’s still too early to see just how much Covid-19 will impact the state of remote work, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work, and that 25-30% of the workforce will be working at home for more than one day a week over the next two years. With that in mind here’s the remote work statistics for 2020.

  • The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010.(GetApp)
  • Over the last five years the industry grew 44%.
  • Over the previous 10 years it grew by 91%.
  • With Global Workplace Analytics, Flexjobs found that between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work
  • In the U.S., 4.7 million employees (3.4% of the workforce) work from home at least half the week. (Global Workplace Analytics)
  • 30% of people report working for a company that only has remote teams. (Buffer)
  • Around 62% of employees between 22 and 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally. (Owl Labs)
  • 44% of employees say that part of their team is full-time remote. (Buffer)
  • While 30% of people report working remotely full-time, 18% work remotely one to three times per week. (Owl Labs)
  • If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. (Buffer)

In 2021, it’s clear to see that remote working will only continue to grow, both in popularity and necessity. In the time of a global pandemic, working remotely is the only way much of the population can work, but what does this mean for businesses and their employees?

Productivity in Remote Working

What does remote working mean for productivity? In 2019, it was reported that 85% of businesses noted that productivity increased in their company because of greater flexibility. 

  • A Staple’s workplace survey found that 90% of employees say allowing for more flexible work arrangements and schedules would increase employee morale.
  • According to Fuze, 83% of employees feel they do not need an office to be productive. 
  • Two-thirds of employers report increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.
  • FlexJobs’ annual survey found that 65% of respondents are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace. 
  • 27% of workers regard their commute as a waste of time. (Regus)
  • 77% of millennials report that flexible work would make them more productive. (Regus)
  • Nearly 2 in 3 survey respondents who work remotely say they are more productive now than when they worked onsite at a company. (SHRM)

Workers who can work from the space of their choice, in a flexible manner are more productive than those who are forced into an office. Less interruptions and distractions, a personalized working environment, no commute, and more time for personal well-being all lead to a more productive remote worker.

Income & Remote Work

A collaborative report from FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, found that the average annual income for most telecommuters is $4,000 higher than that of non-telecommuters. With an increased ability to save more money, (FlexJobs estimates $4,000 a year) working remotely provides clear financial benefits.

The levels of remote job roles is well spread:

  • 18% of executives work remotely more than on-site.
  • 35% of remote workers are individual contributors. 
  • 46% of C-suite members work remotely at least part-time. 
  • Roughly 75% more on-site workers have worked in their positions for less than a year.

The industries with the most remote workers include:

  • Healthcare (15%)
  • Technology/internet (10%)
  • Financial services (9%)
  • Education (8%) 
  • Manufacturing (7%). 

Evidently, remote work is open for employees at all levels. Junior, or new employees, could be the group of workers who work remotely less often at their company. And when it comes to pay, perhaps surprisingly, remote workers earn more than their onsite counterparts.

The State of Remote Work survey broke down the salary of remote workers: 

  • 74% earning less than $100k per year.
  • 26% earning more than $100k per year. 
  • In comparison, the on-site worker’s salary breakdown was 92% earning less than $100,000 per year, 8% earn over $100k per year.”

Remote Work-life Balance & Job Satisfaction

One of the biggest arguments for remote work is the improved work-life balance. While 40% of people say that a flexible schedule would be the best perk of working remotely, Talentlms found that 60% of remote workers, say they have to follow a 9-5 workday, 5-days-a-week work schedule. So, how does the work-life balance of remote workers really stack up?

  • Amerisleep’s study of 1,001 remote workers found that they are 57% more likely than the average American to be satisfied with their job. 
  • Nearly 80% of Amerisleep’s respondents described their typical stress level during the workweek as either “not stressed” or only “moderately stressed.”
  • In FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship survey, 86% of respondents think a flexible job would reduce their stress, and 89% said they think they would be able to take better care of themselves.
  • Remote workers say they’re happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers. (Owl Labs)
  • According to Indeed’s Remote Work Survey, 50% of remote employees said working remotely reduced their sick days and 56% said it reduced their absences.

It’s important to note that for some people, working remotely could be detrimental to health and well-being. Working remotely or from home can mean less social interaction and longer work hours. Additionally, working remotely means things like stress and unhappiness can go unnoticed by employers.

Remote Work for Employees

With an improved work-life balance, more productivity and seemingly more income, remote work can be seen as a huge win for employees. But just how important do employees see remote work options?

  • Sixty-one percent of employees have left or considered leaving a job because it did not have work flexibility. (FlexJobs)
  • 90% of remote workers plan on working remotely for the rest of their careers. (Buffer)
  • 21% of remote workers say that the biggest struggle of working remotely is loneliness, while another 21% said that it was collaborating and communicating. (Buffer)
  • 42% of employees with a remote work option plan to work remotely more often in the next five years. (Owl Labs)
  • 30% of remote employees say they save upwards of $5,000 annually without on-site work expenses and work travel. (CoSo Cloud)

Remote Work for Employers

Flexible working is clearly a big factor for employees, but what does it hold for employers? The big benefit for many companies will be the reduced overhead and operating costs.

  • 77% of employers say allowing employees to work remotely may lead to lower operating costs. 
  • American Express is saving up to $15 million a year in real estate and office space costs thanks to remote working.
  • Completely remote companies are on the rise. 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers.

Remote and flexible working options are great for retention:

  • Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover compared to those that don’t. (Owl Labs)
  • 83% of workers, remote or on-site, say that a remote work opportunity would make them feel happier at their job. (Owl Labs)
  • 81% of employees say that the option to work remotely would make them more likely to recommend their company to job candidates and prospects. (Owl Labs)
  • 74% of employees say that a remote work option would make them less likely to leave their company. (Owl Labs)
  • Gartner predicted that by 2020, organizations that support a “choose-your-own-work-style” culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%. 
  • According to a 2017 study by Softchoice, 74% of 1,000 office workers surveyed said they would leave their job for another that offered the option of more remote work.
  • In 2017, Jobsite found that 76% of female tech professionals think businesses offering remote work would be more likely to retain top talent. 

Remote work is undoubtedly on the rise. With more of us working from home, employers and employees a like should be aware of the benefits. As the remote workforce grows, we may see high job satisfaction, lower turnover rates and less overheads for everyone involved.


Categories: Statistics