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Remote work statistics you need to know in 2024

Despite corporate America's push to bring everyone back into the physical office, remote work is still going strong in 2023. As we gradually settle into the new year, it's worth taking a closer look at the most revealing remote work statistics to understand where the future of work is headed.

Since the last year, companies worldwide have been keen on making employees return to the office. In November, we saw the most notorious case of companies forcing people to work on-site when Elon Musk banned remote work at Twitter in his first email after buying the company.

Now, Elon has gone back on his words and is shutting down Twitter's Seattle offices and instructing employees to work remotely. The decision is part of a cost reduction strategy that proves remote work's benefits for large companies.

Remote work is a growing trend, and it's not going away soon. The benefits of working remotely are clear: employees have flexible schedules without hurting productivity, while companies can save money and achieve diversity and equity goals.

These statistics will change your mind if you still need to decide whether remote work suits your company. 


Key remote work statistics for 2023

The start of a global pandemic in 2020 forced many companies to adapt to remote work arrangements quickly. A trend that had been gaining traction in the previous year suddenly became the norm leaving a lasting impression on the American workforce.

In 2019, before the pandemic, only 6% of the American workforce had work from home as their primary work arrangement, and about three-quarters of workers had never worked remotely, according to a report by NCCI based on the US Census Bureau’s data.

A year later, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey, 48.7 million people (about 35% of employed workers) reported working from home in the prior four weeks because of COVID-19.

The impact of remote work in the corporate world is clear. Upwork suggests that 36.2 million people in the United States will be remote by 2025, an increase of 16.8 million people compared to pre-pandemic data.

Moreover, Owl Lab’s 2022 State of Remote Work report found that in the case that WFH is no longer an option, two-thirds (66%) of workers would immediately start looking for a job that offered flexibility, and 39% would simply quit.

Remote work is widespread and will continue to be so in the coming years. To guarantee that this trend continues, organizations will need to focus on creating great remote company cultures that are easy to navigate for employees.

The state of remote work worldwide from 2020 to 2022


State of Remote Work Worldwide From 2020 to 2022

In the global context, only 15 to 16% of employees stated that their companies allowed a remote work arrangement before the pandemic, according to a survey conducted with CIOs. As of 2021, 30% of respondents expected to work remotely permanently. 

The survey reported by Statista shows that some aspect of remote work will be sustained in the coming years, as 36% of respondents said they expect to be permanently working in a hybrid model in 2022.


Can remote work make the workplace diverse and inclusive?

Remote work has made it possible for people worldwide to find dignified employment without being bound by geographical limitations. This concept has opened up opportunities for folks worldwide to access the workforce in ways that were not possible before. As a consequence, remote work is helping solve social challenges.

In late 2022, Bloomberg reported that about 5.6 million disabled men and women ages 16-64 were employed in August of the same year, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The share of people with disabilities working or looking for work was 37.6% that month, almost five percentage points higher than in April 2020, when the pandemic started.

One of the biggest obstacles preventing this group from accessing fair employment opportunities is commuting. The increase in employment for people with disabilities is partly because they don’t have to transport themselves to a physical office.

In terms of diversity, companies like Meta have seen a massive advance in reaching diversity goals. Maxine Williams, chief diversity officer, said that the company expected to increase representation in their workforce after five years, but thanks to remote work, they could do it in just two years.

For the tech giant, here’s what it looked like:

  • Candidates accepting remote job offers in the U.S. were more likely to be Black, Hispanic, Native America, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, veterans, or people with disabilities.
  • Since 2019, the company doubled the number of women in its global workforce and the number of Black and Hispanic employees in the U.S., a metric set to be achieved by 2024.
  • Underrepresented people make up 46.7% of Meta’s employees in 2022, nearly 1% more than a year ago, and close to the 50% it set out to achieve by 2024.
  • Meta projects that 30% of leadership roles, such as managing director-level employees and above, will be filled by people of color by 2025. Currently, women take up 36.7% of global leadership.

How remote work impacts productivity and stress

The State of Remote Work by Owl Labs we previously mentioned, reports that remote work does not affect productivity levels. 62% of surveyed workers said they feel more productive when working remotely, while just 11% feel less productive.

Although the brick-and-mortar office has been historically hailed as the most productive space, data suggests that productivity depends on the type of activity employees are working on. Workers feel the office is the most productive environment for specific activities, including meeting new people, managing others, and team meetings.

When it comes to stress in the workplace, the research shows that stress and burnout have increased in the past 2+ years, with 45% of workers saying their level of work stress increased somewhat or substantially when compared to last year. The leading source of stress employees are experiencing is unrelated to the workplace, with 58% of employees concerned about an impending recession.


Remote work is changing American demographics

According to the Washington Post, remote work is causing a shift away from large urban cities to medium-sized and smaller metro areas. The available data from the US Census Bureau allowed researchers to pinpoint how Americans spread toward smaller towns.

Workers not tied to a specific Zip code are moving to more affordable exurbs to be closer to family and support structures or to afford a higher standard of living with the same paycheck.

Evidence is that Manhattan and San Francisco, the two places with the most remote-eligible jobs, say their primer working-age population shrunk by 10% from 2020 to 2021. 


Will remote work go away?

Although corporate America wants to bring workers back into the office, job seekers are demanding remote work opportunities. LinkedIn’s November 2022 State of the Labor Market report shows that more people want to work remotely than ever, but remote job postings are declining. Only 1 out of 7 job postings for the US on the platform offered a remote work option in October 2022.

However, these postings received over half of the total applications. The percentage of applications that went to remote jobs exceeded 50% in October, proving that workers continue to prefer flexibility over their schedules.

Moreover, according to FlexJob’s Career Pulse Survey from 2022, at least 65% of respondents said they want to work remotely full-time, and 32% want a hybrid arrangement. That makes for 97% of employees who want some sort of remote work flexibility.


Final thoughts

Remote working has become a permanent fixture in the modern workforce, and it's up to employers to adapt and make the most of it. After all, a culture that supports remote workers is also a culture that attracts top talent.

Even though some industries still require on-site employees, many companies can benefit from an increased focus on a remote workforce. The key is finding the right balance for your company and embracing new tools to make it as effective as possible.

A way to support your company in adopting remote work is by simplifying the way procurement and management of IT asset for distributed teams. At GroWrk, we offer a streamlined platform that lets you set up workers anywhere. Join the work revolution and request a demo today.



Will remote work survive in 2024?

Yes, 36.2 million people in the United States will be remote by 2025, according to Upwork

Are companies still offering remote work?

A recent McKinsey survey reports that 58% of employed respondents –about 92 million people– have the option to work remotely.

Is asynchronous work always offered in remote work?

In Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work report, only 38% of respondents said their company has an async-first policy. While 52% of people reported they want async-first policies going forward, 14% do not, and the remainder aren't sure.

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