55 Remote Work Productivity Statistics to Help Make Sense of Remote Work
Working from home is not the product of the coronavirus crisis. The International Labor Organization reports that the number of people working remotely pre-pandemic worldwide amounted to 260 million (2019). But the 2020 pandemic accelerated the worldwide shift to remote work, and in 2021, Upwork estimated that 26.7% of the American workforce works remotely.
Attitudes towards remote work have changed drastically over the past few years. Both managers and employees had their doubts about its viability. Employers worried remote work would negatively affect worker productivity and employees struggled to maintain work-life balance as work-life crept into home life.
Two and a half years later, many of these viable concerns didn’t come true. Some did. But the benefits of remote work, including flexibility and no commutes (which in turn mean more time with loved ones and decreased greenhouse gas emissions), indicate remote work is here to stay.
Below, we share 55 remote work productivity statistics to help you make sense of this hotly debated work trend.
Remote worker mental health and well-being statistics
According to the World Health Organization, a hostile workplace is a main contributor to mental health issues.
Most employers didn’t turn hostile while switching to remote, but they did make drastic changes. Employees had to adapt to new work environments, set up home offices, and adopt new tools and communication practices. Their workflow, efficiency, and—most importantly—mental health were on the line.
Companies that promoted mental health and well-being (backed up by adequate organizational support) were more likely to experience higher retention, job satisfaction, and employee engagement. The WHO found every $1 invested in scaled-up programs for common mental disorder treatments returns $4 return in improved health and productivity.
Remote work is not all bad for mental health, though. A year after the pandemic began, Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2021 Report revealed that 82% of respondents who work from home find working remotely at least occasionally post-pandemic will benefit their mental health.
Flexible work improves mental health as it provides better work-life balance
Flexible working house is no longer a far-off ideal. Many remote employees expect flexible work to manage their workload and household tasks.
In the summer of 2020, FlexJobs, alongside Mental Health America (MHA), surveyed employees about the impact of flexible schedules on mental health. They gathered 800 employees with or without access to flexible work.
Over 25% of employees without flexibility said they had poor or very poor mental health. Around 17% of employees with flexible work options said the same. For both groups, the primary reason for poor mental health was an absence of adequate support in the workplace.
Fortunately, workplaces fostering flexible work correlate to more supportive environments:
- 55% of employees with flexible work options said they get emotional support to deal with stress
- 45% of those without flexible work options claim the same
Chronic stress in the workplace often leads to burnout, severely affecting one’s mental health. And interestingly, employees experiencing burnout were more likely to bring it up with HR if they have a flexible work environment:
- 15% of employees without flexible work discussed it with HR
- 25% of employees with flexible work discussed it with HR
Finally, one of the most valued benefits of remote work is better work-life balance. As the survey shows, 48% of respondents with access to flexible work evaluated their work-life balance as very good or excellent. Only 36% of employees without flexible work options could say the same.
Flexibility encourages employees to take care of their mental wellness
Employees with a flexible workday have more time and enthusiasm to take care of their mental health proactively.
The survey shows that workers with flexibility are likely to:
- Have a healthy sleep routine (38%)
- Pay attention to what they eat and are physically active (45%)
- Meditate (28%)
- Practice yoga (20%)
Remote teamwork and collaboration statistics
Gensler’s US Work From Home Survey 2020 gathered 2,000+ Americans (office employees) employed full-time in companies with 100+ team members. The survey shows that only 12% of workers want to work remotely full-time. Why?
Although working from home has many benefits, including less commute time and more flexibility, the survey shows that “people miss meetings and connecting with colleagues face-to-face.”
When asked why they would like to return to the office, three out of four participants named:
- Meeting with coworkers
- In-person interactions
Companies have gotten better at facilitating socialization, communication, and team bonding in the past two and a half years. However, Gensler’s survey still finds that 55% of participants find collaboration more challenging while working from home. Also, 51% said remote work makes it difficult for them to stay updated on what others are doing.
Work-from-home productivity and output statistics
When the Covid-19 pandemic forced companies to start telecommuting, many executives were concerned about whether such work arrangements would negatively affect business outcomes. As mentioned in the Owl Labs report, 36% of surveyed managers feared telecommuting would decrease employee productivity.
However, at the end of 2020, PWC surveyed managers about the results of remote work in their workplace. Of 133 executives, 83% said remote work was successful for their company.
A Stanford study of 16,000 call center agents—some assigned to work remotely, others from the office for nine months—showed that employees working from home experienced a 13% productivity increase. The improvements were the result of:
- More minutes per shift working (because of fewer breaks and sick days)
- More calls per minute (because of fewer distractions)
Another survey conducted by FlexJobs showed that of 2,100 participants, over 50% were more productive while working from home. In addition, 95% said their productivity was the same or higher since they started working remotely.
The respondents also explained why they think their productivity went up. The most common reasons include:
- Fewer distractions/interruptions (68%)
- Increased level of focus (63%)
- Peace and quiet (68%)
- Absence of particular company policies (55%)
- Comfortable work environment (66%)
Productivity and technology go hand in hand
Work from home as we know it today would not be possible without technology. Aside from a stable internet connection, a remote team also needs adequate equipment to perform the job.
The Quantum Statistics survey found that remote employees who had the right technology were more productive. Over 75% of surveyed workers confirm this claim. Also, 78% of hybrid workers and 81% of fully remote workforce showed higher engagement with the right tools and materials.
Remote employee preference survey statistics
Both employers’ and employees’ perceptions and expectations regarding remote work have changed since the height of the pandemic. At first, no one thought telecommuting would be anything more than a pandemic-induced work trend. We assumed it was a temporary situation, lasting a couple of weeks at most. However, two and a half years later, remote and hybrid work have become the new normal.
Clever’s Office Space Demand Dwindles as Remote Work Grows in 2021 survey reveals employees’ preferences about returning to the traditional office environment. Clever surveyed 1,000 US remote and in-office workers and learned:
- 63% of surveyed employees prefer working remotely
- 29% of workers don't plan to return to the office
- 24% of in-office workers don't feel safe at work
Employees who prefer remote work say they love it because it:
- Reduces or eliminates commute (62%)
- Allows flexibility (61%)
- Is cost-effective (55%)
- Helps employees develop a healthy sleep routine (43%)
- Improves productivity (39%)
- Enables employees to spend more time with loved ones (50%) and pets (38%)
- Enables employees to work from different locations (24%)
- Leads to less management oversight (20%)
Remote employee hiring and retention statistics
Technology advancements allowed people to seek job opportunities beyond their location’s borders. As a result, employers’ options for finding the best fits for particular roles within their organizations expanded to the global talent pool.
However, finding and acquiring top talent are two separate processes. And companies are competing to provide the right combination of salary, company culture, and perks to win the talent way. In addition, today’s US workforce, aside from looking for traditional benefits such as healthcare, wants organizations to offer flexible work options.
The 2019 Annual IWG Global Workspace Survey finds that 83% of respondents would choose a job that offers flexible working over a job that doesn’t. Also, 28% of those surveyed claim they would opt for telecommuting over other benefits. Additionally, in 2022, FlexJobs conducted a survey showing that 77% of respondents see remote work as the second most important factor when making a career decision (only after salary).
Still, in 2019, when TalentLMS surveyed 500 remote employees, asking them if they would accept a 10% pay cut in exchange for the option of working remotely full-time post-pandemic, 62% said no.
Another FlexJobs 2020 survey shows that over 75% of respondents with flexible work options are more loyal to their employer. Another FlexJobs survey conducted in 2021 found that 58% of surveyed would quit if working on-site was the only option.
Remote work statistics about onboarding and training
The lack of a well-rounded onboarding process can be a deal-breaker for a new hire. Companies managing remote teams must ensure a new team member gets adequate support to assimilate to a new work environment and familiarize themselves with tools, processes, company culture, and the rest of the team.
In the 2020 State of Remote Work Report by Hired, 64% of those surveyed are very open and 33% are somewhat open to remote onboarding as long as the company provides adequate resources and support, including:
- Comprehensive onboarding plan with topics and timelines
- Role-specific onboarding
- Work with a buddy or a mentor
- Access to project management tools
- Other essential company training
According to the 2019 TalentLMS Work-from-Home Statistics Report, 87% of remote employees get regular training, of which only 70% receive it directly from their company. On the other hand, of those who don’t receive training, 78% would want it.
The survey also revealed the link between training and career advancement. Over 50% of workers who had training got promoted, while only 29% without training received a promotion.
Keep your remote team productive with Roots
When managing a remote team, it’s sometimes challenging to establish the line between providing adequate support for your employees and micromanaging. Because, as much as they seek flexibility and autonomy in their work, remote employees want to be part of the work environment that facilitates open communication and close team bonds.
Roots can help you organize and clarify your remote work processes, from successful onboarding and organizing one-on-one check-ins with new employees to building connections and ensuring efficiency through automated task assigning.
Book a demo today to learn more about us and our mission to help companies increase worker productivity and create a happy remote workplace.