Many employers have now asked their employees to return to the office. However, other employers have been more lenient, allowing employees to permanently adopt a hybrid or remote work policy. So, what’s better for companies and what’s better for their employees? To be in the office or remote? To help answer this question, we will explore 8 remote work statistics.
1. 86% of employees would prefer a fully remote or remote-first position (Buffer).
This stat from a Buffer study may not surprise you because, chances are, you are in the majority and would prefer to work remotely. Only 3% of survey respondents desire an office-first position.
In today’s tight job market, with many in the workforce looking to work remotely, employers have begun to shift their perspectives on remote work. In 2022, according to the same study, 72% of employers planned to permanently allow some form of remote work, compared to just 46% a year prior.
Need help finding your dream remote job? Check out our article on the topic here.
2. By late 2022, fully remote job listings declined to just 14% of total LinkedIn listings, yet made up more than 50% of applications (LinkedIn).
Employers are supportive of work flexibility, yet fully remote job listings have dropped since early 2022. This stat highlights a bit of a disconnect between the needs and wishes of companies and the workforce. However, with time, the extremely strong interest from applicants in remote openings will likely push employers to step outside of their comfort zones and offer a greater proportion of remote positions in order to remain competitive in acquiring new talent.
3. Nearly 80% of HR leaders think hybrid models are distressing, and most employees agree (TINYpulse).
Hybrid sounds like the obvious compromise to address employers’ concerns of potentially poor productivity, culture, and collaboration that results from a fully remote model while providing employees a fair amount of flexibility to work remotely. However, multiple recent studies have suggested that hybrid work models are very difficult to get right in practice.
Why? TINYpulse and StrongDM hypothesize this is the result of environmental switching costs and doing two things poorly instead of one thing effectively. In a hybrid model, both employees and managers are burdened with a disruption of routine, often leading to logistical issues (e.g., forgetting work at home, overbooking conference rooms, failing to enforce office meetups resulting in poor meeting quality).
4. Remote workers are more efficient than those at the office (Harvard Business Review).
According to HBR, a 2019 study conducted by Stanford University showed that remote workers generally perform more tasks per hour than their office counterparts. Remote workers also took less frequent breaks, sick days, and had more job satisfaction.
5. Employers save up to $11,000 per year for each remote worker, while employees can save more than $6,000 (Global Workplace Analytics).
The efficiencies highlighted in remote work stat #4 lead to significant employer and employee cost savings. Clearly, when done right, remote work has the potential to be a win-win for companies and their employees.
Employers save on office and employment costs, including having a smaller office footprint, fewer employee absenteeism, often increased productivity, and a reduction in turnover. Meanwhile, remote employees save on transportation costs, become more productive with the avoidance of traffic, and save money by eating at home rather than at over-priced restaurants near the office.
6. At Microsoft, remote work led to a 25% drop in cross-group collaboration (Microsoft).
Just because this is the case for Microsoft, it does not mean that this decline in collaboration holds true for all companies adopting remote models. However, with Microsoft being a large, diverse business with world-class management and technological infrastructure, this stat suggests that collaboration, especially cross-functional collaboration, is a challenging hurdle for dynamic teams that require creativity and close partnership amongst a broad team.
And other managers remain uncertain about the merits of remote work. According to a report by Owl Labs, some 60% of managers remain concerned that workers lose productivity when they work outside of the office.
However, as technologies chase new remote work models, and new management techniques are uncovered to more effectively unlock remote work productivity and communication, it is expected that cross-collaboration and productivity continue to increase in remote environments.
7. 81% of young adult professionals working remotely expressed concerns about loneliness (theHRDIRECTOR).
Working remotely can certainly push some into a bad state of social isolation, leading to ongoing concerns about remote work’s contribution to the ‘loneliness epidemic’. Afterall, going to the office is the basis of many professionals’ social lives outside of family. Team lunches, water cooler talk, and after-work happy hour leads to strong human relationships (and more cohesive and cross-functional teams, as discussed above).
Even though numerous studies have pointed to remote work enabling a better work-life balance, a fair number of remote workers would benefit from more frequent visits to the office. Including a link between remote work and insomnia, a 2021 study by Chargifi found that:
“67% of workers aged 18-34 stated that since working remotely, they have found it harder to make friends and maintain relationships with work colleagues. 71% felt that their work colleagues had become distant, and 54% attributed remote working as the main cause for drifting apart” (Scarlet Lewitt, theHRDIRECTOR).
It seems like some employer skepticism of remote work is warranted.
8. 74% of remote workers claim to be more productive once joining a coworking space (Business).
A survey by Business found that coworking comes with a long list of benefits, including higher work quality, business connections, and improved mental health.
Coworking can also go a long way in relieving feelings of loneliness that may result from working from home day after day. In fact, working from non-home and non-office spaces (e.g. coworking spaces, coffee shops) make employees feel most socially fulfilled and personally connected to others when compared to home and office arrangements (TNW).
Working remotely certainly has its pros and cons. With a modern workforce continuing to express strong interest in fully and partially remote work environments, the debate of office vs. remote work policies will remain important.
As time goes on and more employers and employees learn how to gain comfort in out-of-office work arrangements, we at Olio Coworking are confident a remote work strategy will be central to every sizable employer’s talent acquisition strategy.
As additional remote work stats are published, we will be sure to update our blog accordingly. Stay tuned!