7 Important Stats on the Future of Remote Work


Remote work is a popular subject with Human Resources leaders gathering around the virtual water cooler. Most people in business have discussed the future of remote work ad nauseum. However, recently, headlines have focused on what’s going to happen to remote work in the next decade.

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The New York Post warns remote workers that they will likely lose their jobs in 10 years. The argument in the article is that companies will recognize how easy it is to hire cheaper labor to do the same remote jobs from overseas for much lower salaries. Back-end engineers and those working for Silicon Valley giants are at the greatest risk, according to the New York Post. 

On the other hand, Bloomberg reports that remote work will simply be work in a decade. In that article, Harvard Business School Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury, who studied all-remote organizations, says Americans will not even be distinguishing between remote and in-person work. The suggestion is that offices will be used as a means of getting quality time with co-workers and not for actual work. 

Remote Work by the Numbers

Discover data regarding remote work that points to clues about what the future may hold: 

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 9 million to nearly 28 million, according to the U.S. Census. 

Nearly 60% of Americans reported working from home at least one day per week during the pandemic. More than 30% WFH five days per week during that same period, according to McKinsey.

A whopping 87% of people take the opportunity to work from home when given the chance, also according to McKinsey

What Employees Want

Microsoft survey found that 8 out of 10 employees say they work at least as efficiently while remote working, but managers said productivity has dropped since the shift to WFH

As of March 2022, U.S. employees still wanted to work from home more than employers were planning to allow, and the Asia-Pacific region experienced the same, according to Microsoft. 

Gallup found in 2021 that 91% of workers in the U.S. working at least some of their hours remotely hoped their ability to work at home persisted after the pandemic.

Controlling one’s time, managing work-life balance, and avoiding the commute are among the top reasons people prefer remote work, according to Gallup. 

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Employee engagement is a top priority of HR leaders, according to the latest HR Exchange Network State of HR report. If that’s the case, then flexibility is going to be of vital importance.

In an era marked by the Great Resignation and now quiet quitting, employers will have no choice but to heed the desires of employees. Then again, a recession may change the leverage of power. It may shift back to employers. Then, those who prefer in-person work might be able to essentially force workers back to the office. 

Still, as Tatiana Reuil, a Global Shaper at the Buenos Aires Hub, has suggested, based on research, that remote work could help boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace because of the consideration of overseas candidates for vacancies, according to the World Economic Forum.

Others have pointed out how diversity, equity, and inclusion gets a boost with remote work options because women, particularly women of color, and the disabled prefer it. 

Photo by Ivan Samkov for Pexels

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