As a workplace phenomenon, flexible jobs have come under quite a bit of scrutiny from academics, news organizations, businesses, and government agencies–all looking to come up with stats about remote work, and insight into how job flexibility impacts the marketplace.
The result? A wealth of studies, news articles, and corporate white papers that offer an array of amazing stats about remote work and the many benefits telecommuting offers to employers and workers alike.
We’ve culled through some of the data to offer a few of the most interesting stats about remote work, as seen below.
1. Increases Worker Productivity
It’s hard to dispute: companies and at-home employees alike say remote work is a boon to productivity. Distractions like water cooler gossip, impromptu meetings, and loud colleagues are a non-issue, according to an infographic based on data from SurePayroll, a web-based payroll provider for small businesses. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they preferred to work alone to “hit maximum productivity.” What’s more, two-thirds of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity.
2. Drives Employee Efficiency
Fewer distractions (for the disciplined remote worker) can lead to higher efficiency, a report from ConnectSolutions concluded. The numbers: some 30 percent said that telecommuting allowed them to accomplish more in less time, while 24 percent of those surveyed said they were able to accomplish more in about the same amount of time.
3. Lowers Stress, Boosts Morale
Stats about remote work show that 82 percent of telecommuters reported lower stress levels, according to one study, and that’s a good thing not only for remote workers, but for the companies that employ them. The study by PGI, a leading provider of software services, found that 80 percent of workers reported higher morale when working from home, while 69 percent reported lower absenteeism.
4. Reduces Employee Turnover
Offering remote work options reduced employee turnover, and “job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent,” according to a study published by Stanford University. The report, based on stats about remote work from a China-based firm listed on NASDAQ with 16,000 employees, described the WFH, or work-from-home, arrangement as “highly profitable” for the company.
5. Decreases Real Estate Costs and Overhead
Companies of all sizes report significant decreases in operating costs, remote work stats show. Two examples from big companies, according to a Forbes magazine report: Aetna (where some 14,500 of 35,000 employees don’t have an “in-office” desk) shed 2.7 million square feet of office space, saving $78 million. American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote worker options.
6. Greater Employee Engagement
It might seem counterintuitive, but remote workers are often more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers, Harvard Business Review concluded. The plethora of technological tools to help workers stay connected makes the difference–in fact, a separate study found that 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected through the use of video conferencing.
7. Positively Impacts the Environment
For many employers, going green is a big incentive in the shift toward remote work. Fact is, employers who have embraced telecommuting have helped reduce their carbon footprint, studies show. In 2013, annual fuel consumption decreased by 680 million gallons, about 0.5 percent of the nation’s gas consumption, one study found.
8. Meets Demands of Younger Workers
A robust 68 percent of job seekers who are millennials said an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers, according to a survey by AfterCollege, a career network for college students and recent grads. “Policies that cultivate a flexible, fun, and casual work environment have a positive impact” on young people’s interest in specific employers, the survey found.
9. The Wave of the Future
Just a few short years ago, working from home may have seemed out of reach across some industries. Today, not so much. In 2015, 23 percent of employees reported doing some of their work remotely, up from 19 percent in 2003, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. A New York Times report also noted that telecommuting is fast on the rise.
10. A Global Phenomenon
Worldwide, more than 50 percent of people who telecommute part-time said they wanted to increase their remote hours. Additionally, 79 percent of knowledge workers in a global survey by PGI said they work from home, and 60 percent of remote workers in the survey said that if they could, they would leave their current job for a full-time remote position at the same pay rate.
Employers who are considering increasing their telecommuting ranks will find no shortage of stats about remote work, much of it encouraging about the many benefits of working from home.