Remote work isn't the future of work — it's the present.

Our new survey data revealed that remote work is a major benefit for employees. In fact, 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely. And those who do work remotely say they're happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers.

Additionally, companies have the opportunity to boost employee retention and loyalty by allowing employees to work remote. The 2019 State of Remote Work report found remote workers say they're likely to stay in their current job for the next 5 years 13% more than onsite workers.

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Before we dive into the remote work statistics, it's important to note that even the language around remote work has developed drastically over the past few years. Telecommuting has turned into virtual work, which later evolved into remote work or working from home. The ability to switch among remote options then birthed the hybrid team. Here is a refresher on the lingo for discussing flexible work options and types of workers.

  • Companies that don't allow remote work: These companies require employees to work from an in-person office and do not have an option to work remotely.
  • Fully remote companies: These companies are also known as distributed companies, and are completely remote with no headquarters or office options. Employees at fully remote companies work from home, workspaces, or wherever they choose.
  • Hybrid companies: These companies offer both remote and in-office options. Employees have the ability to choose to work remotely, from an office or shared workspace, or alternate between the two.
  • Remote workers: They are people who work remotely at any frequency.
  • On-site workers: They are people who never work remotely.

In the 2019 State of Remote Work report, we surveyed 1,202 full-time workers in the United States between the ages of 22 and 65 so we could learn more about who works remotely, why they choose to work remotely, and what challenges they face in their jobs. Plus, we wanted to learn how remote work impacts employee happiness, loyalty, and retention, what training remote workers receive, and how on-site workers feel about remote work.

We included data from last year's Global State of Remote Work report that shared findings on global remote work trends. We gathered data from over 3,000 respondents across six continents. Employees ranged from ages 18-65+ and across industries, including technology and marketing, healthcare and medical, hospitality, transportation, and more. We also collected data from other reputable survey reports to add to the list.

Keep reading to learn more about the adoption of remote work across various industries.


Some of the key findings about remote work, hybrid teams, and work from home practices around the world include:

1. Remote workers in the U.S. work remotely full-time 66% more frequently than the global average. (Owl Labs)

2. 54% of U.S. workers work remotely at least once per month, 48% work remotely at least once per week, and 30% work remotely full-time. (Owl Labs)

3. There are 18% more executives working remotely than there are working on-site. (Owl Labs)

4. The industries with the most remote workers include healthcare (15%), technology/internet (10%), financial services (9%), education (8%) and manufacturing (7%). (Owl Labs)

5. Departments with the greatest remote work participation include facilities/operations/IT (18%), customer support/service/success (14%), and sales (13%), and administrative (11%). (Owl Labs)

6. Remote workers earn salaries higher than $100,000/year, 2.2x more frequently than on-site workers. (Owl Labs)

7. Remote workers say they're happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers — 71% of remote workers say they're happy in their job, and only 55% of on-site workers say they're happy in their job. (Owl Labs)

8. 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely. (Owl Labs)

9. 42% of remote workers plan to work remotely more frequently than they currently do in the next 5 years, and that more than half of on-site workers want to start working remotely. (Owl Labs)

10. 55% of remote workers would be likely to look for another job if they were no longer allowed to work remotely. And 61% of remote workers would expect a pay increase if they were no longer allowed to work remotely. (Owl Labs)

11. 68% of remote workers say they are not concerned working remotely will impact their career progression, while 23% say they fear it would. (Owl Labs)

12. The top reasons remote workers choose to work remotely include: better work-life balance (91%), increased productivity/better focus (79%), less stress (78%) and avoiding a commute (78%). (Owl Labs)

13. Remote workers say they work more than 40 hours per week 43% more than on-site workers do. However, on-site workers are also working longer weeks because it's required of them, while more remote workers are doing so because they enjoy what they do. (Owl Labs)

14. The biggest challenges for remote workers during hybrid meetings are interruptions/being talked over (67%) and IT issues during meetings (59%). (Owl Labs)

15. 38% of remote workers and 15% of remote managers received no training on how to work remotely. (Owl Labs)

16. 44% of global companies don't allow remote work. (Owl Labs)

17. 16% of global companies are fully remote. (Owl Labs)

18. 40% of global companies are hybrid. (Owl Labs)

19. 52% of employees around the world work from home at least once per week. (Owl Labs)

20. 68% of global employees work from home at least once per month. (Owl Labs)

21. 18% of employees work remotely full time. (Owl Labs)

22. 35% of respondents agree that remote work provides more opportunities for quality employment. (Owl Labs)

23. 53% of respondents worldwide feel happy and productive at work. (Owl Labs)

24. When compared to the global average, South America has 81% more fully-remote companies. (Owl Labs)

25. 52% of employees around the world report working from home at least once per week, with 21% working from home more than once per week, 18% always working from home, and 13% one day per week. (Owl Labs)

26. 32% of employees report never or being unable to work from home. (Owl Labs)

27. Men across the globe are 8% more likely than women to work remotely. (Owl Labs)

28. Full-time remote workers are twice as likely to be individual contributors vs. people managers. (Owl Labs)

29. The primary reason employees reported working from home was for better focus and increased productivity. The second-biggest reason was to reduce their commute. (Owl Labs)

30. Those who work remotely at least once per month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive in their roles than those who can't or don't work remotely. (Owl Labs)

31. Companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work. (Owl Labs)

32. Small companies are twice as likely to hire remote employees. (Owl Labs)

33. Brainstorms are the most challenging meetings to follow and participate in when working remotely. (Owl Labs)

34. Those who identify most with the physical learning style (using experiences, simulations, and physical objects) are 56% likelier than the average to be fully remote. (Owl Labs)

35. 3.9 million Americans reported working from home sometimes or working remotely full-time in 2018. (FlexJobs)

36. 69% of millennials will trade other work benefits for flexible workspace options. (IWG)

37. Telecommuting increased by 22% between 2017 and 2018. (FlexJobs)

38. The biggest challenge remote workers cite is being able to unplug after working hours. (Buffer)

39. Most companies don't cover costs associated with remote work, such as internet fees or membership at co-working spaces. (Buffer)

40. Every year, U.S. remote workers prevent 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere by not commuting. (Global Workplace Analytics)

41. According to FlexJobs' Annual Survey, 77% of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier (eat better, exercise more, etc.) and 86% said they’d be less stressed. (FlexJobs)

42. 76% of respondents said they'd be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. (FlexJobs)

43. 97% of workers say a job with flexibility would have a huge improvement or positive impact on their overall quality of life. (FlexJobs)

44. A study of 25,000 workers found that nearly 3 in 4 respondents say remote work helps them with work/life balance. (SHRM)

45. More than one-third of workers say they work remotely to care for their children. (SHRM)

To learn more about remote work, read the latest 2019 State of Remote Work report, and read about how to achieve remote work-life balance next.

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