The question “what is telecommuting?” is popping up now more than ever in the midst of the pandemic. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular over the years, which is highly attributed to the advancements made in digital technology. This allowed people to connect and share their experiences, services, and skills.
While working in a traditional workspace is still very popular and has many benefits, telecommuting trends show that this new model is here to stay and may change the market as we know it.
The best way to start learning about remote work or telecommuting is to delve into some interesting data gathered in the last couple of years. The statistics presented below will help you see why telecommuting is gaining traction and why many people decided to build their careers this way.
Top Must-Know Telecommuting Statistics (Editor’s Pick)
- 5 million Americans work remotely at least half the time
- 37% of US jobs can be done remotely
- 90% of remote workers feel more productive when working remotely
- Remote workers save $2,000 to $7,000 annually
- 71% of remote workers are happy with their jobs
- Watching TV is the main distraction for 32% of telecommuters
- 22% of telecommuters struggle with unplugging after work
- Since 2005, telecommuting has grown by 173%
- 7.9% of the global workforce permanently work from home
What is Telecommuting?
Telecommuting is a type of work arrangement wherein employees don’t need to travel or commute to a central workplace, such as a main office, store, or warehouse. They can work remotely or from the comfort of their homes, using technology to connect with colleagues and customers.
A few examples of technologies used by telecommuters are:
- Email services (Gmail, Zoho, Outlook)
- Communication platforms (Slack, GoToMeeting, Skype, Zoom)
- Staff monitoring software (Teramind, Hubstaff, ActivTrak)
- File storage and sharing software (Google Drive, Dropbox)
- Task management apps (Trello, ClickUp, Asana)
Additionally, the best examples of telecommuting jobs include:
- Web Developers
- UX/UI Designers
- Data Analysts
- Medical Coders
- Customer Service Representatives
- Sales Representatives
- Project Managers
Telecommuting goes by many names, including remote work, working from home, or mobile work.
However, regardless of how you call it, telecommuting is already gaining traction in today's modern world.
Let's take a look at what the numbers have to say about this worldwide phenomenon.
General Telecommuting Statistics
Telecommuting has undoubtedly gained popularity among companies over the years. Before we delve into the specific details, let’s first get a bird’s-eye view of the wondrous world of telecommuting.
1. 5 million Americans currently work remotely half the time or more.
This makes up 3.6% of the overall American workforce. The pandemic has also increased this rate, with some companies likely sticking to a flexible work arrangement in a post-pandemic setting.
2. 37% of jobs in the United States can be done from home.
Some of the best companies for telecommuting include big names like UnitedHealth Group, Amazon, Dell, and American Express.
Additionally, the most popular job titles that allow remote work are teacher, consultant, writer, engineer, and accountant. All you need is a working computer and a stable internet connection, and you can land one of these jobs.
3. 80% of remote workers work from home.
Suppose you’re curious about how telecommuters work. In that case, it’s unsurprising that although remote workers can work from virtually anywhere, working from home remains to be the top choice where workers feel most productive and motivated.
On the other hand, the remaining 20% of remote workers prefer working in the office, coworking spaces, libraries, coffee shops, and other locations.
4. 28% of remote companies are led by women.
The gap in women and men leaders is narrower in remote companies. In fact, according to recent work from home data, 28% of remote companies have women in high positions, including founders, presidents, and CEOs.
This means that women found a space where they can compete and become equal when it comes to conducting business.
5. When asked which area of their home they work from, 31% of telecommuters say they work from their home office.
This implies that for a majority of telecommuters, working from home is not just a temporary option. Creating a dedicated workspace is an indication of that.
On the other hand, 27% of telecommuters work in the living room and 16% work in the bedroom.
Benefits of Telecommuting for Employers
Increased revenue, higher employee productivity, and lesser turnover rates are some of the many benefits that telecommuting brings to employers worldwide.
Are you not entirely convinced? We’ll let the following statistics persuade you.
6. American companies saved $5 billion by allowing employees to work remotely.
While a lot of employers still don’t believe in remote work in spite of work from home trends steadily going upward, others have tried it out and saved an astonishing $5 billion in a year.
This number is measured among part-time workers only, so the amount of money saved could be higher once full-time positions are considered.
7. Remote employees are 20–25% more productive than their on-site counterparts.
Working from home can come with distractions that can hinder one’s productivity, but working in a traditional office is not that different.
In fact, the productivity stats of working from home are higher than in traditional office settings.
After all, the typical water cooler talk can be just as damaging to a worker’s productivity as any distraction you’d find at home.
8. 74% of workers agree that allowing remote work would increase employee retention.
Aside from positively affecting company revenue and employee productivity, allowing employees to work remotely can also increase the likelihood of them staying in the company.
This is because, according to telecommuting statistics in 2019, remote employees are happier, less stressed, and better at managing work-life balance.
9. 90% of remote workers feel more productive when working remotely.
The upside to working alone is that you’re not distracted continuously with non-work-related office chats. Various remote work surveys have shown that remote workers can focus more than traditional office workers.
To ward off the loneliness, 25% of telecommuters leave the TV on, while 21% pretty utter silence for better focus.
Telecommuting Benefits for Employees
Statistics have shown time and time again that a majority of employees prefer telecommuting. After all, who wouldn’t want benefits such as higher salary, increased job satisfaction, better work-life balance, and increased savings?
10. Remote workers save $2,000 to $7,000 annually.
Remote workers can save on transportation, work-related expenses, and childcare and eldercare costs. A lot of them can also apply for home office tax breaks. These findings typically apply to people working in the IT industry.
11. Telecommuting salary is 2.2 times more likely to surpass $100K a year than traditional office salary.
To break it down, 26% of telecommuters earn more than $100K a year as opposed to only 8% of on-site workers. To top it off, 7% of telecommuters earn more than $200K a year, while only 1% of onsite workers earn the same.
When weighing the pros and cons of telecommuting, this might just be enough to make anyone decide to jump on the bandwagon.
12. 91% of telecommuters decided to work remotely to achieve a better work-life balance.
Working from home promotes a healthy work-life balance because the time you spend commuting to and from work can be spent on enriching your personal life instead.
The flexibility in remote work also gives you more freedom in managing your time. Working from home statistics additionally show that the other top reasons for switching to remote work are to focus better (79%), and avoid commute (78%) and stress (78%).
13. 71% of remote workers report being happy with their jobs.
On the contrary, only 55% of on-site employees are happy with their jobs.
It seems that workers really enjoy the many pros of telecommuting, including doing away with the commute, choosing their workspace, and wearing comfortable clothing.
14. 32% of remote workers get an unlimited vacation.
However, of the survey respondents who reported getting an unlimited vacation, 44% said that they only take anywhere between two to three weeks of vacation in a year. It makes total sense, though.
If you had a job that allows you to work from virtually anywhere, you’d hardly feel the need to take some time off to travel.
Statistics on Remote Work Challenges
Despite its many benefits, telecommuting can still come with its challenges. Looking at all the pros and cons will help both employers and employees decide if this is the right work arrangement for them.
15. Watching TV is a primary distraction for 32% of remote workers.
This is followed by 27% who report childcare as a huge distraction in working from home. While working from home can motivate some people, others can easily get distracted.
Recent telecommuting productivity statistics show that one out of three workers would even go so far as to say that home-related responsibilities are negatively affecting their productivity while working from home.
16. 29% of remote workers struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
On the contrary, only 23% of office or on-site workers report having the same problem.
You’d think that having more time on your hands due to the omission of commuting would result in having more time for your personal life, but these work from home statistics show that this is not always the case.
17. 8% of remote employees find it hard to concentrate on tasks.
This is in contrast to 6% of on-site workers who have difficulty in concentrating.
Gowever, when their screens were tracked, it was found that 39% of remote employees deliberately avoided work as opposed to 56% of on-site workers.
18. 54% of telecommuters report feeling stressed during workdays.
On the other side, only 49% of on-site workers feel overly stressed during workdays.
According to telecommuting statistics, 2020 is a challenging year, not just with employers having to swiftly shift to telecommuting, but with employees having to adjust with this new work arrangement. It can certainly be a stressor to some.
19. 22% of telecommuters state that unplugging after work is their biggest struggle.
This goes in conjunction with some remote workers struggling with maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Sometimes, when you can carry your work anywhere you go, it can be challenging to identify boundaries and limitations, but consistency is key. Once your hours are done, turn notifications off and focus on your personal life.
Working From Home Stats Growth
The current pandemic has undoubtedly played a role in shaping the state of remote work in 2020.
However, previous years have shown an upward trend in telecommuting as well, which is largely due to employers seeing the many benefits remote work brings to the table.
20. Since 2005, telecommuting has grown by 173%.
It is evident that 2020 statistics of working from home will continue to be a rising trend, and workers around the globe accepted it as a good and profitable way of getting in the market and offering their services. It’s even growing 47 times faster than self-employed individuals and 11% faster than the remaining workforce.
21. 16% of companies are fully remote.
According to the latest statistics, working from home seems to be the way of the future as more companies start to recognize its benefits. In addition to 16% of companies going fully remote, 40% of companies offer their employees both on-site and remote options, giving them full control over their work environment.
That leaves only 44% of companies that disallow remote work.
22. 57% of small businesses that switched to remote work during the pandemic will likely maintain this option in the long-term.
Statistics on working from home show that for a majority of small and medium-sized businesses, it is more than just a temporary fix.
This will definitely bring about changes, not only in the daily operations of a business, but also in how employees, customers, and business owners will interact with each other going forward.
23. 68% of workers believe that remote work will prevail over traditional office jobs.
Two out of three employees believe that the future of work will be dependent on them, not on the employers.
More employers might find themselves asking, “what is telecommuting?” as a majority of employees believe that future work arrangements are heading towards remote work as opposed to traditional or on-site office jobs.
24. An estimated 73% of teams or departments will have remote workers by 2028.
Thanks to technological advancements, a huge chunk of jobs are likely moving to remote in the coming years.
Combine this with the perception of employees that telecommuting is better for their health and well-being, and employers are bound to consider it.
After all, it is the workers, not the employers, that shape the future of work and directly affect remote working trends.
25. There has been a 40% increase in the number of companies offering remote work options in the past five years.
Nearly a quarter of employers offer remote work on an as-needed basis to some employees with 42% offering it part-time and 27% offering it full-time.
It was also found that larger businesses have the most likelihood of offering telecommuting options to a large portion of their employees.
This is a direct result of more and more employers seeing the value of telecommuting.
Global Facts About Working From Home
Around the world, remote work is affecting how employees, business owners, and customers interact with each other. It also helps determine the state of the workplace in the future.
Let’s look at how much remote work impacts businesses and employees worldwide.
26. 7.9% of the global workforce permanently work from home.
According to the latest telework statistics, this totals to 260 million workers worldwide who permanently work from home and includes teleworkers, industrial workers, self-employed business owners, artisans, and freelancers.
A closer look will show that only 2.9% of employees worldwide work exclusively or primarily from home.
27. An estimated 18% of employees worldwide live in countries and have jobs that allow them to effectively work from home.
However, a country’s remote workers statistics are affected by various economic, occupational, social, and environmental factors that affect one’s ability to work from home.
This includes access to a stable internet connection and the likelihood and ability to own a personal computer.
28. South America has 81% more fully remote companies than the global average.
However, to contrast this, when compared to the global average, South America also has 9% more companies that don’t allow telecommuting or remote work.
Additionally, working from home data shows that 60% of companies in Australia are fully remote or hybrid, putting it at the top spot. Africa comes second at 59%.
29. 56% of British employees wish to remain working remotely after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Around 51% of French employees want to remain working remotely as well. If there’s any takeaway from the work from home statistics in 2020, it’s that it looks like telecommuting is here to stay.
If employees are highly engaged and productive when they’re telecommuting, business leaders are bound to consider it as a long-term option.
30. Compared to the global average, employees in Asia and South America are 17% more likely to agree that telecommuting provides more quality employment options.
Although only 35% of employees worldwide agree that telecommuting provides more quality employment options, this is not the case in Asia and South America.
On the other hand, employees in Europe are 13% less likely to agree on this stance.
After looking through telecommuting advantages, disadvantages, and statistics, we can conclude that the job market has changed, and it has changed for good. The statistics gathered in previous years unanimously show that modern companies have to adjust and consider work from home options in order to keep their workers and help them be productive, motivated, and focused.
Also, technological breakthroughs, such as AI, are speeding up the process, and it’s only a matter of time when a majority of tasks can be done remotely.
Hopefully, the telecommuting definition and examples presented in this text have quenched your curiosity about telecommuting, how it affects the job market, how it saves time and money, and how it affects workers’ psychology, especially when it comes to productivity and overall job satisfaction.