10 Surprising Statistics About Remote Work in 2020 

remote- working-statistics-2020

January 2020, apart from being the longest month on record, ever with what has felt like 259875 days, has also been full of retrospective posts looking back over the last decade. It’s incredible to think that just 10 years ago, so much of the technology that we take for granted was just a twinkle in an entrepreneurs eye; 2010 started with the iPhone 4, gamification was a new idea, and the idea of remote working was limited to artistic types.

Times have definitely changed. We heartily agree with Owl Labs who started their 2019 State of Remote Work Report with the phrase, ‘Remote working isn’t the future of work; it’s the present’.

Owl Labs aren’t the only people reflecting on how the world of remote work has changed. We’ve been reading lots of different takes on the way remote working is developing, and we’ve selected ten statistics to illustrate them that we think might just surprise you.

1. 400% Increase in Remote Working Behaviours

No, they don’t mean turning up to work in your PJ’s or setting an alarm to remind you to do a sun salutation every 15 minutes. The working from home behavior that GetApp is reporting is in people simply being able to work from home. 78% of people who responded to their survey were able to work remotely, at least one day a week.

2. Remote Workers Worry About Data Theft

workers thinking for solutions

It’s one of the big issues surrounding remote work, but how prepared are your distributed teams when it comes to fending off security threats? GetApp’s research shows that just over half of all remote staff have had any training in handling their remote security. But with one in three of us still willing to open.

Phishing attack emails, and attack vectors increasing with every new Internet of Things device we add to our networks, there’s never been a more important time to talk to all staff about cybersecurity. You’ve really got no excuse, we gave you four tips for handling this just a few months ago.

3. Remote Work is Linked to SaaS Growth

Which makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Cloud-based solutions came about, at least in part, because of a need to connect staff who were working in different locations; even if that just meant different offices.

It’s not surprising that once staff was able to log in and do their work regardless of where they were in the world, that remote work would follow. In fact, the SaaS market is worth 10 times what it was in 2010, and predicted growth in 2020 is an additional 17%.

Just a few years ago, laptops and desktops were crowded with software and shelves buckled under the weight of their installation disks. Now, very little of what most people use is installed on their machines at all.

The downside of this, of course, is an inability to work without an internet connection – but 5G is on its way to make sure we never suffer that gruesome fate.

4. More Execs Work From Home

man working remotely

For a long time, C-Level was where the dream of working from home went to die. Directors and board members were not open to the idea that their staff could be as, if not more, productive working from home as they were in the office. But that’s all changed now – in fact, in Owl Labs remote work report they found that 18% more execs worked from home than in the office.

That’s a welcome tidal change. If your C-level staff are still bound to the office, now might be the time to leave some inspirational stories about other CEO’s and their remote revolutions hanging about the place. We’re confident once your bosses know how great remote work is, they’ll let you do it too.

5. Remote Workers Get Paid More

It’s tempting to say this statistic is true only because of the higher percentage of bigwigs working from home, but it’s interesting to note that a virtual worker is more likely to be earning over $75k per year than their desk-bound colleague.

Of course, the higher salary might be evidence of the increased productivity and willingness to work extra hours that come with hiring remote. We’re not even going to link to sources on those assertions, because if you haven’t read those remote work fundamentals by now, you’re living in a cave somewhere.

6. Remote Work = Happiness

One question that Owl Labs asked respondents is a strikingly simple one: Are you happy in your job? The results are impressive though. While 55% of in-office staff agreed they were content, an incredible 71% of remote staff gave their experience a thumbs up.

If happy smiling faces greeting you when you log in to a Zoom meeting isn’t reason enough to consider hiring remote, it’s worth noting there are financial benefits to happy staff. You’ll see improved productivity, engagement and employee retention (13%!) and the only thing that’s likely to go down is absenteeism. 

7. Work/Life Balance is Most Important

A stonkingly consistent 91% of those surveyed by Owl Labs said that the number one reason for working from home was to have a better work/life balance.

While it’s often claimed that it’s Millenials who are driving this desire to make sure they don’t just work to live, the truth is that all generations and ages are looking for more than just a paycheck. 

The second most popular reason for staff to choose to work from home was increased productivity, with 79% of those questioned saying it was important to them. That was closely followed by less stress & no commute. 

8. Remote Teams Work Longer Hours

In spite of the lack of commute; or maybe because of it, home workers tend to put in more hours per week than their office-based colleagues. In spite of this, remote workers are less likely to feel overworked. It’s possible that this can be explained by work ‘creep’ where it becomes easier to pick up the laptop and finish a task outside regular working hours, but that might just be one of the positive side effects of remote workers being happier – even when they work harder, they don’t feel bad about it!

9. More Meetings for Remote Teams

We’ve been writing about how important communication is for virtual teams, so we’re glad to see that 14% of remote workers get involved in more than 11 meetings per week, as opposed to just 3% of staff who share a site. Don’t perceive this as a negative thing; remember that virtual teams don’t get those casual opportunities to check in with each other, so scheduling extra meetings to keep everyone on the same page is really important.

10. Remote Work Isn’t Going Anywhere

Although there were some who prophesied the death of working from home over the last decade (remember the response to Yahoo! calling in their remote teams?), remote work isn’t going anywhere. There are too many things driving it forward; it’s what employees want, the technology is there, and the need to be responsive to customers all around the world means that companies need to be on-line 24/7 too. The obvious way to achieve that is with remote workers in different timezones.

If you think that your next hire should be remote, then why don’t you give us a call? We’re experts at finding technical talent that is remote-ready; and we do it quicker than regular recruitment agents. Your remote rockstar is just a conversation away.

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Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon is a remote work advocate and thought leader and a specialist in persuasive writing. She has an MA in Creative Fiction, is a children's author, and a writer of award-winning short stories.