23 Fascinating Remote Work Statistics (2021)

by Josh Howarth - September 7, 2021

This article is a list of 23+ fascinating remote work statistics for 2021.

Remote work and work from home (WFH) have become increasingly prevalent in recent years. And this has only been furthered by the pandemic.

But is this recent surge likely to persist beyond the pandemic? Or is remote working a temporary change?

Find out more in our up-to-date list of remote work stats.

Click for a specific section:

Contents

Remote Work Growth Stats

Nearly 1 in 3 employees work at exclusively remote companies (Buffer)

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Remote work has become commonplace in the vast majority of organizations.

A 2020 survey found that 30% of respondents work at an organization where “everyone at [their] company works remotely”.

An additional 43% of respondents answered “part of the team is full-time remote and part of the team works out of the same office”.

15% of those surveyed stated that “at my company, we can work from home as needed”. And 9% answered “at my company we can work remotely a certain number of days per week/month.

Finally, the remaining 3% of those surveyed responded “I am [a] solo business or freelancer and work remotely”.

Over 50% of remote workers have begun working from home in the last year (GitLab)

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A 2020 survey found that 56% of remote workers had been working from home for less than a year.

A further 21% of respondents had begun working from home less than five years ago. And an additional 14% of remote workers had begun working from home in the last ten years.

The large proportion of new remote workers reflects the necessity of WFH for many employees.

Two-thirds of businesses are investing in web conferencing software (TrustRadius)

Remote working requires specific tools to assist the job.

One such tool is web conferencing software. As of April 2021 survey found that 67% of businesses have increased spending on web conferencing software - the largest increase in WFH tool spending.

Over half of all businesses surveyed are also increasing expenditure on collaboration tools (57%) and remote desktop tools (52%).

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Here is the full breakdown of increased business spending on WFH tools:

WFH tool Share of respondents
Web conferencing software 67%
Collaboration tools 57%
Remote desktop tools 52%
Security software 41%
Learning management software 23%
Time tracking tools 14%
Telemedicine 11%
Other 11%

WFH Tool Use Stats

Microsoft Teams daily active users exceeded 100M last year (Microsoft)

In April, 145M daily users were recorded for Microsoft Teams.

The collaborative software has increased from 13M monthly users in July 2019. And reached 115M daily users in October 2020.

Microsoft Office 365 claims almost half of the total productivity software market share worldwide (Enlyft)

Software from Microsoft and Google currently dominate the productivity software market.

Microsoft Office 365 remains the most popular productivity software with a 47.5% market share. While Google Apps currently have a 44.56% market share. And Microsoft PowerPoint claims a 5.23% market share.

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Adobe Acrobat Pro has the fourth-largest market share with 0.89%

The US office suite market is entirely shared by Google and Microsoft (Datanyze)

Google’s G Suite has a 59.41% office suite market share in the US.

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Office 365 has a 40.39% office suite market share in the US - approximately 1.5x less than G Suite.

The collaboration software market will generate over $13B by next year (Apps Run the World)

The collaborative software market has grown year-over-year since 2015. And is expected to continue to grow until 2024.

In 2015, the collaborative software market generated an estimated $7.05B. This figure jumped to $11.01B in 2018. And is estimated to be $12.87B this year.

In 2024, it is forecast that the collaborative software market will generate $13.58B in market revenue.

Cloud-based conferencing end-user spending is estimated to reach almost $5B by 2023 (Gartner)

In 2018, global end-user spending on cloud-based conferencing solutions totaled $2.7B.

This figure climbed to $3.3B the following year. And increased further to an approximate $4.1B last year.

Global end-user spending on cloud-based conferencing solutions is expected to reach an estimated $4.8B in 2023.

Stats on Employee Attitudes Towards Remote Work

80% of employees claim they would “recommend working remotely to a friend” (Gartner)

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A 2021 survey found that worldwide 80% of employees would “recommend working remotely to a friend” - down from 90% last year.

“I would consider leaving my co-lated company for a remote role” also saw a 10% drop, receiving 62% of votes in 2020 compared to 52% this year.

Nonetheless, attitudes towards remote work and WFH are overwhelmingly positive.

Here is the full breakdown of each response given in the survey:

Response 2020 share of respondents 2021 share of respondents
I recommend working remotely to a friend 90% 80%
I am satisfied with tools and processes that enable remote team communication 87% 82%
My leadership team gives me agency and autonomy while working remotely 86% 80%
Remote work is the future of work 86% 82%
I am able to accomplish all of my tasks remotely 84% 80%
My leadership team understands what it takes to operate a team remotely 84% 82%
I would consider leaving my co-lated company for a remote role 62% 52%

Tech employees believe they are more productive working from home (TrustRadius)

A majority 57% of tech employees surveyed during the pandemic believe they are more productive when working remotely from home.

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Around a quarter (24%) believe that working from home does not affect their productivity.

And 17% of tech employees believe that they are less productive when working from home - more than 3x fewer people than those who believe they are more productive from home.

Flexible scheduling is the most popular reason to WFH (GitLab)

Of the nine listed benefits to WFH, “flexible scheduling” is the most popular reason to work remotely. This is the case in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia, all of which received a 50% or larger share of respondent votes.

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The next most popular reason to work remotely varied across countries. In the UK and Canada, it is a “lack of commute”.

While in the US it is the ability to “care for family/pets/relatives”. And in Australia, it is the “cost of savings”.

Here are the full results of the 2020 survey:

Benefit USA respondents UK respondents Canada respondents Australia respondents
Flexible scheduling 53% 50% 56% 50%
Lack of commute 32% 43% 50% 39%
Cost of savings 33% 33% 36% 43%
Able to care for family, pets, aging/sick relatives, etc. 36% 34% 33% 32%
Reduced anxiety/stress 34% 32% 28% 28%
Improved health (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.) 26% 25% 22% 30%
Freedom to travel/relocate 26% 18% 13% 21%
Able to live where you want to live 23% 15% 16% 21%
Reduced office politics 18% 19% 17% 22%

Dressing casually is the top benefit for remote workers in Europe (Buffer)

Perhaps surprisingly, “dressing more casually” was voted as the top benefit to working from home in Europe, with 69% of respondents deeming it important.

The next most popular benefits are a “personalized workspace” (49%), “more time for hobbies” (47%), “bringing [your] whole self to work” (36%), and “working with [a] pet by my side (28%).

The least voted for benefit was “more time with children” with 26% of respondents voting for this.

Not being able to unplug is the biggest remote working struggle (Buffer)

According to a 2021 study, “not being able to unplug” is the biggest remote working struggle with a 27% share of votes. This is up 9% on 2020’s results which ranked “not being able to unplug” third overall.

“Difficulties with collaboration and communication” and “loneliness” each received a 16% share of votes - a 4% fall from last year.

“Distractions at home”, “staying motivated”, and “being in a different timezone than teammates”, each received 15% of the vote or less.

Half of all global organizations believe empowering remote workforce is important (IBM Institute for Business Value)

A 2020 survey found that 61% of CEOs believe that “empowering remote workforce” is an important part of their organization’s strategy. This was the most common “important strategy”.

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Over half of respondents (54%) also believe that “accelerating agility” is important to their business strategy.

Other strategies important to business according to the survey included “reducing operating costs” (48%), “engaging customers virtually” (41%), “enhancing supply chain continuity” (41%), and “balancing business portfolio” (41%).

Almost half of the employees believe remote workplace collaboration has improved since before the pandemic (PwC)

44% of employees believe that “collaborating on new projects” remotely has improved since the start of the pandemic. This is over 2x more than the 17% who believe it has worsened.

Similarly, 44% of employees believe that “coaching employees to succeed” has improved since the start of the pandemic. And just 20% think this aspect has worsened.

The most even split in terms of opinion comes from recruitment.

38% of those surveyed think “onboarding new hires” has improved since the start of the pandemic. 27% think it has worsened. And 35% believe there has been no change in onboarding quality.

Employer Attitudes to Remote Work Stats

Approximately 4 in 5 US employers believe remote work is successful (PwC)

An 83% share of US employers surveyed in Q4 2020 believe that remote work is “successful”. This is compared to 71% of US employees.

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Just 6% of US employers believe that remote work is not successful. The same figure is true for US employees.

Finally, 11% of US employers believe that remote work garners “mixed results”. And 23% of US employees feel the same.

95% of company executives still believe employees need to be in the office to maintain strong company culture (PwC)

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Despite increasing remote opportunities, company executives tend to believe that employees must spend at least some of their working week in the office in order to “keep a strong [company] culture”.

Just 5% of US company executives surveyed in 2020 believe that “employees don’t need to be in the office to maintain company culture”.

The most commonly given answer was “three days per week” with a 29% share of respondents opting for this duration.

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Here is a full breakdown of how long company executives believe employees should spend in the office:

Duration employees should spend in the office* Share of respondents
No time 5%
About one to three days per month 6%
One day per week 5%
Two days per week 15%
Three days per week 29%
Four days per week 18%
Five days per week 21%

*according to company executives

Over half of adult professionals believe that the biggest benefit to remote work is increased productivity (PwC)

A 2021 survey conducted across multiple countries including the US and the UK found 52% of respondents deemed “increased productivity” to be the biggest benefit to remote work.

“Increased efficiency” received 48% of votes. While “increased employee morale” and “increased employee loyalty/retention” received 44% and 43% respectively.

Impact of the Pandemic on WFH

The IT industry has increased in productivity due to remote work (Capgemini)

Across the board, organizations are largely reporting increased productivity due to remote work.

According to a 2020 survey assessing change in productivity as a result of remote work, 68% of IT/digital organizations have reported an increase in productivity. And just 15% of the industry reported a decrease in productivity.

All 11 industries surveyed had over 50% of organizations report increased productivity. Only one industry (research and development/innovation) reported a decrease in productivity by more than 20% of organizations (26%).

Almost three-quarters of new remote workers will remain so post-COVID (Gartner)

74% of remote employees who were not working remotely pre-COVID will remain in a remote role post-COVID.

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Breaking this down, 27% of respondents claim that 1 in 20 employees within their organization will remain working remotely.

A further 25% claim that 1 in 10 employees within their organization will remain working remotely. And 20% responded that 1 in 5 employees will remain remote.

4% of respondents claim that half of their company’s employees will remain remote permanently. And 2% of respondents say over half of their organization’s workers will continue to work remotely.

Future of Remote Working Stats

Over half of B2B companies increased web & video conferencing spending (TrustRadius)

A 2020 survey found that 64% of B2B businesses planned to increase “web & video conferencing” spending this year. And just 7% planned to decrease this expenditure.

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This was the most common category to increase in business spending. And is in line with a surge in remote work.

The second-most common category was “online collaboration & project management” with 53% of organizations planning to increase spending this year. And just 8% of organizations planned to reduce spending.

This, too, suggests a larger focus on remote work.

Over 70% of US company executives aim to prioritize tools for virtual collaboration (PwC)

“Tools for virtual collaboration” is the most popular area for future investment among US company executives with 72% aiming to prioritize this area.

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Similarly, 70% of US company executives plan to invest further in “IT infrastructure to secure virtual connectivity”. And 64% want to invest in “training for managers to manage a more virtual workforce”.

Over 85% of the finance and insurance industry could work remotely (PwC)

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Looking forward, there is still a lot of room for remote work growth. Certain industries lend themselves well to remote work, creating yet untapped potential for more employees to WFH.

A 2020 model suggests that the finance and insurance industry has the largest theoretical maximum percentage of remote workers with 86% able to WFH.

This is followed by the management industry with 78%. And the professional, scientific, and technical services industry with 75%.

The least appropriate industries for remote working according to the model are construction (20%), accommodation and food services (9%), and agriculture (7%).

Conclusion

That’s all for our remote work statistics.

It is clear that the remote workspace is here to stay. Attitudes are beginning to shift more in favor of working from home. And organizations are seemingly following suit.

Having been propelled into public consciousness by the pandemic, remote work is set to become a mainstay in many people’s lives even beyond COVID.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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