Flexible work statistics: uncovering the myths and benefits of remote work

by Julie Rutherford

Many organizations may be hesitant to give you the green light for remote work. After all, “working from home” has an inevitable “lounging on the couch in your pajamas with the TV on in the background” ring to it. However, statistics conducted by many companies have found encouraging trends concerning work productivity and satisfaction. Additionally, attitudes towards flexible work are increasingly positive, especially among younger generations. Here are some promising numbers that are sure to win your boss over. 

Who wants remote work?

Let’s start off by observing the existing demand for remote work. Several studies and reports have arrived at the following conclusions: 

  • In a survey by WeWerk involving 1,583 white-collar professionals, they found that 96% of employees needed flexibility but that only 46% reported having access to the types of flexibility they needed. 
  • In a study published by Cornell, 82% of millennials said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options and nearly a quarter would be willing to work more hours.
  • A survey by Owl Labs found that 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time.

Non-flexible work

What is the impact of having a non-flexible work structure? What are you compromising by not offering flexible options?

  • In the WeWerk study mentioned above, 33% of respondents report that the structure of their workday makes it challenging for them to be the type of parent they want to be.
  • Non-flexible work poses an obstacle for the health and well-being of employees with “39% of Millennials reporting that the structure of their workday makes it challenging for them to make time for exercise and healthy living.”
  • Productivity also suffered because of a lack of flexibility, 34% of respondents reported that “the structure of their workday made it challenging to perform in a sustainable way over time.”

Remote work now

What are the trends for flexible work at the moment?

  • Data from Global Workplace Analytics’ analysis of 2018 revealed that regular work-at-home has grown 173% since 2005.
  • The same analysis found that 56% of employees have a job where at least some of what they do could be done remotely.
  • 5 million employees (3.6% of the U.S. employee workforce) currently work-at-home half-time or more.
  • Research conducted by leading flexible workspace provider, IWG A whopping 74% of respondents in an annual survey believe that flexible working has become the “new normal.”
  •  Over the last five years, remote work grew 44% and over the previous 10 years, it grew 91%.


Does flexible work (such as remote work) provide any benefits? Does it actually work?

  • In Cornell’s research the evolution of flexible work, 77% of millennials said flexible work makes people their age more productive.
  • PwC reported that 72% of firms claimed a direct link between their “flex work” practices and increased productivity
  • ZenBusiness surveyed 1,035 remote workers regarding their personal experience with working from home. They also found that remote employees experienced an improvement in overall health: 60% felt their mental health improved, and 44% claimed to exercise more frequently.
  • According to Global Workplace Analytics, a typical employer can save about $11,000 a year per half-time telecommuter, with primary savings coming from “increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness.”

There seems to be an evident trend for preferred work with flexibility. A switch to remote work can reduce operation costs, improve mental health, and help with a work-life balance that is critical for retention.  

As the younger workforce places more importance on flexible practices, companies should consider these needs and how a remote work structure can optimize productivity and worker satisfaction. 

Posted in Remote Work