Remote Work Statistics and Trends in 2024

One of the biggest impressions the COVID-19 pandemic left on the world was the change to the traditional workplace setup. Remote work is becoming commonplace in many industries, and an Upwork study suggests that 22% of the American workforce will be remote by 2025.2 

Our team has conducted an online survey of 1,000 American white-collar workers, with the help of OnePoll, to learn more about remote working trends in the U.S. We also researched an array of statistics and other surveys to gain an understanding of what remote looks like across the country, how Americans feel about their current setup and what the future might hold for remote workers.

Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of remote work statistics and trends in 2024.

Key stats on remote working 

Here’s a summary of the key facts and figures on remote work in the U.S.:

  • According to the Pew Research Center, around 22 million employed adults (aged 18 and over) in the U.S. work from home all the time, equal to roughly 14% of all employed adults.4 
  • Just over one-third of workers in the U.S. who can work remotely do so all the time — while 41% are at least part-time remote on a hybrid setup.4
  • More than one in five Americans will work remotely by 2025.2
  • According to a survey we conducted, 58% of white-collar workers prefer to work remotely at least three days a week.
  • Only 16% of white-collar workers would consider a role that doesn’t offer any days of remote work.1
  • 42% of office workers would take a 10% pay cut to have the flexibility to work remotely.1
  • According to Upwork’s Future of Remote Work study, one-third of hiring managers said that productivity has increased due to remote work settings.3

How many people work from home by demographics

With the help of tools like video conferencing and VPN services, those who can work from home often do. However, many still do not have that option. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, three in five American workers do not have jobs that can be carried out remotely.4 

Our survey shows that 33% of our respondents work remotely, and 33% work in a hybrid work environment. However, 36% of respondents would prefer working from home full-time instead of having a hybrid schedule, and 41% of respondents would be willing to consider a full-time, remote position if they were looking for a new position.

Let’s delve into the demographics of remote workers in the U.S.

How many people work from home by education level

Our survey of U.S. white-collar workers revealed that 36% of those who have reached, at most, a high school degree or equivalent are fully remote. This is proportionally more than any other group, with master’s degree holders having the lowest percentage of fully remote U.S. workers at 27%.

Those holding doctoral degrees are more likely to have a hybrid role than any other, with 52% of respondents saying they work both in-office and at home — proportionally higher than all other levels of education. Only 27% of those with high school degrees or equivalent work in hybrid models which is the lowest for all groups. 

How many people work from home by earnings

Our survey also showed that the percentage of people in each income group who were fully remote decreased as earnings increased. 

  • Of those earning under $50,000 per year, 42% were fully remote. 
  • Of those earning between $125,000 and $200,000 per year, only 18% were fully remote. 
  • Of those earning over $200,000 per year, just over 25% were fully remote.

Hybrid work was most prevalent among those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 per year and least prevalent among those earning under $50,000 per year. 43% of people earning between $125,000 and $150,000 were entirely in the office — more than in any other salary group.

Which states have the most remote workers?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado has the highest proportion of remote workers, with 21.2% of people in the state working from home at least some of the time.5 It is followed closely by:5

  • Washington at 20.5%. 
  • Arizona at 19.2%.
  • Oregon at 19%.

On the other side of the scale, Mississippi has the lowest proportion of remote workers, with only 5.5% carrying out work from home.5 This is just ahead of:5 

  • North Dakota at 7.6%.
  • Louisiana at 8.2%. 
  • Arkansas at 8.8%.

How many people can work from home by occupation

According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, the industry with the most remote work available is the computer/mathematical field. 89% of employees in this field report being able to work remotely — 52% full-time and 37% part-time.6 Other industries that report high percentages of remote work include:6

  • Business/financial operations: 86%; 61% full-time and 25% part-time.
  • Architecture/engineering: 82%; 47% full-time and 35% part-time.
  • Arts/design/entertainment/sports/media: 80%; 53% full-time and 27% part-time.
  • Legal: 76%; 46% full-time and 30% part-time.

When it comes to full-time remote work, business/financial operations (61%) and arts/design/entertainment/sports/media (53%) offer the most options, followed by computer/mathematical (52%) and architecture/engineering (47%).6

With regard to part-time remote work, the computer/mathematical field leads the way with 37% of respondents saying it is available to them. This is followed by architecture/engineering (35%) and community/social service (34%).6

According to the same report, the industries and occupations with the least amount of remote work available include:6

  • Protective services: 28%; 22% full-time and 6% part-time.
  • Production: 29%; 15% full-time and 14% part-time.
  • Food preparation/serving: 29%; 14% full-time and 15% part-time.
  • Transportation/moving material: 29%; 20% full-time and 9% part-time. 
  • Farming/fishing/forestry: 37%; 17% full-time and 20% part-time.

Overall, the American Opportunity Survey reports that 35% of respondents have access to full-time remote work, while 23% of respondents have access to part-time remote work. This represents a total of 58% of respondents having access to some type of remote work.6

Remote work survey 

Our survey showed that the majority of white-collar workers (58%) would prefer to work from home at least three days per week in their current role, with 36% wanting to work all days of the week remotely — the most popular option. 

This is just over double the amount that wanted to work five days a week in the office (17%). But overall, the least popular options among white-collar workers were spending four days at home and one in the office and vice versa, both only getting 9% of votes from respondents.

However, when looking for a new role, 41% of respondents said they’d consider a job that was fully remote — more than any other option. The least popular option among respondents was one day at home and four in the office, with only one in ten saying they’d consider a role with this split. 

Over a third of all respondents said they would likely look for a new job if their current employer no longer offered remote work. 68% of white-collar workers report that remote work has positively impacted their lives, and only 5% said it has negatively impacted them. 

The pros and cons of remote working

The rise of remote work dramatically changed the job landscape and how people view their work-life balance. While remote work has many benefits, it’s important to consider some of the drawbacks people have experienced, too.

Benefits of remote work

A better work-life balance was voted the top benefit of remote work by 59% of respondents in our survey. It was closely followed by:

  • Saving time on commuting (55%).
  • Having a more comfortable workspace (54%).
  • Reduced spending on travel and eating out (43%).

It’s not just the employees themselves who reap the benefits of remote work — companies and employers are likely to see improved employee retention when offering the ability to work from home. 

A study from McKinsey showed that flexible working arrangements are the third-biggest motivator for employees finding a new job.6 More than one in five respondents agreed with this, behind only:6

  • Greater pay or better hours (47%). 
  • Better career opportunities (27%).

However, it is ahead of:6 

  • Health insurance (16%). 
  • Predictable hours (15%). 
  • Sustainability (15%). 

According to Owl Labs’ State of Hybrid Work 2023, 26% of full-time office workers changed jobs in 2023, compared to only 17% of hybrid or remote workers.7

Challenges of remote working

Remote working also presents unique challenges to employees. According to our study, the biggest drawback viewed by employees in the U.S. is feeling isolated from their team (34%). Some of the other drawbacks include: 

  • Having fewer opportunities to learn from others (25%). 
  • Having difficulty unplugging from work (22%).
  • Having less access to resources and equipment (21%).
  • Feeling more depressed (11%).
  • Feeling stressed or burnt out (9%).

The drawbacks that affected employees the least included:

  • More difficult to manage or be managed (7%).
  • Decreased creativity or innovation (8%).
  • Lack of a dedicated workspace (8%).

According to research from Owl Labs, 68% of managers believe employees who work part-time or full-time remotely miss out on informal feedback. Technical difficulties can also play a part, with 80% of workers experiencing lost time in meetings.7 

Work-from-home productivity statistics 

According to Quantum Workplace research, hybrid employees had the highest level of engagement, with more than four in five reporting “high engagement” compared to 78% of remote employees and 72% of on-site employees.8 Additionally, an Upwork study on the future of remote work found that 32.2% of hiring managers saw increased productivity, while 22.5% said productivity had fallen.3

Just 16% of white-collar workers in our survey said they’re more productive in the office, compared to 46% who said they were more productive at home. 38% of respondents said they were much more likely to work longer hours if remote. 

According to Owl Labs, 38% of hybrid workers said an office setting is best for meeting new people. 30% said it is best for meetings, and another 25% said they prefer an office setting when collaborating with others. Hybrid workers also said they feel just as productive or even more productive when working in a hybrid environment.7

Remote work trends

In a survey run by Resume Builder, only 4% of respondents said their company never planned to have a physical workspace again. 20% planned to have one by the end of 2024, and 64% said their company currently has a physical workspace.9 

Just over half (51%) of respondents also said their company requires some or all employees to be in the office. 39% of respondents said this would be the case for their organizations by the end of 2024, while only 8% planned for this to happen by 2025 and beyond.9 Out of respondents who said their companies planned a return to office in 2024, just under one-fifth say employees will be required to work in the office five days a week.9

Despite this, 28% of respondents said those who don’t comply with a return to office policy will be threatened with termination of employment by their company.9

In a survey by Gallup, four in five chief human resources offices of Fortune 500 companies said remote work flexibility was there to stay for at least the next 12 months.10 The survey also revealed that just under one-third of employees working on a hybrid model had full autonomy to choose their office schedule compared to half of the employees on a set schedule.10

28% said they had to be in the office on specific days, while 22% said they only had to meet a minimum day quote but could choose the specific days they worked.10

According to Flex Index, the activities that attracted employees the most were:11

  • Teamwork (32.4%). 
  • Socializing (27.5%).
  • Managing/mentoring (9.5%).

Other activities included: 

  • Productivity (4%).
  • Concentration (2.3%).
  • Key decisions (1.6%.)

Work-from-home depression

A survey by FlexJobs showed that 93% of working professionals said their mental health was positively impacted by working from home,12 while 90% also said it positively affected their physical health.13 Additionally, 96% of workers believed being able to work from home, whether hybrid or fully remote, would be the best option when considering their mental health.14

Our survey found that — among white-collar workers who work fully remote or hybrid schedules — 40% feel less stress and burnout, and 31% feel less depression and anxiety. However, working from home still comes with its own challenges to mental health. 

Here are our best tips for keeping a positive outlook while working remotely:

  • Have a regular routine: While remote working might allow you more time for yourself, having a routine will help you stay consistent. Sticking to regular patterns as closely as possible is ideal, especially for your sleep schedules.
  • Take breaks: While it can be tempting to stay stuck to your laptop when you’re at home, it’s essential to take regular breaks — even for five to ten minutes every hour. Spending time outside is particularly useful — a quick walk in the park can do wonders for your mental health.
  • Make a dedicated space for work: When you work from home, it can be harder to keep your work and home life separate, so setting up a dedicated workspace can help prevent the lines from becoming blurred. Set boundaries so no one disturbs you during the day, and when you’re done working, you won’t feel like you’re still in the office or in “work mode.”
  • Stay connected to your colleagues and friends: Isolation is a big problem with remote work, so ensure you regularly stay in touch with colleagues and friends you might not have the chance to speak to outside of crossing paths in the office.
  • Know when to switch off: Lastly, it’s essential to switch off when your day ends, as letting work bleed into your home time can lead to feeling suffocated and unable to escape. While responding to messages and being available at home might be easier, remember to enjoy your free time, too.

Our online survey was commissioned by USA TODAY Blueprint and conducted by market research company OnePoll in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. It was conducted among 1,000 American white-collar workers from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 2024. The survey collected information on respondents’ age, gender, location, employment status, type of work, education and individual income. It also asked whether or not respondents worked at home, in a hybrid environment or in an office.

It also asked about the main benefits and drawbacks of working from home and whether a respondent’s career has been positively or negatively impacted by remote work, among other questions. We compiled these results to get a better picture of remote working in the United States, including productivity, how it affects employees’ physical and mental health and their attitudes about future job opportunities regarding working models.

The margin of error for this survey is plus or minus 3.1 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team — this team is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

We also used reputable sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, Gallup and Pew Research Center to further discuss remote work statistics as a whole. This, combined with our survey, gives readers a comprehensive overview of the status of remote working in the U.S.

Sources

  1. USA Today Blueprint – Remote working statistics survey (conducted by OnePoll).
  2. Upwork – Upwork Study Finds 22% of American Workforce Will Be Remote by 2025.
  3. Upwork – The Future of Remote Work.
  4. Pew Research Center – About a third of U.S. workers who can work from home now do so all the time.
  5. U.S. Census Bureau – DP03 Selected Economic Characteristics.
  6. McKinsey & Company – Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it.
  7. Owl Labs – State of Hybrid Work 2023.
  8. Quantum Workplace – The State of Remote Work.
  9. Resume Builder – 90% of Companies Will Return to Office By the End of 2024.
  10. Gallup – The Future of the Office Has Arrived: It’s Hybrid.
  11. Flex Index – The Flex Report.
  12. FlexJobs – Losing Talent to Return-to-Office Mandates: Insights From the FlexJobs Survey. 
  13. FlexJobs – Remote Work Statistics & Trends: The Latest in Remote Work.
  14. FlexJobs – Exploring the Impact of Remote Work on Mental Health and the Workplace. 

Originally Appeared Here

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer