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Remote work in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Motivated by a variety of reasons, many Americans have left the office and begun to work from home. Improved methods of communication and virtual cooperation have made it possible for more workers to be productive while remaining at home. Depending on the industry, employers can hire someone from anywhere in the country as long as they have access to a reliable internet connection. With these capabilities, both workers and employers have started to find the benefits of a switch to remote work.

Among those that have made the switch, many workers have found a positive change to various aspects of their life, such as an increase in their personal finances, job satisfaction, and even their physical health. In some cases, workers report that being home and around the family, pets, and the comforts of home provides too many distractions from their responsibilities to the office. While these employees have struggled to keep their family, phone, or Netflix at bay during work hours, many find the remote environment to be more conducive for productivity and have seen an improvement in their performance on the job; a factor that makes remote work more appealing to employers.

However, the potential to work from home, nor the appeal of doing so, is not shared equally among the population. Remote work tends to be populated by those who are working higher paid jobs and have received some level of higher education. Additionally, the majority of employees that worked from home in the United states were white. As access to a computer, and a proficiency with one, is a necessity for remote work, age is also factor when determining who is most likely to work from home or stay in the office. Yet one of the largest differences between the number of people that remote work or not is the industry. Professional and business services have a large number of people working from home as do education and health services.

Of course, there are some occupations that are not capable of accommodating remote work, primarily among blue-collar jobs. However, an increase in remote work opportunities could mean that more jobs will not need to be in metropolitan centers and many office type positions will be able to move to more rural destinations. A transition such as this provides not only more jobs, but more employment opportunities to those in low-cost areas that would otherwise be unable to accept such positions and help with the unemployment in the United States. With more jobs, more savings, and increases in productivity, remote work can be a positive contribution to the nation’ s economy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, a mass exodus of jobs went the remote work route. The need to quarantine has provided the incentive for more employers to allow their staff to work from the comfort of their own homes. Many industries were forced to stop operations or furlough their employees when the pandemic slowed down the economy, but for many occupations the coronavirus outbreak simply meant that the work would need to be done remotely. However, many of these new telecommuters feel that it has changed their workload. Working from home during a pandemic can have its own unique challenges and stresses. Although, there are some that have enjoyed the new working conditions enough that they would like to continue working from home permanently. With no end to the pandemic in sight, and many employers abstaining from announcing return to work dates, they may just have to continue with remote work on a long-term basis whether they want to or not.


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