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The New Remote Workforce

The typical workday looks far different from how it used to only a few decades ago. In the recent past, America’s workforce would have to wake up early and prepare for a long commute from the suburbs to the city. These commutes could sometimes take over an hour in the car or on public transportation, lengthening the average workday by quite a bit. The worker would arrive at the office, where they would work in cubicles surrounded by their co-workers or conduct meetings in office rooms. After a long work day, they would have to begin the trek back home, after which they would finally have the time to spend with their family.

This workday structure has completely changed since the technology has advanced to accommodate a work-from-home (WFH) lifestyle. When a worker is able to have a completely remote day, they are able to attend meetings and complete work all from the comfort of their home. The long commute to the office is eliminated on remote days, which 60% of remote employees cite about their favorite part of working from home. Other perks include reducing their spending on gas and lunch (44%), needing less time to get ready (38%), and having more free time to spend with family and friends (29%). The overall consensus is that there is much more balance between personal time and work with a remote or hybrid schedule.

Employers are also benefiting from the WFH schedule that has grown in prominence. There is less employee absenteeism because workers are able to conveniently log in and complete work no matter where they are, even if they are sick and not available to go into the office. In fact, there has been a 50% reduction in employee sick days that are taken. There has also been lower employee churn due to the better work-life balance that employees are able to maintain, which reduces the overall annual cost per employee by at least $20k. In addition to all of these benefits, companies are also seeing a sizable boost in productivity.

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Due to all of these documented benefits, a lot of companies have begun to integrate the work-from-home structure pretty heavily into their workforce. In 2023, 40% of employees in the United States work from home at least once a week. There are 12.7% of American employees who work primarily from the comfort of their home, perhaps going into the office only for special occasions. These numbers have drastically decreased since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when most people were required to stay and work from home to reduce the spread of the virus. Now that the threat of the pandemic has subsided quite a bit, not as many people are working from home as frequently, despite its growing popularity.

The amount of remote positions vary by state quite a bit within the United States. California has the most remote job postings of any state in the union, followed by states such as New York and Florida. However, in the midwest, remote work does not seem to have caught on too much; some states only have remote work making up 4% of their job postings. The same variety in remote or hybrid job distributions is reflected on a global scale as well. The majority of employees are onsite, at 66.5%. Hybrid employees make up a quarter of all workers and fully remote workers make up a small minority, at 7.5%. This percentage shows that the United States does seem to be well ahead of the global average in terms of hiring remote workers. These numbers will most likely continue to rise with the advancement of technology and growing societal acceptance.

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