10 Insane Stats About Digital Nomads & Remote Work Trends

Telecommuter. Digital nomad. Remote worker.

Whatever label you put on, a whole lot of workers are ditching the office — trading them in for the freedom and flexibility of working wherever they choose.

No, the traditional workplace isn’t dead — but it’s certainly starting to show its age. Meanwhile, the mobile workplace is chugging along — with more members joining its ranks year after year.

Want to join us? Check out the Workationing Facebook group, which offers support, advice and LOLs for current and aspiring digital nomads. But anyway, back to the stats.

Whether they work from home, in a coffee shop or on the beach, remote workers are revolutionizing the way employees and companies approach business. Here are 10 remote work statistics that show just how thoroughly digital nomads have reshaped and continue to transform the economy.

1. 70% of All Workers Telecommute

At least some of the time, that is.

According to a study from remote workspace provider IWG, 70% of all workers telecommute at least one day per week, and 53% work from home (or elsewhere) at least half the week.

Moreover, that statistic is global, not just for the U.S.

70% of workers #telecommute at least 1x per week and 53% work remote at least half the week, per an @IWG_plc study. Click To Tweet

2. 50% of the Workforce Will Be Remote by 2020

If you’ve ever dreamed of working from the beach — or maybe just your back porch — you’re in good company.

One remote work statistic taken from a Citrix study shows that 50% of the workforce will be office-free by 2020.

Current digital nomads are clearly ahead of the curve, it’s clear that a whole lot of people will be joining us soon enough. Likewise, it’s clear that once workers get a taste of working from home (or wherever) it’s hard to go back to the traditional office.

According to a @Citrix report, 50% of the workforce will be remote by 2020. #remotework Click To Tweet

3. Women Are Leading the Way for Remote Work

The post-World War II economy took women from the home to the office, but it didn’t land them in the boardroom. Motherhood was (and is) one of the biggest obstacles for women when it comes to advancing in their career, keeping up with their colleagues, and landing promotions. To be blunt, it’s easy to see why there’s still a wage gap.

A 2018 study looking at data spanning 1980 to 2013 showed that the gender wage gap widened with each child — even in Scandinavian countries with generous family leave policies. After a woman’s first baby, earnings dropped by 30% and never rebounded.

Digital nomads are changing this. According to research by Remote.co, nearly 30% of remote work companies were either founded by women or have a female CEO.

Nearly 30% of #remotework companies were either founded by women or have a female CEO. #FutureOfWork Click To Tweet

By contrast, just 17% of startups in the overall business community have a female founder. In this area, the statistics for digital nomads show that remote work gives female entrepreneurs an edge.

I’m a proud example of this – in addition to co-hosting the Workationing podcast, I also own The Content Factory, a digital PR agency that represents several national brands. My employees are spread out all over the US (or wherever…I’m currently typing this from Amsterdam).

I’ve become an evangelist for the digital nomad/remote work lifestyle, and have written several thought pieces on the subject, like this one on how ditching the office made me a better boss and this one on the 500+ advantage that comes with working remotely.

4. 1 in 3 Workers Are Freelancers

Almost as soon as the term “gig economy” entered the lexicon, people started trying to measure how big it is — and if it will ever eclipse traditional employment arrangements.

It’s safe to say that the days of working in a factory for 40 years and then collecting a comfortable pension are long gone, but just how prevalent is the gig economy? What percentage of the total U.S. workforce is non-traditional?

There are a lot of opinions about that, and just as many disagreements. Part of the reason the stats have been all over the place is that the federal government has never conducted an in-depth study on the issue.

That’s changing, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in 2018 that it’s launching a study to look at how many contingent and contract workers make up the overall workforce.

For now, however, surveys can tell us a lot about the state of the gig economy. According to a 2018 report by online investment company Betterment, 1 in 3 workers are freelancers. With companies like Uber and Fiverr experiencing rapid growth, this number is likely to increase. By 2020, companies like Intuit predict the gig economy will make up about 43% of the workforce.

The #GigEconomy will make up about 43% of the workforce by 2020, @Intuit predicts. Click To Tweet

5. The Remote Workforce Has Grown by 140% Since 2005

Need a statistic that proves remote work is the way of the future? Look no further than the past. Global Workplace Analytics says the remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005.

Additionally, a growing number of employers are recognizing the advantages of remote work, with 40% more companies offering flexible working arrangements than employers five years ago.

The remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005, according to Global Workplace Analytics. #DigitalNomad Click To Tweet

6. Digital Nomads Are 13% More Productive Than Their In-Office Counterparts

When some people picture a digital nomad, they imagine a millennial in pajama pants on their sofa, surfing channels and playing on the internet. This image isn’t just inaccurate — it prevents employers from reaping the benefits of the remote workforce.

Not only does embracing flexible work arrangements allow employers to target an almost unlimited talent pool, research shows it actually makes workers more productive. A Stanford University study conducted over nine months reveals that remote workers took fewer sick days and were 13% more productive than their in-office counterparts.

Far from being pajama pant-wearing slackers with Dorito fingers, digital nomads are committed and trustworthy employees. According to a survey from virtual training and web conferencing company Coso Cloud, 23 percent of remote workers said they’re willing to put in extra hours to accomplish their work-related tasks.

#Productivity hack: work from home. #DigitalNomads take fewer sick days and are 13% more productive, a @Stanford study finds. Click To Tweet

7. More and More U.S. Companies Are Going 100% Remote

For some companies, remote work isn’t just a perk — it’s the whole enchilada. According to Gallup’s comprehensive State of the American Workplace Report, 170 of U.S. companies surveyed reported being fully remote, with no physical office space. This is an increase from just 26 companies in 2014.

This trend is making its way through a number of industries, from software as a service (SaaS) providers to app-based businesses and tech companies. And it’s not just tech firms that are seeing the benefits of going remote. When FlexJobs analyzed the top 50 career fields for remote work, it found opportunities in healthcare, hospitality, travel and education.

With collaborative tools like Slack, Dropbox and remote conferencing — and a workforce eager to use them — businesses are finding they no longer need a brick and mortar locations to thrive. There are other major benefits for employers who opt to go remote, including having a wider talent pool to choose from.

More companies are realizing that #RemoteWork saves money: @Slack & @Dropbox have way less overhead than a physical office. Click To Tweet

8. 1/3 of Workers Would Change Jobs for Remote Work Opportunities

Remote work statistics show why companies that refuse to adapt could end up sabotaging themselves in the long run.

Gallup’s research reveals that one-third of workers would switch jobs if it meant getting a chance to work a more flexible, remote schedule. A study from global research and advisory firm Gartner states that companies that permit remote work arrangements increase employee retention rates by 10%.

I see this in my business, too. We have incredibly low employee turnover at The Content Factory.

Remote work options also top the list of benefits people look for most often when searching for a new job. According to Employee Benefits News, 35% of job seekers want full-time flexible work locations, and 37% want something that offers at least part-time remote work flexibility.

1/3 of workers would switch jobs to work a more flexible, #remote schedule, according to @GallupNews. Click To Tweet

9. Digital Nomads Save Up to $7,000 a Year – Or More

Estimates vary depending on an individual’s location and lifestyle, but digital nomads are definitely keeping more of their salaries than their in-office counterparts.

The reason? Working from home means cutting a wide range of costs that go along with commuting to an office. Personal financial site DoughRoller breaks it down.

  • Transportation – Commutes vary, but the average American worker travels around 26 miles one way, and over half a million people spend up to three hours each day just getting to and from work.Whether you own a car or take the train, you’re paying something to get where you’re going. For a 30-mile round trip commute in a typical car, gas and maintenance will cost an estimated $2,628 each year.
  • Clothing – Although many offices have switched to a casual dress policy over the years, the reality is that yoga pants and t-shirts generally don’t cut it in a professional environment.When you’re behind a computer screen, however, it doesn’t matter what you wear. Right now I’m wearing a leopard print bathrobe, and you can’t even tell! Considering the typical U.S. household spends $1,740 on clothing each year, you can save a lot on clothes, haircuts and accessories by staying out of the office.
  • Food – No matter how many times you resolve to plan your meals ahead and pack healthy lunches, working in an office often means crashing your diet and shelling out a lot of unnecessary cash for fast food, vending machine breaks and after-work shindigs. A 2012 survey found that an average worker spends about $1,000 a year on coffee and $2,000 on lunches.
  • Child CareFederal government reports state that child care costs average between $4,600 to $15,000 annually for full-time care. While working remotely doesn’t always completely remove the need for child care, it can often reduce the cost considerably, as remote workers tend to have more flexible schedules.

For many digital nomads, working remotely offers other savings benefits and earning potential. For instance, without the pressures of commuting to an office or working a strict set of hours each day, some employees are able to take on side gigs that bring in extra cash.

And because being a remote worker means your job search isn’t limited by location, many digital nomads earn more than they could in their immediate geographical area. Several remote jobs offer salaries of $75,000 or more.

Of course, you can’t really put a price on your time. When your commute consists of walking from your bedroom to your kitchen table or home office, and you don’t have to spend hours ironing work clothes and doing your hair, you realize just how liberating a digital nomad lifestyle can be.

How much money can you save by switching to #RemoteWork? About $2,000-$7,000, per @Doughroller. Click To Tweet

10. Companies Can Save Up to $11,000 Per Employee Per Year

It costs a lot to run a business with a physical location. In places like Manhattan and Boston, commercial rent will run you $153 and $75 per square foot per year, respectively. That’s before you’ve paid an electric bill or purchased a single computer. Add in things like office supplies, property insurance and break room refrigerators, and it’s easy to see how the cost of doing business can end up stifling companies who stick with a brick-and-mortar office.

By hiring remote workers, however, companies can save big. The Global Workplace Analytics report states that employers who allow employees to work from anywhere can save up to $11,000 per year per employee.

It’s no wonder that some of the biggest corporations in the world are embracing remote work. Companies like Apple, Xerox, Amazon and JetBlue all offer positions for digital nomads — and it’s likely more will join them in the future.

Companies can save up to $11K per employee per year AND boost #productivity by switching to #RemoteWork. Click To Tweet

Need Help Finding Remote Work and Going Digital Nomad?

For a growing number of people, remote work isn’t just a dream — it’s a necessity. Whether you long to ditch your commute, or you want to escape the confines of a 9-to-5 schedule, becoming a digital nomad can be a great way to achieve work-life balance and optimize your life overall.

If you’re looking to break into the digital nomad lifestyle, check out the Workationing Facebook group, which is a great resource for both current and aspiring digital nomads.

If you need help finding remote work, we’ve got you covered – our Remote Work Starter Kit has already helped several people break into freelancing, and comes with a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee.

An image link to The Remote Work Starter Kit product page shows a woman on a beach holding a laptop

If you need help developing the skills necessary to qualify for high-paying remote work, we can also help you out – you can catch our full list of online training courses and guides here.

Just want some company on your travels? Check out the Workationing podcast – we’re great company on long flights. The link goes to Spotify, but we’re also on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, YouTube and wherever else you catch your favorite ‘casts.

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  1. While I’m not traveling yet, I am freelance and I am looking forward to a time when traveling is part of the plan. Particularly, as my kids grow older and start to move away and build their own lives and take their own paths in different directions, I look forward to being able to visit them and be part of their journeys without being tied to a work schedule.

    1. So awesome to hear, Loretta! Get on “out here” – you’re going to love the life flexibility and optimization remote work brings to the table. Have you heard The Workationing Podcast yet? You might get some kicks (and inspiration) out of it.

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