How Americans are embracing remote work across the country

In the spring of 2022, 25,000 Americans were asked about remote employment options and how they were embracing them by McKinsey and market research firm Ipsos.

Here are the most important findings from the third McKinsey’s American opportunity research:

1. Thirty-five percent of people with jobs can work from home full-time and 23% can work part-time.

Surprisingly, 58% of respondents who were employed said they had the option to work from home for part or all of the week.

35% of respondents say they can work remotely full-time. Another 23% can work from home one to four days a week. Only 13% of respondents who were working said they could work remotely at least occasionally, but chose not to.

The choice is not available to 41% of respondents who are employed. The reason for this could be that not all tasks can be completed remotely or that companies just want onsite employment. As employees seek flexibility, companies may need to look for ways to provide it to effectively compete for talent.

2. Almost everyone accepts the chance to work flexibly when presented.

Eighty-seven percent of workers who are given at least some remote work accept, working from home an average of three days a week. On average, people given full-time flexible work worked from home 3.3 days a week.

Suggested: 20 highest paying remote jobs in 2022

3. Most workers favor flexibility, but averages hide critical differences.

People of all genders, races, ages, educational backgrounds and income levels consistently agree on one thing: the vast majority of people who can work from home do. In reality, they simply want more flexibility: while 58% of respondents who are working now say they can work from home at least occasionally, 65% of those same respondents say they would be open to doing so consistently.

Opportunities, however, are not uniform: there was a big difference between the number of employed men who reported having been given remote work opportunities (61%) and women (52%). Across all income levels, younger workers were more likely than older workers to report having had the opportunity to work from home.

4. “Most industries support some flexibility, but digital workers demand it”.

The majority of individuals employed in the IT and math fields report having access to remote work opportunities and 77% say they would be willing to work entirely from home. Even those with lower overall work-from-home habits may find the technologists they hire need it given the rapid digital transformations taking place across industries.

5. Job hunters place great importance on the freedom to choose your own time and place to work.

The study asked participants whether they had recently looked for work or planned to do so soon. Unsurprisingly, the need for higher pay or more hours was the most frequent justification for job hunting, followed by the search for better career opportunities. The third most common justification was the desire for flexible working hours.

6. Flexible working employees report challenges in reaching their full potential.

Respondents were asked to list the challenges they faced in performing their roles efficiently in the survey. Those who worked in a flexible model were more likely to report multiple barriers, followed by those who worked entirely remotely and then those who worked in an office environment.

Some obstacles were cited to a much greater degree by some groups: For example, 55% of 18-34 year olds who were given the opportunity to work fully remotely said that mental health issues affected their ability to work effectively, while only 17 percent of people aged 55 to 64 said the same. Workers with children at home who were offered the option of full-time remote work were much more likely than their childless colleagues to say that physical health issues or a hostile work environment had a moderate or severe impact on their work.

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