The Rapid Growth of Remote Work: 27 Statistics and Trends for Small Businesses in 2024

As a consultant who assists startups and small businesses, I‘ve seen remote work evolve from a fringe perk to a necessary way of doing business. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated existing trends as companies adapted out of necessity. For small business owners and entrepreneurs still deciding whether to embrace remote work, the data makes a persuasive case.

Surging Demand for Remote Jobs

Pre-pandemic in 2018, 44% of companies had no remote work options. [1] That figure has dropped precipitously. Owl Labs found that 16% of companies are now 100% remote, while 40% offer a hybrid model. [2]

Employees overwhelmingly favor flexibility. In one survey, 74% said they would quit their current job for a remote position. [3] As a small business owner, you simply can‘t afford the costs of high turnover. Offering remote work options can attract top talent who value flexibility.

Remote job postings on LinkedIn have skyrocketed over 300% from 2020 to 2021. [4] I‘ve seen this demand firsthand consulting with startups looking to hire remotely. The talent pool is far wider when location is not a limitation.

Measurable Productivity Benefits

Studies consistently show remote employees are more productive:

  • 77% of remote workers report higher productivity. [5]
  • Remote workers gain back 50+ hours per year without commuting. [6]
  • Stanford University found a 13% performance boost for remote employees. [7]

I‘ve seen these productivity gains with my own clients. Without distractions or office politics, workers can focus intently during their most productive hours. The flexibility also leads to higher morale and engagement.

Remote Work Is Here to Stay

Despite some resistance, remote work has crossed the chasm of mainstream acceptance:

  • 74% of CFOs moved employees to permanent remote work after the pandemic. [8]
  • 85% of hiring managers believe remote work will keep growing. [9]
  • 25% of all professional jobs are now fully remote. [10]

In my experience, small companies recognize remote work as a new norm, not a temporary fix. With proper implementation, you can build an effective remote workforce for the long haul.

Implementation Challenges

However, remote work does come with hurdles like communication struggles (55% of managers cite this challenge [11]), potential distractions at home, and feelings of isolation (affecting 19% of remote workers [12]).

Data security is also a concern, given 31% of companies lack sufficient cybersecurity measures for remote workers. [13] I advise clients to invest in cybersecurity training and software like virtual private networks (VPN) to keep data safe.

The Bottom Line

The data presents a persuasive case that remote work is here to stay. Small businesses who embrace it can expand their talent pool and boost productivity. With proper planning around communication, cybersecurity and company culture, remote work can give small companies a competitive edge. Feel free to reach out if you need help implementing a remote work plan tailored to your unique needs and challenges.

Sources:

[1] Owl Labs
[2] Owl Labs
[3] HRDive
[4] LinkedIn
[5] Airtasker
[6] Global Workplace Analytics
[7] Stanford University
[8] Gartner
[9] TECLA
[10] Ladders
[11] IBM
[12] Buffer
[13] Cybertalk