According to a new survey from management consultancy McKinsey, 58 percent of American workers now have the ability to work at least one day a week from wherever they want, while 35 percent can work remotely up to five days a week. The report concludes that flexible work arrangements introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are lasting.
“After more than two years of observing telecommuting and predicting that flexible working would persist beyond the acute phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, we consider this data confirmation that a major shift has occurred in the working world and in society itself,” the report reads.
The survey found that when given the choice, 87 percent of employees embraced the opportunity to work remotely and spent an average of three days a week at home. That means 92 million U.S. workers have the ability to work remotely, and 80 million currently do so at least part-time, when extrapolating the survey data to the entire U.S. population. 41 percent of those surveyed say they have no option to work remotely.
High-income educated people had the most opportunities to work remotely, according to McKinsey. And men were given more opportunities to work remotely (61 percent) than women (52 percent). 47 percent of people earning between $25,000 and $49,000 had remote work opportunities, compared to 75 percent for those earning more than $150,000.
Flexible work arrangements also vary by profession and role, of course. 89 percent of people working in computer and math professions have remote work capabilities, while that number drops to just 29 percent for food preparation and manufacturing work. Surveyed job seekers prioritize flexible work arrangements behind only pay and career opportunities.
The online survey surveyed 25,000 Americans ages 18 and older. But because it was conducted online, McKinsey admits the research could be biased against lower-income, less-educated and rural people, as these groups are often underrepresented on the Internet. The company tried to overcome every possible bias with weighted models.