While it may still be too early to announce the complete demise of the traditional full-time, in-office job, a new study adds evidence that it may be on life support.
About a third (32 percent) of employees around the globe are expected to work remotely by the end this year, almost double the amount in 2019 (17 percent), before the pandemic spurred the shift to telecommuting, according to a report by the research firm Gartner.
This number jumps to 51 percent for “knowledge workers,” defined by Gartner as people in “knowledge-intensive occupations,” such as accountants, engineers and writers.
Gartner qualifies remote workers as employees who work away from their company, government or customer site at least one full day a week (hybrid workers) or who work fully from home (fully remote workers).
“A hybrid workforce is the future of the work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimize employers’ workforce needs,” Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner, said in the report.
Tech giants lead the way in adopting remote strategy
In 2022, the U.S. is forecast to have the biggest remote workforce in the world, with 53 percent of employees telecommuting, followed by the U.K. (52 percent), Germany (37 percent) and France (33 percent), the report found.
In comparison, 28 percent of Chinese workers are forecast to work remotely next year, while 30 percent in India are expected to telecommute, the findings showed.
Evidence has been building that remote work will outlive the pandemic as more organizations announce plans to continue allowing remote or hybrid work even if it’s safe to return to the office.
Tech giant Apple, which had discouraged remote work pre-pandemic, announced in June that its new work policy would allow employees to telework two days a week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that remote work is “the future,” and told staff of the social-media company that they can all work from home forever, as long they get their manager’s approval.
Google will allow employees to work three days in the office and the remaining two “where they work best,” according to the nature of their responsibilities, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a post sent to the search-engine company’s staff in May.
The CEO expects 60 percent of Google’s employees to work on site, 20 percent from home and the remaining 20 percent will work in new locations around the globe, he said.
“Many companies will continue to operate in hybrid more [and] work from home will remain very critical,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings call, according to Apple Insider.
The Gartner report is music to most workers’ ears.
More than 70 percent of workers want to continue to work remotely, at least partially, even after it’s considered safe to return to the office, according to a 2021 work trend survey by Microsoft.