Remote nation: Nearly 6 in 10 Americans now work from home

NEW YORK — Like the dinosaurs, working in an office may soon be a thing of the past. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the business world — including the idea that people need to work 9 to 5 in an office cubicle to be productive. Fast-forward to 2022 and a new survey finds more than half of adults in the United States are doing some form of remote work.

According to global management consulting group McKinsey & Company, how Americans want to work and where they want to do it seem to be of high value in the modern working world.

The group’s American Opportunity Survey polled 25,000 American workers in the spring of 2022 on their current job flexibility — whether it’s working part-time in the office or being fully remote. Nearly six in 10 (58%) say they’re able to work from home at least one day a week. Another 35 percent work from home for the entire week. Only 13 percent say they could work remotely but choose not to do so.

Not everyone gets the option from their boss

Being able to work remotely is an opportunity almost every job sector now makes available — even “blue-collar” jobs that many still think requires an on-site presence at all times. However, 41 percent of survey respondents say they don’t have a choice in whether they work remotely or not. This may be because not all jobs can be done remotely, or their employers demand on-site work.

Workers were more likely to demand full-time or part-time remote work if working in a digital or tech space using computers and mathematics. The second sector is working in business or financial operations. Workers in food preparation, food service, production, or protective services were the least likely to demand or receive any type of work flexibility.

The survey also revealed that if companies offered a work-from-home option, 87 percent of American employees would take it. This was regardless of demographics, occupations, and geographies.

Moreover, some people have quit their jobs over having to return to the office. The survey found a flexible working arrangement as the third most popular reason people started job hunting or left their job during the pandemic. The other top reasons included wanting more pay or better hours and finding better career opportunities.

Despite a yearning to work from home, the survey did point out that people faced more obstacles to working effectively. Some of these barriers include having to manage children at the same time and their phones becoming more of a distraction.

About the Author

Jocelyn Solis-Moreira

Jocelyn is a New York-based science journalist whose work has appeared in Discover Magazine, Health, and Live Science, among other publications. She holds a Master’s of Science in Psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience and a Bachelor’s of Science in integrative neuroscience from Binghamton University. Jocelyn has reported on several medical and science topics ranging from coronavirus news to the latest findings in women’s health.

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