58% of Americans Can Now Work From Home

Close to 9/10 Americans will take advantage of flexible working arrangements if their workplace offers it.
Aaron Drapkin

Almost two-thirds of Americans now have the option to work from home at least once a week, according to a recent survey.

This is hardly a huge shock, given the rise of video conferencing software and other remote tools in workplaces across the nation, since the start of the pandemic.

Perhaps more surprising is that 35% of the US labor force have even more freedom: the option to work from home five days a week.

Plus, data shows a diverse the range of industries and sectors can now be found working remotely, from food prep to farming. The working-from-home boom has extended to all corners of the economy.

Americans Love Working From Home

The third edition of McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey involved collecting data from over 25,000 Americans in Hawaii, Alaska, and the continental United States.

Graph showing results from the McKinsey 2022 American Opportunity survey

One of the stand-out figures from the report is that, when offered flexible or remote working arrangements, 87% of workers say yes. This illustrates how difficult it will be for companies to hire new staff without that option.

“The flexible working world was born of a frenzied reaction to a sudden crisis but has remained as a desirable job feature for millions” – McKinsey

When respondents were asked about the motivating factors that would lead to them to seeking a new job, “flexible working arrangements” came third, behind only “better career opportunities” and “greater pay or hours”.

This means that when candidates are choosing between two financially identical job offers, their decision is likely to be swung by the working arrangements on offer.

Extrapolating from the survey results, McKinsey estimates that 92 million workers are now in jobs where they’ve been offered flexible work, and 80 million workers are engaged in it.

Working From Home Is Here to Stay – Whatever Your Industry

As Mckinsey point out, the option to work from home now features “in every part of the country and sector of the economy, including traditionally labeled “blue-collar” jobs that might be expected to demand on-site labor as well as “white collar” professions.

Graph showing results from the McKinsey 2022 American Opportunity survey

20% of full-time transportation/material staff, for instance, reported that they could work from home, while a further 9% of part-time employees in the industry said they had remote working availability.

14% of full-time food preparation workers said there was the option to work from home at least some of the time, whilst 15% of part-timers in the same industry said they could do so part-time.

Other sectors with surprising numbers of workers reporting remote working availability included farming, fishing, and building.

Digital Transformation: No Going Back Now

Amid the bleak days of lockdown, when huge swathes of the workforce suddenly were forced to work remotely, the question of whether such a drastic change to working habits would stick – and whether it would mean less work is completed – was a profoundly open one.

One of the key reasons this move is becoming permanent is that the uptake of remote-working technology is facilitating success. We’ve all gotten used to using video conferencing from the comfort of our own homes, for example, and we all understand the benefits and limitations of technology like this, so it seems we’re more than happy to continue using it.

Other tech that's being brought in to aid the transition to hybrid working includes project management software to support streamlined workflows and VoIP software to replace physical office phones.

No working arrangement is perfect, and there are going to be pros and cons to how you organize your team or business. But this survey is clear: if you’re not offering flexible working arrangements in 2022, the chances are, you’re going to get left behind.

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Aaron Drapkin is a Senior Writer at Tech.co. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol three years ago. As a writer, Aaron takes a special interest in VPNs and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, The Week, and Politics.co.uk covering a wide range of topics.

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