Remote Work & Digital Nomads Study 2018

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The anywhere office

Telecommuting is no longer just self-led. More than 23% of remote workers we surveyed said their employer’s organization is fully distributed.

Businesses big and small are jumping on the ‘flexible work’ bandwagon and recognizing the value of sourcing quality workers from anywhere. Companies like Invision, Stack Overflow, Toptal, and Zapier boast fully remote workforces, with many other organizations starting to realize the value of allowing workers to ‘telecommute’ as necessary.

55% of respondents were fully remote and 43% are partially remote.

55% of respondents were fully remote and 43% are partially remote.

The anywhere office

I feel like remote work is a baby concept, and the markets haven’t realized the huge swaths of people moving that direction.

The new nomads

Those who’ve worked remotely for under a year are more likely to have gone remote in order to combine work & travel (11% vs 6.5% of those who’ve worked remotely for 7yrs+).

Combining work and travel is certainly a lifestyle trend that’s increasing in popularity, with new remote workers also more likely to be generally working from a foreign country. Interestingly, women were slightly more likely to have gone remote so they could ‘live the nomad lifestyle’ (11% vs 8% male).

The new nomads

Slack is the new office

As the need to visit (or even have) a physical office reduces, reliance on tools to keep in touch increases.

44% of respondents claimed real-time communication tools are most vital for helping them stay connected.

Engineers were most likely to cite real-time communication tools like Slack as most critical, while marketing pros were more likely to choose video chat services as their top tool.

Slack is the new office

Remotes get pay raises too

Experience pays when you’re remote just as it would for any worker; the longer you work remotely, the more likely you are to be bringing in the Benjamins.

While 7% of workers who’ve been remote for under a year earn over 100k, this number jumps to 18% for those who’ve worked remotely for 7 years or more. US-based remote workers were more likely to earn six figures than international remote workers (14% vs 8%).

Remotes get pay raises too

The gender gap has no borders

There’s a remote work pay gap: Men are more likely to earn six figures than women (13% vs. 8%).

This is partly to do with differences in the industries that men and women are more likely to work in.

Men are much more likely to work in the top earning profession, Engineering ( 16.45% vs just 1.6% female), while women are more likely to work in Marketing / PR (18.6% vs 11.62% male).

Earnings by gender The gender gap has no borders

The cash is in the code

Engineers outearn other professions, with 19% earning $100,000 per year or more as a remote worker.

11% of Marketing pros and 8% of Creatives earn over $100k. Engineers were also more likely to say they went remote for a specific opportunity (10% vs. the 6% average).

The cash is in the code

Income by profession

Too close to home

A third of remote workers say their top productivity blocker is having trouble shutting down at the end of a work day.

Engineers were least likely to cite “overwork” as a detriment to their productivity (29%) and most likely to cite inefficient meetings as a top blocker (23% vs. 17% average).

Self-motivated: Fewer than 7% cited not having a manager present as a top productivity-blocker.

Too close to home

Work and wander

The vast majority of remote workers chose this life for the freedom and flexibility, although this means different things to different people.

About 9% of respondents chose to go remote so they could live the nomad life. Marketing pros were most likely to cite the desire to travel more as a reason for becoming a remote worker (11%), and Creatives were most likely to cite freedom and the flexibility to work from wherever they choose (65%).

Engineers were most likely to say they went remote to pursue a unique opportunity (10% vs. the 6% average), and also more likely to cite convenience as the number one benefit.

Work and wander

One is a lonely number

30% of respondents said a lack of community challenges their remote happiness most.

Newbies (those who’ve been remote for under a year) were more likely to be experiencing loneliness (33%). Those who’d worked remotely for over 7 years seemed to have overcome feeling left out, but were more likely to overwork themself (33%). Creatives were more likely to cite lack of career advancement opportunities as a challenge (25% vs. 22% of engineers and 20% of marketers).

One is a lonely number

The only downside to working remotely can be the lack of human connection… Between all the project management and Slack messages, how can we make more valuable connections with our teammates and empower smart decisions TOGETHER?

The global citizens are here

24% of respondents describe themselves as digital nomads; 17% of those travel to 5+ countries a year.

Companies are becoming more global alongside this globalized workforce: 39.3% of remote workers are employed by global companies.

Remote work knows no borders: Just over half (57%) of respondents came from the US, but others were spread across Kenya, Myanmar, Slovakia, Australia, India, The Philippines, Venezuela, Indonesia, Colombia, Romania, Dominican Republic, Canada, and many, many more countries.

The global citizens are here

The trials of travel

Working while roaming isn’t always easy; perhaps that’s why the large majority (83%) of workers still generally work from their home country.

As more and more workers go remote, there are new challenges created for the global workforce. 1-in-5 remote workers blame time zone discrepancies for productivity troubles, and many cite problems with infrastructure not currently being up to scratch.

47% of remote workers believe there’s whitespace for more tools to help them with managing their work.

The trials of travel

Remote time makes the heart grow fonder

The longer you work remotely, the more you love it.

Those who’ve worked remotely for 7+ years were far more likely to intend on working remotely forever than those who are freshly remote (0-1yrs). Respondents who’ve worked remotely for under a year are more likely (9%) to find it difficult to stay motivated without a boss looking over their shoulder than long-term remotes (4%).

Remote time makes the heart grow fonder

Forever anywhere

Remote working is gaining popularity and it’s here to stay. 73% of remote workers are new to the game, having gone remote in the last 4 years.

Nearly 80% of respondents want to work remotely as long as possible; only 4% are doing so on a temporary basis.

Creatives and Marketing professionals were more likely to say they wanted to work remotely indefinitely (80% vs. 76% of engineers), while Engineers were more likely to consider going back to the office.

Forever anywhere

All the results

We’ve given you a snapshot of the most interesting insights from the survey in this report, but the detail-oriented amongst you may prefer to access all the details of the data – which you can do right here. Take a look.

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