What’s Next for Remote Work?

Remote work will be here to stay post-pandemic, but more likely in advanced economies and in higher concentrations among workers in highly skilled roles and those who are highly educated, according to recent research from McKinsey & Company.

The report was based on an in-depth analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries conducted by McKinsey researchers (see the full methodology here).

Workers in the finance/insurance, management, professional/technical services, and IT/telecommunications industries could work remotely more than half the time with no productivity loss, the analysis found. Those sectors tend to have a significant share of workers with college degrees or higher.

On the other hand, workers in fields like agriculture, accommodation, and food service currently have little potential for remote work without loss of productivity.

Because advanced economies tend to have a greater share of workers in fields such as financial services, their workforces have higher potential for remote work, the analysis found.

In emerging economies, employment tends to be skewed toward occupations that require physical and manual activities, reducing opportunities for remote work.

The differences in workforce composition mean the potential for remote work varies significantly from country to country.

For example, in the United States, 22% of employees could work remotely 3-5 days a week without affecting productivity, whereas only 5% could do so in India, the analysis found.

About the research: The report was based on an in-depth analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries.


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