New Data Shows US Workers are Embracing Flexible Work Arrangements

June 27, 2022

New data released from the McKinsey American Opportunity Survey sheds light on how many workers are offered the option to work from home, who works in flexible arrangement, and how they feel about flexible work overall. 

McKinsey surveyed just over 25,000 Americans in spring 2022 to better understand the ongoing trends in flexible work arrangements, how many workers have access to and are taking advantage of flexible work options, and the implications for the long-term future of flexible work and organizational adoption of flexible work. 

The most interesting finding to emerge from this research is that 58 percent of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week. Thirty-five percent of respondents report having the option to work from home for five days a week. What makes these numbers particularly notable is that respondents work in all kinds of jobs, in every part of the country and sector of the economy, including traditionally labeled “blue collar” jobs that might be expected to require on-site working and attendance, as well as professional type positions that are usually office-based. 

Another of the survey’s important findings: when people have the chance to work flexibly, 87 percent of them take advantage of the opportunity. This finding is consistent across age demographics, occupations and roles, and geographies. The flexible working world was born of a rapid, knee-jerk reaction to a crisis brought on by the global pandemic but has remained a desirable job feature for millions of workers. This represents a significant shift in where, when, and how Americans want to work and are working. 

Other key findings from the McKinsey American Opportunity Survey include: 

  • Although 58 percent of employed respondents say they can work from home at least part of the time, 65 percent of employed respondents say they would be willing to do so all the time 
  • For jobs in technology, the vast majority of employed people in computer and mathematical occupations report having remote-work options (89%), and 77 percent report being willing to work fully remotely. 
  • Finally, survey respondents indicated that the third-most-popular reason for seeking new employment opportunities was looking for a flexible working arrangement, behind only increased pay, and improved career opportunities. 

The results of the American Opportunity Survey reflect significant changes in the US workforce, including the equivalent of 92 million workers offered flexible work, 80 million workers engaged in flexible work, and many respondents citing a search for flexible work arrangements as a major driver to seeking a new job. 

Competition for high performers and in-demand technology professionals necessitate that employers understand how much flexibility the talent pool is accustomed to having and expects moving forward Employers will be compelled to invest in technology, adapt mew policies, and train managers and employees to create workplaces that integrate people working remotely, in a hybrid scheme, and on-site. 

Over time, the full impact of flexible working arrangements will be better understood. Meanwhile, these data give US employers and HR leaders early insights into how the working world is evolving. 

Thanks to McKinsey for publishing this important data on the new ways of working emerging from the pandemic.

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