As more U.S. adults receive COVID vaccinations and case numbers decrease, more offices and businesses will consider reopening for “as usual” work. But a significant amount of workers continue to work remotely, and 70% of employed adults are interested in working from home at least part time. Who are the current remote workers and what do they like? This segment of the population tends to be middle-aged, wealthier, and more suburban—but their consumer and spending habits may surprise you.
Employed adults between the ages of 35 and 54 make up a large segment of remote workers (44%), but only account for 33% of U.S. adults. Adults 65 and older, on the other hand, make up a full one-fifth of the U.S. adult population, while understandably only accounting for 8% of remote workers.
Working remotely tends to favor the educated, the affluent, and the suburban, too. If you want to work from home, chances are you’ll need college credentials: 76% of remote workers have at least a bachelor’s degree, while only 8% of the remote workforce has no college experience.
Incredibly, half of the remote workforce in 2021 comprises adults who earn more than $100K every year—only 29% of the U.S. population. Less surprisingly then is the fact that almost three-fourths of remote workers own their own home. And, though only 44% of U.S. adults live in the suburbs, 56% of remote workers live there. Walk down any suburban street and a little over half of its workers are behind one of their windows, typing away.
Technology and Social Media
It should come as no surprise that remote workers, who tend to rely on their laptops and devices to work from home, are savvier with and more interested in technology than the average American adult. They are more likely to follow tech trends, own or want a smartwatch, use an eReader, and admit they are addicted to digital devices, with 65% of them saying so. They are also more active in promoting products by writing positive reviews, with 74% doing so.
Influence for themselves, however, is another matter. Though they tend to use social media more than “as usual” workers and the general population, gravitating especially to Facebook and Twitter, they report being less influenced by it. For instance, 30% of remote workers say they are influenced by social media for general purchases, compared to 34% of the general adult population, and they appear a bit less under its sway for other categories as well, like food and clothing. Perhaps using technology and social media more makes them less prone to its advertising tactics, or, being more entrenched in it, they simply don’t realize they are being influenced by it as much as the rest of the population does.
Money and Finances
Interestingly, remote workers consider themselves to be more informed consumers than the average adult, despite being less price conscious when it comes to many goods, from food and clothing to electronics and health and beauty products. They describe themselves as diligent savers, dine out less frequently—an offshoot of working from home, possibly—and tend to monitor their finances more closely, too.
Here, technology plays a role too: 71% of remote workers bank online frequently, as opposed to 59% of “as usual” workers and 57% of the general population. Sixty-nine percent of remote workers also use mobile devices for banking, nine percentage points higher than the general population.
Social and Political Causes
But remote workers aren’t simply banking all these finances and commuter savings for themselves. They donate far more to causes than “as usual” workers and the general population, especially when it comes to the arts, health, education, and the environment.
Environmental consciousness is noticeably high with remote workers. Forty-seven percent are very concerned about climate change, compared to only 32% of “as usual” workers and 38% of average adults. Perhaps for this reason more remote workers buy organic food than the general population (39% to 28%), and the majority (71%) adjust their lifestyle to help the environment.
Ultimately, remote workers have higher incomes and more engagement and interest in technology and social media. But they’re savvy about the digital terrain and consider themselves shrewd consumers as well, willing not just to read (or write) product reviews but to go into stores to investigate products and prices themselves.