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McKinsey and Co.’s analysis covered more than 2,000 activities in more than 800 occupations to identify which activities and occupations have the greatest potential for remote work.  According to their survey more than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. 


  • More than half the workforce has little or no opportunity for remote work.

The virus has broken through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.

  • Activities with the highest potential for remote work including updating knowledge and interacting with computers.

  • A hybrid model that combines some remote work with work in an office is possible for occupations with high remote work potential.

  • For individuals operating in different countries, much depends on the maturity and digitalization of the local economy. A researcher at Stanford University found that only 65 percent of Americans surveyed said they had fast enough internet service to support viable video calls, and in many parts of the developing world, the connectivity infrastructure is sparse or nonexistent.

In a separate McKinsey report produced by interviewing office space managers, reported that they expect a 36 percent increase in work-time outside their offices, up from the current 5 and 7 percent of work population that regularly works from home.

Is remote working ‘good for business?’

Some 41 percent of employees who responded to a McKinsey consumer survey in May said they were more productive working remotely than in the office.

That said, not everyone believes that the future of remote working is rosy. Amazon recently signed leases for a total of 900,000 feet of office space in six cities around the United States, citing the lack of spontaneity in virtual teamwork.


Ian Tomlin is a management consultant and writer on the subject of enterprise computing and organizational design.  He serves on the Workspend Management Team.  Ian has written several books on the subject of digital transformation, cloud computing, social operating systems, codeless applications development, business intelligence, data science, office security, customer data platforms, vendor management systems, Managed Service Provisioning (MSP), customer experience, and organizational design.  He can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter.