How rare is remote work in healthcare?

Many workers desire the ability to work remotely, even if they only get the option a few days a week. Flexibility allows people to maintain the work-life balance some developed during the pandemic — and in a high-burnout field like healthcare, balance can be crucial. But how much off-site work can be done by healthcare practitioners, many of whom are required to care for patients in person? 

As it turns out, a fair amount of healthcare workers work remotely — both in support roles and technical, practitioner jobs, according to recent data from McKinsey & Co. The firm's third edition American Opportunity Survey questioned 25,000 U.S. workers, including those in the healthcare industry. 

Forty-five percent of healthcare support employees work remotely, according to the survey. Thirty-one percent do so full time, and 14 percent do so part time, averaging 2.8 remote work days per week. 

Forty-three percent of healthcare practitioners and technical workers surveyed said they work remotely at least sometimes. Twenty-seven percent do so full time and 16 percent do so part time, averaging 2.6 remote work days per week. 

Healthcare professions were still on the lower end of remote work options compared to other occupations. On the upper side of the spectrum, 89 percent of computer and mathematical workers, 86 percent of business and financial workers, and 82 percent of architectural and engineering workers said they work remotely at least sometimes.

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