Who's actually working remotely? Not Gen Z, study finds

Generation Z is the age group flipping the workforce by demanding flexible work arrangements — or so the narrative goes. But recent data shows that older workers, not younger ones, are most likely to reap fully remote jobs. 

The report comes from WFH Research, a project out of Stanford (Calif.) University, the University of Chicago, Cambridge, Mass.-based MIT and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City. Researchers analyze data from the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, a monthly survey of 2,500 to 10,000 U.S. residents between ages 20 and 64 who earned more than $10,000 the year prior. 

Data from March showed that 50- to 64-year-olds were most likely to hold a fully remote job — however, they were significantly more likely to work fully on-site than younger generations, illustrating a disinterest in hybrid positions. Across all age groups, fully on-site work remains the most common arrangement. 

And that on-site work has its perks for the workforce's newest members. Workers who come into the office spend 13.7 minutes per day getting mentored, on average, compared to 10.2 minutes per day for remote workers. Similarly, in-office workers spent 4.5 more minutes each day in formal training, the survey found. 

Notably, a blend of both worlds is common for fresh hires. Nearly 41 percent of new college graduates secured a hybrid role, while 44.1 percent work fully on-site. 

Here's a breakdown of working arrangements by age, according to WFH Research: 

Ages 20-29: 

  • Fully on-site: 56.2 percent 
  • Hybrid: 33.8 percent
  • Fully remote: 10 percent

Ages 30-39: 

  • Fully on-site: 52.9 percent
  • Hybrid: 36.2 percent
  • Fully remote: 10.9 percent

Ages 40-49: 

  • Fully on-site: 58.6 percent
  • Hybrid: 29.9 percent
  • Fully remote: 11.5 percent

Ages 50-64: 

  • Fully on-site: 69.2 percent
  • Hybrid: 15.6 percent
  • Fully remote: 15.2 percent

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