We considered the growth in the number of employees ‘working from anywhere’ in our previous articles. 

We will now focus on suitability - does ‘work from anywhere’ suit all jobs, all countries, and all employees?

In relation to job suitability, the answer is clear. “More than half the workforce…has little or no opportunity for remote work.”1

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Over 50% of the workforce have no opportunity for remote work

Many employees work in jobs that “require them to turn up, not just log in”2 and despite the growth in ‘work from anywhere’, the life of these frontline workers “isn’t going to change much.”2

‘Work from anywhere’ primarily benefits white-collar knowledge workers, for whom “the pandemic has afforded many new perks that were practically unheard of pre-pandemic (including) the ability to work from home or remotely long-term.”3

Prior to “2020 a movement was brewing within knowledge-work organizations. Personal technology and digital connectivity had advanced so far and so fast”5 that during the pandemic lockdowns, many knowledge workers discovered they “don’t in fact need to be co-located with colleagues on-site.”4

After examining industry sector suitability, McKinsey concluded that remote work potential in the United States is concentrated in “the finance, management, professional services, and information sectors.”1

Each country also has a different level of potential for remote work, “a reflection of their sector, occupation, and activity mix.”1 The theoretical maximum share of time working remotely (with some level of diminished productivity) by country is estimated to be:1

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_UK 46% 
  • UK 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_France 39% 
  • France  
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Germany 39% 
  • Germany 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Japan 39% 
  • Japan  
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_US 39% 
  • US  
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Spain 36% 
  • Spain  
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Mexico 26% 
  • Mexico  
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_China 22% 
  • China 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_India 16% 
  • India 

So if ‘work from anywhere’ doesn’t suit all jobs and all countries, does it suit all types of employees?

Analysis of LinkedIn data covering millions of members found that “women, Gen Z and those without a graduate degree” are “more likely to apply for remote versus on-site positions.”5

  • Remote Applications
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Remote Applications- Women 
  • Women 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Remote Applications- No Graduate Degree 
  • No Graduate Degree 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_Remote Applications- Gen Z 
  • Gen Z 
  • On-Site Applications
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_On-Site Applications- Women 
  • Women 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_On-Site Applications- No Graduate Degree 
  • No Graduate Degree 
Transforming Workplace articles-icons_On-Site Applications- Gen Z 
  • Gen Z 

Although Gen Z employees aspire to ‘work from anywhere’, they are also “more likely to be single and early in their careers, making them more likely to feel the impacts of isolation, struggle with motivation at work, or lack the financial means to create proper workplaces at home.”5

As early-career employees who have had less opportunity to build meaningful connections within their team and organisation, it is worth noting that Gen Z may also lack the confidence to contribute in certain situations.

One example is that “Gen Z is struggling more than other generations” to get “a word in during conference calls and meetings” as follows:5

  • % of difficulty

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_% of difficulty


In contrast, Millennials show a liking for ‘work from anywhere’, and they “are abandoning the big cities to search for greener pastures, leaving the office and the daily commute behind to raise their families in the regions.”6

Microsoft also found “that Black and U.S. Latino workers are more likely than white workers and men to say they prefer remote work.”5

Finally, in a recent survey of remote workers in five countries, “roughly half of the parents and caregivers surveyed pursued remote work because of their status as parents/caregivers.”7

Transforming Workplace articles-icons_remote work as parents-caregivers

  Yes  No 
Are You a Parent or Caregiver?  35%  65%

Is Being a Parent or Caregiver one

of the Reasons you Pursued Remote Work?  
48%  52%

In summary, suitability to ‘work from anywhere’ clearly differs by job, industry sector, country, and employee type.

Our next article will discuss the growing popularity of the hybrid model, where employees working from anywhere spend part of their work time rotating “in and out of offices configured for shared spaces.”8

Norton Rose Fulbright assists organisations to efficiently and effectively address the legal aspects of the new global work environment, including work from anywhere. Please reach out if we can assist your organisation in this respect.



S Lund, A Madgavkar, J Manyika, S Smit, McKinsey & Co, ‘What’s Next for Remote Work: An Analysis of 2,000 Tasks, 800 Jobs, and Nine Countries’, 23 November 2020.


D Ziffer, abc.net.au, ‘Work From Home is the new Normal as Employers Struggle to Make the Daily Grind Work’, 5 January 2022.


B Lufkin, BBC Worklife, ‘What We’re Getting Wrong About the Great Resignation’, 29 October 2021.


P Choudhury, Harvard Business Review, ‘Our Work-from-Anywhere Future’, November-December 2020.


Microsoft WorkLab, ‘The Next Great Disruption is Hybrid Work – Are we Ready?’, 22 March 2021.


R Varga, The Weekend Australian, ‘The Great Exodus: Young Families Flee Cities in Droves’, 22 January 2022.


Buffer.com, ‘The 2021 State of Remote Work’.


PwC, ‘US Remote Work Survey’, 12 January 2021.


Partner | Employment & Labour Team Leader
Senior Partner
US Chair, Head of Employment and Labor, United States
Global Head of Employment and Labor
Head of Employment - Europe, Middle East and Asia
Partner, Canadian National Chair, Employment and Labour

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