The number of people working remotely has jumped 15% in the past two weeks as businesses and governments encourage employees to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Researchers at Netskope estimate the number of remote workers with "user dispersion," which refers to the ratio of the number of distinct globally routable IP addresses from which people are working to the total number of workers. If everyone is on the same network, as they would be in an office or on the same VPN, the ratio approaches zero. If people are working remotely from several locations and don't use a VPN, the ratio approaches one.
Using this method, they learned 27% of users worked remotely on an average weekday prior to COVID-19. The numbers have gradually increased for the first eight weeks of 2020 and spiked over the past two weeks as more companies enforced work-from-home policies. For the week ending on March 6, the average percentage of remote workers reached 30% and peaked at 32% on Friday. For the week ending March 13, the average grew to 35% and with a Friday peak of 42%.
For comparison, 42% is only slightly less than the average number of people who work remotely on weekends (43%), and it's higher than any holiday in the past six months. Netskope reports the total number of remote employees is the highest it has ever observed.
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