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Corporate Culture

Is Working Remotely Here to Stay?

Colin McLain
Colin McLain
Vice President

Well, we can officially say 2020 has been a year for the ages…a global pandemic, civil unrest, protesting, wildfires, and murder hornets, to name a few things going on. Needless to say, it’s been chalked full of unexpected twists and turns, and we still have 4 months to go!

With everything going on around us, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you reside, almost everyone has experienced some sort of lifestyle change. While these changes have impacted just about everyone, we have all managed them in different ways.

Some of the changes have been good — more time with family, better commutes, healthier lifestyle changes, etc. Others haven’t been so good — eating and snacking more (i.e. the “COVID-19” formerly known as the “Freshman-15”), and being less active, travel deprived, socially depressed, etc.

Perhaps the most common lifestyle change due to the mandated quarantine has been the shift to working remotely. Across the globe, these lockdowns have forced workers to avoid their normal workplace offices and, instead, conduct their normal office work from the comfort (or confinement) of their homes.

For some of us, this transition was easy. For others, working remotely has been an ongoing challenge.

Prior to the pandemic, remote work was a trend that was already happening and gaining massive popularity. The pandemic merely expedited where the workforce was already headed. As technology continues to make the work-life balance more efficient, we can only anticipate these trends will continue to accelerate.

The Stats about Working from Home in 2020

For those who know me, I’m pretty analytical…at my core, I’m a numbers guy. So, my curiosity got the better of me, and I started looking at how the concept of working remotely has evolved in recent years and what kind of impact the pandemic may have on an employer’s strategy in the future.

During my research, I realized I wasn’t the only one interested in this topic. I found a lot of the statistics and information below from the Alliance Virtual Offices article on “Remote Working Statistics 2020.”

So, if you’re an analytical and statistical nerd like me or just simply curious at heart, you may find the information below as fascinating and enlightening as I did.

Productivity Levels During the Pandemic

Here are some stats related to productivity levels from a Robert Walters survey (mid-2020) involving more than 2,000 global organizations.

  • 23% of professionals reported lower productivity when working from home
  • 32% of professionals said their productivity remained the same
  • 45% of professionals believe they got more work done when working from home
  • 78% of employers are seeing equal or increased productivity during the lockdown
  • Not having to commute to work was cited as the primary reason for increased productivity
  • 29% of workers responded that they are using this time to fit some extra work into their schedules
  • 70% of managers/employers say that working from home has been the same or better for their team’s work performance

Working from Home Stats (Pre/during pandemic)

As you’re determining where your organization may sit in comparison to others, take a look at these numbers from Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, 2020 and Gartner, Inc. 2020.

  • During the pandemic, 88% of employees now work from home on a regular basis. Before the pandemic 31% of employees worked from home on a regular basis
  • Pre-pandemic, roughly 31% of people wanted to work from home at least 1 day per week. Since the lockdown, this number has jumped to 76%
  • 74% indicated of companies would reposition 5% of their previous in-office workforce to permanent remote positions post-COVID-19
  • Nearly 25% of companies said they would move at least 20% to a permanent remote position

Employee Wishes for the Future

As you look at your own plans, the following stats below may give you an indication on what your own employees are thinking:

  • 98% of remote workers want to continue to work remotely (at least partially) for the rest of their careers (Buffer, State of Remote Work 2020)
  • The vast majority of U.S. employees (79-87%, depending on the industry) say they would like to work remotely at least some of the time (Telework in the 21st Century, 2019)
  • For 67% of people, work-life balance is the reason they are seeking a flexible job (FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship, 2020)
  • 78% of people cited flex-schedules and telecommuting as the most effective non-compensation strategies for employee retention, up from 67% in 2018 (Crain’s Future of Work survey, 2019)
  • 4 out of every 5 responded that, if offered two similar jobs, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer them flexible working (IWG, 2019)

No doubt, 2020 has been a rollercoaster of events with many ups, downs, twists, turns, and loop de loops…adding many unexpected changes to our way of life. Some of us have just thrown our hands up and are trying to enjoy the ride. While others have simply shut their eyes and are white-knuckled holding on to life — simply no fun at all.

As we all try to navigate our “new normal” and manage the ever-changing world we live in, hoping these changes won’t last…the numbers are clear, the vast majority of workers hope the remote work experiment is here to stay.

If you have questions about your employee strategy, reach out! We’d love to help you navigate these uncertain times.

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