It’s been a weird year, to say the least. Throughout 2020, news cycles and behavioural shifts have come so fast and furious that it feels like we’ve squeezed a decade of change into just a few months—and work has been no exception. Though the option to work remotely has long been on many workers’ wish lists, prior to March 2020, it was a benefit enjoyed by a privileged few.
However, when COVID-19 lockdowns shuttered countless workplaces and forced 34% of previous commuters to work from home practically overnight, it created the opportunity to gather unprecedented data about what remote work is really like.
This data does more than provide a snapshot of life during this rollercoaster of a year. With many companies—including tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter—planning to make working from home a permanent option for employees moving forward, these real-life insights offer businesses an important opportunity to inform the remote work experience of the future.
From employee and employer attitudes about remote work to successes and pain points, taking some time to examine remote work statistics will allow organisations to refine their approach to new working arrangements.
Here are 7 stats about WFH you need to know.
Remote work doesn’t have to be all or nothing—employees want greater flexibility to do their best work in the setting that meets their needs. Based on data from PwC Remote Work Survey , for the majority of workers this means a hybrid approach: coming into the office some days while reserving at least one day per week to WFH.
According to PwC’s survey, many employers are keen to deliver on their employees’ desire to work from home part-time. Even after the threat of COVID-19 dissipates, more than half of businesses say they’ll allow employees to work remotely at least one day per week. But they’ll still use the physical office as a hub for collaboration and community building.
There are numerous prerequisites for successful remote work, and the good news is that the majority of employees working from home say they have access to all the necessary infrastructure, hardware, data, and platforms they need to be productive. But even after months of working from home, some employees are still struggling because they don’t have the full spectrum of tools they need. A third of workers say they have most—but not everything—they need to do their work, and more than 10% say they’re struggling, with either a significant shortfall or none of the tools they need to be productive.
Managers have long feared that home-based employees would slack off or face challenges that would stand in the way of productivity. But a majority of leaders now admit they were wrong. While concerns persisted in the earliest days of the pandemic, just one quarter of finance leaders are still worried remote work will result in less getting done. That’s down from 63% who had this concern in March.
Bosses’ ratings of remote productivity line up nicely with employees’ assessments. More than three-quarters of workers say not only are their keeping up with their workloads—they’re actually getting more work done at home. Most give credit to fewer distractions at home than in the office as well as to a less-noisy working environment.
Turns out the credo “balance is everything” holds up for remote work too. Instead of 100% office-based or 100% WFH models, Gallup found that a mix is best for promoting employee engagement.
Remote work has blurred the lines between the office and home. And while this may have upsides, it also carries some risk to employees’ well-being. Whether it’s challenges disconnecting from the job at the end of the day or difficulties striking a balance between personal and work demands, most employees are feeling burnt out. To make remote work sustainable, this is an issue businesses will have to address.
The numbers don’t lie—and as these stats reflect, 2020’s grand experiment in remote work has largely been a success. They also, however, reveal some pitfalls and challenges that must be resolved if full or hybrid remote work is normalised in the enterprise.
Supporting the hybrid workforce is not only the key to post-COVID-19 recovery, but also to businesses’ future ability to thrive. Paramount to these objectives are tools that allow employees to communicate and work together seamlessly, unleashing collaboration and productivity without additional friction.
Unified communications solutions like RingCentral combine team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone, plus robust integrations with critical business apps. This all-in-one platform provides employees with everything they need to do their best work—whether that’s at home, in the office, or as forecasts suggest, some combination of both.