What can remote working statistics tell us about the state of the remote workplace?
Do employees like remote work?
Would they prefer to return to the office?
In this post, will find out the answers to these questions, which can help you decide how to better manage your remote workforce.
Remote Working Statistics [Updated August 2021]
First, let’s look at some recent remote work statistics, then we’ll see what that data means for today’s hybrid workforce.
38% of workers work from a bed regularly
According to a survey of 1,520 remote-working Americans, the home office may not be an office at all:
- 38% work from their bed regularly
- 20% work outdoors regularly
- 19% work from a closet regularly
- 68% have worked on a couch
- 51% have worked at the kitchen counter
- 74% experienced pain and discomfort while working from home
These statistics demonstrate that most employees do not have a home office. Not only that, they have yet to set up a home office – or they don’t have the resources to do so.
What is the takeaway from this survey?
According to CraftJack, the company that performed the survey, a hybrid approach will become the new normal, and, as a result, “home offices will only get more seriously equipped.”
Health and safety concerns still divide the workforce
According to research from Morning Consult, safety is a major turn when it comes to onsite work:
- 33% of workers still feel uncomfortable returning to work, versus 64% who feel comfortable returning to work
- 64% want their coworkers to be vaccinated before returning to work
- 82% of workers enjoy remote work
- 73% report being more productive
- 48% feel comfortable traveling domestically for work
- 27% would be comfortable traveling internationally
Despite the issues in CraftJack’s survey, we can clearly see that many workers still enjoy remote work. This will undoubtedly lead, as mentioned, to a hybrid office model where employees divide their time between working on site and working from home.
Organizations aren’t being clear about their future plans
According to McKinsey, companies are communicating vaguely about their plans for the future of work.
Result is that many employees feel anxiety or concern, Which can, in turn, increase stress.
Among other things, McKinsey’s survey found that:
- 40% felt that their organizations had not clearly communicated a vision for post-pandemic work
- 47% of workers felt a lack of clear vision about the post-pandemic world is a cause for concern
- 49% of employees feel symptoms of burnout at work
- 52% would prefer more flexible working models after the pandemic
- ~30% of employees would likely switch jobs if they were required to return to fully onsite work
Finally, more than 50% of workers would like to work from home at least three days a week.
This suggests that the burnout and anxiety caused by the remote work paradigm may be more related to processes and communication than to remote work itself. That being said, it is important to bear in mind the negative impacts of poor home office setups, as mentioned in the first survey period
Remote work detrimentally affects IT staff
According to research from Netwrix, the shift to remote work is caused a number of issues for IT.
Not only has it increased cyber risks, it has negatively impacted system administrators:
- 66% of survey respondents report an increased workload
- 30% reported reduced IT staff
- 22% lacked IT skills to support remote work
- 59% claimed that the shift to remote work has increased the time they spent working on the job
- 72% felt that dealing with remote work issues distracted them from security matters
While these statistics may not seem relevant to the broader workforce, IT is central to every business. Business leaders should therefore pay close attention to how remote work impacts IT, since the effects covered above can negatively impact IT workers, IT operations, cybersecurity, and more.
WFH distractions abound
OfficeNeedle found that the WFH workforce can be easily distracted:
- 34% spend over one hour watching Netflix while working from home
- 30% spend 30-60 minutes on social media for purposes not related to work
- 29% cook food for 30-60 minutes
- 26% spend 30-60 minutes doing chores
- 23% go offline occasionally, when they are not supposed to
- 8% get high or drunk during working hours once a week
The survey also found that cell phones are the biggest distraction of all: 56% find themselves distracted by mobile phones.
In short, despite the fact that many surveys show employees are more productive when working from home, employees themselves report quite a few distractions. Other distractions listed in the survey include incoming calls, other people, and other apps.
A few things are clear from these statistics. On the one hand, as has been clear for some time, remote working is here to stay.
Yet telecommuting is not the panacea that some believe it to be. Though many remote workers are more productive, there are problems related to remote work, such as distractions, poor workspaces, and stress.To learn a few ways to mitigate these problems, check out our posts on managing hybrid teams and our complete guide to WFH.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.