Post pandemic, have you ever wondered if employees prefer remote work or returning to the office? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working-from-home? What has changed the most?
Here are 5 statistics about work-from-home (WFH) in 2021 that will surprise you.
1. 92% of employees prefer working from home at least 1 day of the week.
According to the Remote Work & Compensation Pulse Survey, only 8% of remote employees are willing to return full-time to the office after the pandemic. While 48% of workers want to work from home permanently, the remaining 44% want to work from home part of the week.
In other words, the office is here to stay, but its role is set to change. Less than 1 out of 5 executives say they want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic. The rest are grappling with how widely to extend remote work options, with just 13% of executives prepared to let go of the office for good. Meanwhile, 87% of employees say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships, which are their top-rated needs for the office.
How do employees feel about returning to the office?
They ALL feel anxious. The Limeade Institute discovered that 100% of the 4,500 adult workers they surveyed who worked in an office before the pandemic now feel stressed about the prospect of going back to one. Their anxiety centered around pandemic safety concerns, the prospect of sacrificing work flexibility, and having to commute to the office.
2. Employers could lose up to 39% of their workforce if forcing a return to the office
In Remote Work Report 2021, 52% of global knowledge workers noted they would consider leaving their company for a remote role. If remote work were suddenly not an option, a third of the 4,000 employees surveyed would quit their job. Business leaders and industry experts have resorted to calling a 2021 trend the “Great Resignation”.
“Forcing employees to go back to the on-site environment could result in employers losing up to 39% of their workforce.”
— Jérôme Mackowiak, director and advisor at Gartner HR
3. Work flexibility is undoubtedly the greatest benefit of remote work
32% selected the ability to have a flexible schedule as their top benefit, followed by 25% who selected the flexibility to work from any location. 22% loved the fact of not having to commute while 11% appreciated the ability to spend time with their family.
The Pew Research Center polled 5,858 U.S. adults working remotely for the first time, among which 49% reported enjoying greater work flexibility. Nearly half of the American workforce had more options in choosing not only their workplace but also their work hours. 38% of new remote workers also found it easier to balance their work with family responsibilities.
“Allowing employees to work flexibly can significantly reduce the conflict that we all experience between our personal and professional lives, and better equip everyone, regardless of their career level, to take better care of their mental, emotional, and physical needs.”
— shared Sara Sutton, CEO and of FlexJobs
4. Not communication, collaboration, or loneliness, the biggest struggle with remote work is being unable to unplug.
In past years, collaboration and communication difficulties, as well as loneliness, were top of the list. However, this has changed quite drastically this year; 27% of remote workers selected not being able to unplug as their biggest struggle with remote work, followed by difficulties with collaboration (16%), and loneliness (16%).
Unfortunately, some of your newfound remote work productivity may be lost to the compound effects of increased alienation among your team. GitLab found that 37% of remote workers don’t feel connected to their peers in 2021.
As Gallup puts it, “Loneliness is emotional. Isolation is structural. And your remote employees are likely experiencing both.” Uncorrected, the two can derail workplace productivity by 21%.
5. What has changed the most in the way we work and the company culture?
Buffer partnered with Doist, Remotive, and We Work Remotely to poll 2,300 remote employees. When asked what had changed the most in the way they work, 41% of respondents said it was their collaboration and communication methods, 22% noted it was just their location, and 20% highlighted changes in their work hours. About 10% also reported significantly changing how they do their work.
“An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks.”
— Brent Hyder, President & Chief People Officer, Salesforce
However, diving headfirst into remote work following the spread of Covid-19 hasn’t always automatically led to great remote culture. Over 60% of employees note the transition to work-from-home has significantly changed their organization’s culture, according to Randstad’s May 2021 survey results. Nearly half of remote workers note it is now harder for them to connect with their company’s values.
“There’s a real disconnect between the way companies are using technology to stay connected but failing to connect on culture and values.”
— Carolyn Levy, president of Randstad Technologies