The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world into a gigantic (and hastily organized) work-from-home experiment. Though some U.S. states are starting the slow process of reopening, many continue with stay-at-home orders, forcing many businesses to continue with remote work.
Though the circumstances are not ideal, many researchers are trying to measure how well working from home is working (for employers and staff). And they are also trying to predict what the future of work and remote work holds.
How Employees Feel About Remote Work Right Now
Between April 1 and April 5, 2020, MIT surveyed workers on their current employment status. Based on their results, the researchers estimate that nearly one-third of the labor force switched to remote work due to the pandemic.
And though the transition happened suddenly, many employees who work at home right now generally have positive reviews regarding their employer’s handling the crisis and the sudden shift to being a remote company.
For example, a Glassdoor study found that 70% of respondents felt that their employer had responded to employee concerns about health and safety matters. And nearly 99% of respondents to a Korn-Ferry study feel that their employers are showing empathy toward staff. Additionally, 85% of those respondents also feel that their employers are doing a good job of communicating and informing staff about the company’s situation and ongoing response to the pandemic.
Of the employees who suddenly found themselves working at home, a Citrix study reveals that 45% of workers feel their employers were “fairly ready” for the transition to remote work and that 38% of employees felt the transition from in-office to remote employee was fairly easy.
The Glassdoor study also found that 60% of respondents feel that they can do their jobs effectively no matter how long they have to remotely and that 50% of them are finding that they are as or more productive working at home.
In fact, one poll found that 35% of workers don’t miss the office at all.
Maintaining Focus and Family Life
The Citrix study also found that nearly one-third of workers are overwhelmed by remote work, and 28% of respondents are also lonely. The Korn-Ferry study also reveals that 77% of workers are finding it difficult to work at home, admitting that they are distracted by news reports about the pandemic and trying to work-at-home with kids.
If you find yourself in the crowd of workers who are balancing both work and family life under one roof, we’ve got tips on how to help you stay focused. Check out the resources below:
What Employers Feared (and Found)
During the pandemic, remote work has become a lifeline for many companies, keeping them in business during these uncertain times. That doesn’t mean employers don’t worry about the transition.
A FlexJobs study found that even though companies know remote work is necessary during the pandemic, 21% of them were “very fearful” that employee productivity would decrease. Employers were not sure how to communicate with their staff or how to hold them accountable.
The same study, though, found that 15% of companies that switched to remote work because of the pandemic found that their employees are more productive working from home.
However, employers also worry about their employees well being. They said that they were concerned that employees might overwork themselves, and that they wouldn’t know how to set and keep proper boundaries between work and home.
There are, however, steps people can take to stay sane while working at home during the pandemic. For tips and tricks, check out:
What Employees Predict
Though there’s no way to know what will happen when the pandemic ends, the Citrix poll found that over a third of workers expect their employers will embrace and encourage more remote work. And approximately 28% plan on looking for a new job that allows remote work.
That said, the same poll found that a third of workers also want to get back to the in-person office. It’s not surprising that results are mixed, but the numbers indicate that more workers will be seeking remote opportunities than before.
What Employers Predict
Even though some businesses may not have a firm reopening date, they are making plans so that when the day comes, they are ready to go.
At the end of March, a Gartner survey found that 74% of Chief Financial Officers plan to permanently shift at least 5% of their workforce to remote work. In April, a Mercer survey found that in the short-term, 76% of companies will continue to allow flexible work, and 43% of companies will continue with remote work.
The Institute for Corporate Productivity surveyed their member employers and found that 42% of them are allowing full-time staff with child care obligations to drop to part-time status. And 54% of them plan on expanding or increasing flexible work options when the pandemic is over.
Is the Future of Work Remote? Time Will Tell
Though some parts of the world economy are rebooting, it will likely still be months–years, perhaps–until the full impact of the pandemic on the work world is understood. Until that happens, many companies will likely continue offering flexible and remote work to employees as a way to stay in business and to keep employees happy.
Because remote work is crucial for many right now, we’ve dropped our prices as low as 50% on new memberships. Use the code JOBS at checkout.
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Rachel Pelta is a Content Coordinator for FlexJobs. With professional experience in job placement and as a manager, she creates content to help people succeed in their job search, and to help managers get the best out of their staff.…Read More >
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