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How Remote Work Habits Have Changed Since 2020

December 29, 2022

By Mary Corrado, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Opponents of remote work often cite lack of engagement and reduced productivity as reasons why they prefer employees in the office. While work habits have changed since the influx of remote work in 2020, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s changed for the worse.

Harvard Business Review recently published a report on how our remote work habits have changed since 2020. While we might not run into each other at the water cooler anymore, we are having more one-on-one spontaneous meetings. So, the location just changed – now it’s virtual.

The analysis in Harvard Business Review cited five ways remote meetings have changed since the pandemic:

  1. Remote meetings have become more frequent.
    1. There were 60% more remote meetings per employee in 2022 compared to 2020.
  2. Remote meetings have become shorter.
    1. The length of meetings has decreased 25% since 2020 – from 43 minutes to 33 minutes.  That tells me we’ve become more efficient.
  3. Remote meetings have become smaller.
    1. The number of attendees at each meeting reduced drastically – by 50%. In 2020 each meeting consisted of an average of 20 people; in 2022 it was 10. Again, a sign of greater efficiency.
    2. We are having more one-on-one meetings, which could be why the larger meetings have gotten smaller. In 2020, only 17% of meetings were one-on-one. That went up to 42% in 2022.
    3. Those one-on-one meetings also save time – averaging 22 minutes compared to 40 minutes for group meetings.
  4. Remote meetings have become more spontaneous.
    1. Spontaneous meetings have grown in popularity since 2020 – from 17% in 2020 to 66% in 2022.
  5. Workers who left their organization reversed the trends.
    1. Those employees who exited the organization participated in less meetings than the average employee.
    2. “Leavers” had 67% fewer one-on-one spontaneous meetings, 22% fewer scheduled one-on-one meetings, and 20% fewer group meetings.

One other interesting tidbit I found in the report was that even after some employees returned to the office, they still found an increase in the number of remote meetings per employee.

This report seems to show that, in all actuality, remote employees are more engaged than they were two years ago.  We’ve adjusted to and learned the benefits of the technology in place for virtual work and seem to be utilizing it to engage with coworkers.

If the majority of your employees are remote, let me know how you think your productivity and engagement has changed – for better or worse.  Email me at mcorrado@aseonline.org.

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