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Survey Finds 51% Have Been More Productive Working from Home During COVID-19

September 24, 2020

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

According to a FlexJobs survey of approximately 4,000 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 51% report they have been much more productive working from home than they were in the traditional office. 44% said their productivity was about the same, and only 5% say they have been less productive in their home office. 

Overall Views on Remote Work:

  • 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, while 31% would like a combination of remote and in-office work. 4% would prefer to return to the traditional office full-time.
  • Just 3% view remote work less favorably since the pandemic started. 61% say they view remote work more favorably, and 35% say their views have been unchanged.
  • Exactly half of people working remotely during the pandemic say their companies view remote work more favorably since the pandemic, while 21% think their views have been unchanged. Only 9% say they view it less favorably, while the remaining 20% are unsure.

“As the CEO of a fully remote company for the last fourteen years, and a long-time remote work advocate, I am personally never surprised to hear that productivity has increased for workers who shifted from the traditional office to a home office,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “I believe the companies that refuse to do this will ultimately suffer from a talent attraction and retention perspective. The time for more permanent remote work has finally come.” 

Remote Job Market During COVID-19:

FlexJobs has seen a significant increase in people looking for remote and flexible jobs since the COVID-19 crisis began, as well as more companies than ever allowing remote work and hiring for remote positions. In fact, despite a slower overall job market, FlexJobs saw a 12% increase in remote job listings in August over July, and previous pandemic months saw increases as well.

Top Reasons Remote Work Has Benefited Job Performance During COVID-19:

Despite the potential distractions while working from home during an emergency, workers say their focus has improved because of:

  • Quieter work environment (68%)
  • Fewer interruptions from colleagues (68%)
  • More control over workplace (66%)
  • More comfortable work environment (65%)
  • More focused time (63%)
  • Avoiding office politics (55%)
  • Fewer meetings (35%) 

Top Ways Working Has Benefited Overall Life During COVID-19:

Eliminating pain points around commutes is the best benefit of remote work. This is not surprising, given that 36% have had roundtrip commutes of more than two hours.

  • No commute (79%)
  • Better work-life balance (73%)
  • No commute cost (72%)
  • Not having to “get dressed” for work in more formal office clothes (62%)
  • More time to take care of myself (cook healthier, exercise, meditation, etc.) (62%)
  • Save money on eating out, making my own coffee, etc. (62%)
  • More time with my family/children (46%)
  • More time with my partner/spouse (42%)
  • Easier to take care of my pet(s) (37%)

Top Things People Miss About Being in an Office During COVID-19:

Roughly 1 in 4 say they don’t miss anything about the office, but missing camaraderie with colleagues has been observed. Only a fifth struggle with unplugging after working hours.

  • Miss seeing my colleagues (49%)
  • Stronger relationships with colleagues when in person (44%)
  • Nothing (37%)
  • In-person meetings are more effective (26%)
  • Unplugging is too difficult while working from home (20%)
  • More stimulating environment (14%)
  • Miss water cooler talk (14%)
  • Worried about remote work’s impact on my career (12%)
  • Too lonely working from home (11%)
  • Too distracted working from home (7%)

Insights for Employers to Consider:

  • 81% say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
  • 30% have already made a request and been approved by their employers to continue working remotely post-pandemic. 13% say their companies have already requested they continue to work from home. 13% have made a request but been denied. 
  • 27% would take a 10-20% cut in pay in exchange for the option to work from home as much as they wanted.
  • Less than 4% worry a lot that working from home will hurt their career progression.
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