By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
SpaceIQ

There’s no shortage of questions hanging in the balance of the pandemic, especially when it comes to work. Right now, a significant number of people wake up each morning and shuffle to their dining room table, flip open their laptops, and start their workday. There are mixed emotions.

The good news is, we’re deep enough into the Great Remote Work Experiment that data is slowly but surely coming online—data that not only qualifies how people feel about telecommuting, but remote working stats that answer questions people have been asking for months. Here are some key remote work statistics, in the context of some of the most important questions employees and employers are asking.

What are remote team leaders worried about?

There’s much uncertainty about the mass shift to remote work. For companies with little-to-no experience with it, trepidation runs high. Even those with experience managing remote teams or a distributed workforce report feeling challenged by the sudden office exodus.

What’s keeping managers up at night? Here’s a look at the top five concerns of remote team leaders, as reported by the World Economic Forum:1

  • 82% reduced employee focus
  • 75% reduced team cohesiveness
  • 82% reduced employee productivity
  • 70% maintaining company culture
  • 67% employees overworking

There’s a healthy (or rather, unhealthy) mix of stressors on the list, centered primarily around uncertainties about how to manage multiple remote employees as individuals and as a cohesive team. But there’s good news. Because we’re all in this together, there are new strategies, tips, tricks, and advice coming to fruition daily as everyone works to figure out telecommuting on a global scale, in real time.

Are remote employees still productive?

Perhaps too productive! There’s real fear that, not only are employees working longer hours, they’re starting to work non-traditional hours in addition to a traditional schedule. For example, Microsoft reports that Teams activity has increased more than 200% on Saturday and Sunday, indicating weekend work.2

Employees may be racking up as much as 28 hours of monthly overtime that’s likely going unpaid or unaccounted for on timesheets, according to one study. The reason? 86% of employees feel the need to prove they’re working hard and that they’re a valuable part of the team. 3

What’s the result of all this extra work? 37% of companies report seeing increased employee productivity after transitioning to remote.4 People are getting more done, but at the expense of work-life balance. It’s a trend that can’t continue if remote work does.

How is remote work technology faring?

Technology is the make-or-break driver behind remote work pre-COVID and today. The question is, do companies have the bandwidth, resources, and digital infrastructure to support a massive remote workforce?

Employers and employees don’t quite see eye-to-eye. While 52% of employees say their employer needs to invest in better technology, only 37% of business IT leaders feel that way.5 For most employees, the solution has been simple: use personal devices to bridge the gaps—often to the dismay of company IT and cybersecurity experts. 53% of telecommuters say they rely on a personal computer for work, spending as much as $348 on average to upgrade a personal computer for work.6

Unfortunately, there’s one telling statistic that says we’ve still got a ways to go in support a completely remote workforce. 84% of remote workers say they lose access to an application at least once a week, with 11% citing it as a daily occurrence.7 Remote work only works if the technology that supports it works.

How do employees feel about remote work?

How many can’t wait to get back in the office vs. want to work from home forever? How do individual employees see the benefits of remote working? The data paints a very telling, very lopsided picture of employee sentiment.

According to another World Economic Forum report, a staggering 98% of employees would maintain a work-from-home arrangement for the rest of their careers, given the option.8 In fact, an astounding 62% claimed they’d take a pay cut if it meant being able to work from home!9

Despite their emphatic love of remote work, employees are still adjusting. Many cite struggles unplugging or separating work from home, while others are frustrated with new schedules and communication modes. But it’s all worth it, as 85% of people say remote work ultimately makes for a better work/life balance.10

Are employees safe working from home?

During a pandemic, employee safety inspires concern for health and wellness. Naturally, employees are safer working from home largely because it’s a form of self-containment. That said, we’re talking about a different kind of safety: cybersecurity.

As of July, as many as 46% of global businesses encountered at least one cybersecurity scare since their shift to a remote working model. Businesses have countered. 73% of businesses have given staff extra cybersecurity training while working remotely, with specific training around passwords and log-in credentials.11

Despite an emphasis on cybersecurity, sentiments remain shaky about online privacy and safety. 71% of people believe remote working during COVID-19 has increased the likelihood of a data breach. Even more telling, roughly 6 in 10 employees say they felt more secure working in-office as compared to at home.12

The data continues to roll in

For most of the working world, we’re less than a year into the Great Work From Home Experiment. The longer people telecommute, the more we’ll learn and the more questions we’ll be able to answer. Until then, we can only go by what we know—and we know that remote work is working.

Keep Reading: Boost Team Collaboration with 10 Remote Working Tools

Resources

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/coronavirus-covid19-remote-working-office-employees-employers/
  2. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/07/08/future-work-good-challenging-unknown/
  3. https://www.cityam.com/remote-working-is-causing-employees-to-feel-overworked/
  4. https://businessfacilities.com/2020/06/even-after-covid-19-execs-expect-remote-work-trend-to-continue/
  5. https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252485414/Remote-working-set-to-remain-but-so-do-management-challenges
  6. https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/lenovo-research-people-working-more-120000076.html
  7. https://www.networkworld.com/article/3566292/idc-covid-19-hits-sd-wan-data-center-gear-enterprise-impact-varies.html
  8. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/coronavirus-covid19-remote-working-office-employees-employers/
  9. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonwingard/2020/06/25/the-remote-office-is-the-new-normal-3-reasons-leaders-are-shifting-strategy/#125a1f1e1e33
  10. https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252485202/UK-US-workers-report-overwhelmingly-positive-experiences-of-remote-working
  11. https://www.smeweb.com/2020/04/06/remote-working-has-increased-risk-of-a-cyber-breach-say-businesses/?cli_action=1594895499.458

https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2020/05/06/half-of-global-businesses-have-already-encounted-a-cyber-scare-since-shifting-to-remote-working-during-covid-19