Between March 22 and June 29, 2020, the Remote Nation Institute in partnership with Sophaya conducted a Pandemic Work from Home Survey to capture data on the effects global workplace shutdowns had on employees working from home. The survey received over 750 responses. Data collected from this survey is contained in this write-up along with key insights drawn from the data that we believe are relevant to business leaders, managers/supervisors, and HR professionals.
AUTHOR NOTE: As long-time remote work practitioners, we draw a major distinction between the typical use of remote work as a deliberate, intentional business strategy and the current times. This pandemic, while providing a useful global proof of concept of the efficacy of remote work, is not typical remote work. Rather it is working under stress in isolation. And while there will always be some jobs that are unsuited for remote work, the pandemic has pushed our understanding of how many jobs can be executed effectively outside a traditional office.
The survey data we collected, both qualitatively and quantitatively bears this out. The many employees that worked from home during 2020 did so while navigating major obstacles such as social isolation, chaotic technical issues, lack of child care, home schooling, internet issues, space constraints, as well as old-style office management practices that were counterproductive with remote employees. Despite these challenges, employees found ways to adapt and maintained a high degree of satisfaction and productivity while coming to appreciate the benefits of a workday without a commute.
The workplace will certainly change because of COVID-19. This instant shift has opened opportunities, as many old patterns are disrupted and much of the change management work necessary to re-think the workplace has occurred. When the pandemic subsides, many employees will want to continue to have flexible work options and employers will have to address this to remain competitive and to retain/attract talent. Businesses who adopt flexible work programs early will gain an advantage through greater team resilience, more effective business continuity capabilities, and a competitive advantage for recruiting and retaining top talent untethered by geography. By applying remote work business practices with intention, forethought, and planning companies will realize cost savings through reduced overhead, greater operational flexibility, and improved team productivity.
DISCLAIMER: Data collected from this survey will be used for research purposes by The Remote Nation Institute (RNI) to advance our knowledge of the pandemic’s effect on the remote work experience. All responses will be anonymized, and names, emails or other personal data will never be published, shared with, or sold to any third parties. The final results of this survey will be made available free of charge to any survey participants who wish to receive them