By Rachel Pelta
As the U.S. enters its sixth month of the pandemic and everyone settles into the new normal, employers and workers continue adjusting as well. Though unemployment rates remain at historic highs, some employers are thriving—and hiring— during the pandemic.
At FlexJobs, we’ve seen a significant increase in people looking for remote and flexible jobs. Thankfully, employers are hiring for these roles, as job postings for remote jobs on our site have increased by 12% from July to August alone.
Of course, wanting a remote job is one thing. Working a remote job is another. The way you approach your job when you have a long commute every day is very different when your commute consists of moving from one room of the house to another!
As part of our annual Super Survey, we surveyed with more than 4,000 people who are working remotely during the pandemic to find out what they really think of working at home. In many ways, the results were not surprising (to us!). However, we did learn about some interesting takes workers have on remote work due to COVID-19.
51% of survey respondents indicate that they have been more productive working from home during COVID-19, and 95% of respondents say productivity has been higher or the same while working remotely. And though there are many reasons why performance has improved (in spite of the stresses of the pandemic), some of the top reasons respondents gave for their increased productivity include:
- Fewer interruptions (68%)
- More focused time (63%)
- Quieter work environment (68%)
- More comfortable workplace (66%)
- Avoiding office politics (55%)
This improved productivity may help explain why 61% of workers review remote work more positively and why 50% also say their employer views remote work favorably now.
Of course, working remotely doesn’t automatically equate with increased productivity and performance. There are some steps you can and should take to create an efficient and effective remote work setup. Check out these articles for advice:
- These Work-From-Home Tips Will Help Productivity
- 11 Home Office Workspace Tips to Get Organized
- How to Turn a Closet into a Home Office
- How to Set Up a Home Office: 12 Tips
- Work-from-Home Ergonomics 101
Many respondents also said that their personal lives have improved while working at home. A majority of respondents cited the lack of commuting (79%) as a reason why their lives were better, with another 72% enjoying the lack of commuting costs.
Given that 36% of respondents reported round trip commutes of two or more hours, it’s not surprising that the “found time” has made workers happier, more productive employees.
Another 73% said that they had a better work-life balance thanks to working at home. The additional balance gave them:
- More time with their family/children (46%)
- More time with their partner (42%)
- The ability to take care of their pet(s) (37%)
Thanks to the better work-life balance, 65% of respondents want to become full-time remote employees post-pandemic, while 31% would prefer a hybrid work arrangement, with some of the days at home and some of the days in the office.
Thirty percent of respondents aren’t waiting for the pandemic to end to make the switch. They’ve already requested to continue their remote work arrangement post-pandemic—and have been approved! Another 27% of workers said that the ability to work at home as much as they want is so important to them that they are willing to take a 10% to 20% pay cut to have that benefit.
Furthermore, 81% of survey respondents say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
Some Workers Miss the Office
For all the positives that remote work has brought, there are people who miss the office. Specifically, 49% of those surveyed said they miss seeing their colleagues, with 14% saying they miss water cooler chats, and 11% reporting they were lonely. Another 7% cited “distracted” as a reason for missing the office, while 12% worried about the impact remote work would have on their career. Finally, 20% of workers say they find it difficult to “unplug” when they work from home.
However, 37% of respondents said that they miss “nothing” about the office, and only 4% would prefer to return to the traditional office full-time.
Whether you’re missing water cooler chats or are finding it difficult to unplug at the end of the day, here are some resources to help you out:
- How to Build Strong and Meaningful Relationships With a Remote Team
- Working Remotely and Attaining Work-Life Balance: 8 Tips
- 7 Work-From-Home Mistakes to Avoid
The “New” Office
Remote work is proving popular with employees and employers, and has been a lifeline to many businesses during the global pandemic.