The world of work has changed dramatically over the past year, and the transformation isn’t complete just yet. While we had an unexpected and sudden adjustment to remote work at the start of the pandemic, we now have time to thoroughly and thoughtfully consider our ‘next normal.’ That is, many can agree that we’re not going back to exactly the way things were before—but we are still figuring out exactly what the future of work will look like.
As you consider your own organization’s future, these remote work statistics can help you navigate the ‘next normal.’
The percentage of people who want to work remotely is more than double what it was pre-pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has given workers a taste of remote work, and they don’t want to give it up. Over three-fourths (77 percent) say they want to work remotely between one and five days per week, versus 31 percent of people who said the same pre-pandemic.
Of the people that want remote work, 17 percent want to work remotely 5 days a week, 7 percent four days a week, 17 percent three days a week, 23 percent two days a week, and 14 percent one day a week. A flexible approach to remote work can be a great way to appeal to the most people.
When it comes to returning to the office, the biggest concern is losing the flexibility remote work provides
As people have become accustomed to working remotely, they have also become accustomed to having more time and autonomy in their days. Thirty six percent said their biggest concern about returning to the office is losing the flexibility remote work provides.
Thirty-two percent are worried about getting back to their pre-pandemic routines, 31 percent about being around people again, 30 percent about being around unvaccinated people, and 27 percent about the commute to work. Other concerns include lack of social distancing, sharing spaces and appliances with others, traveling for work, going to in-person meetings, and not being as productive.
Only 9 percent say they have no concerns about returning to the office. There are clearly a lot of issues to address for those who are planning to call team members back to the office, even just a few days each week.
Four in 10 workers say if their company doesn’t offer remote work options long-term, they will look for another opportunity that does
Workers are not afraid to seek remote work opportunities elsewhere if their current employers don’t offer them. Forty-two percent of remote workers say if their current company does not continue to offer remote work options long term, they will look for a job at a company that does. That’s because remote work helps them save money, save time commuting, get more sleep, improve their health, and reduce stress.
The quit rate is up to 2.7 percent
Nearly four million people in the United States quit their jobs in April 2021—the most on record. This ‘Great Resignation’ is thought to be spurred by workers’ desires for better pay, more work flexibility, and a quest for better life satisfaction. And it’s not predicted to end anytime soon, as many have delayed switching jobs during the pandemic.
While many employers are focused on hiring in the post-pandemic world, it’s important not to overlook employee retention. Talk to your team members via stay interviews and engagement surveys to learn what they need from your organization—and do your best to create an exceptional employee experience. This likely includes remote work options, opportunities for development and promotion, fair compensation, and plenty of recognition.
Remote work opportunities have doubled
Pre-pandemic, around 2 percent of job postings were labeled as “remote” or included keywords like “work from home.” That increased to around 6 percent of job postings that mentioned remote work in May 2020, and around 14 percent that mentioned remote work in May 2021. That’s a 2.4x increase in about a year, with remote job postings continuing to trend upward.
A full 90 percent of employers plan to allow their team members to work remotely, at least some of the time, even after much of the population is vaccinated. However, those employers still would like to see their team members in the office at least three days a week in order to maintain their company culture.
Remote workers are more productive, efficient, and loyal
Employers with remote workers have realized many benefits:
- 52 percent have seen increased productivity
- 48 percent have reported increased efficiency
- 44 percent have seen increased employee morale
- 43 percent have witnessed increased employee loyalty and retention
- 27 percent say they’ve been able to hire the best and brightest
One in five say remote work leads to better diversity and inclusion
Social injustices have highlighted the importance for an increased focus on diversity and inclusion within organizations. Nineteen percent say remote work has been helpful in that regard. With remote work, organizations can hire from anywhere, widening and diversifying their talent pools.
Remote work is also well suited for hiring people with various abilities. Fourteen percent of remote workers have a disability or chronic illness, and 83 percent of those were only able to work because of remote opportunities.
Final thoughts on these remote work statistics
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the world of work. Workers want to continue working remotely, and they’re willing to change jobs in order to do it. Employers have seen the benefits of remote work, and many will continue offering remote work opportunities—if even just a day or two each week.
While remote work is a big step toward retaining team members in the ‘next normal,’ it needs to be part of a larger employee experience effort to be successful. Eight in 10 remote workers said their career development has been negatively affected over the past year. Fifteen percent of remote workers didn’t take any days off in the last year, and 46 percent took off a week or less. The average remote worker lost an estimated $9,800 in delayed or denied promotions, more than half felt burned out on a weekly basis. Make sure that employee development, promotions, merit-based raises, and time off to recharge are all part of your comprehensive employee experience strategy. Holistic thinking will help you better navigate the ‘next normal.”