Remote Work Statistics and the Impact of COVID

Over the years, technology has triumphed over the potential of the internet and personal computers.  The world has perceived modernization within the workplace, leading to a wider scale of work from home.  This has resulted in a reduction in office space, as well as the need for office workers to come into the office.   Reading through the information and observing an expanding body of research explores the benefits of working from remote locations for employers and employees.

Many situations arising within the remote working area have revealed improvements in employee productivity.  Certain Chinese Travel websites have been experimenting through a call center application where they had volunteers working from home.  They randomly selected the volunteers who were permitted to work from home, while the rest served at the control center within the office premises. 

During the experiment, the workers were allowed to work from home, given a specific target, and it was assured that they would be more productive.  They are also highly satisfied with the way they have been able to not only provide for themselves but enhance the work that is being performed within the organization. 

Remote working has made the work more creative.  This is particularly evident in the case of women who have young children, pets, or elders to care for.  They maintain greater flexibility when working remotely.  Hence, there has been a greater demand to work remotely, providing greater flexibility.  It challenges a broader adaptation to the range of work. The norms and stigma vary according to each individual.  It is also manageable because they set themselves a goal in addition to their allocated work goals. They also work as teams through WhatsApp and other communication channels.  They can interact with each other, but these do not face to face conferences, so the time spent commuting to the office is eliminated. 

COVID19

COVID-19 has led to a renewed interest in remote working.  Businesses face bleak changes, risking most local and physical companies.  Some companies have shut down or have transitioned from working from the office to working from home.  To understand exactly how businesses have adjusted to this crisis, surveys have been carried out among small establishments.  There is a wide set of industries that have looked at re-organizing their structures to accommodate working from home and working from remote locations to reduce the costs of overheads.  In other research articles, there have been decisions about working from home while trying to keep the network consistent within the organization.  This is seen in countries like the United States of America. 

The second sample of literature from the National Association of Business Economics has had discussions where governments have encouraged private companies to look into the option of making work available to their employees in a less restricted location.  Creating a more comfortable work environment that is safer for them, especially if they have children, working remotely is the suggestion that has been circulated.  This has seen a greater increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Feasibility is a real constraint for the business. As more people demanded to go remote, there were ethical issues that had to be faced by the organization.  It was not only a question of whether the company could transit to remote work but also whether a business could survive within such an environment. 

Transition

Business industries that were of higher income and had better-educated employees found it easier to transit, but for the workforce who were more into manual work, it was found to be more challenging.  This was the reason many of them lost their jobs. 

It was essential that the organization analyze the performance of the business, look at other reports, and discuss productivity and the changes required to work remotely.  The results that were observed and documented suggested that productivity was uneven. Many Firms were becoming less productive as a result of the evolution.  There was a myriad of small businesses that could not predict the cost of transition and the suitability of such progression for the organization.   It also resulted in a loss of productivity among the establishments with a lower capacity to work remotely.

Remote work is becoming one of the most desirable benefits for an employee.  It is freedom of work that an employee enjoys and the flexible hours that would motivate an employee.  Many individuals would not like to be confined to the corporate culture. To many, it might seem monotonous and stereotypical.  Many yearn to travel around, enjoying different involvements, yet they desire their pay rise, vacations, and medical and retirement plans.  This is why 40% of people put through an interview feel that the greatest benefit of remote work is flexibility. And this number is only going to increase over time.

Companies allow remote workers to have a 25% lower employee turnover.  Several of these workers would be more willing to remain with their current employers.  If they find their work flexible, people working remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happier. 

The number of employees who work from home has increased by 140% since 2005. 4.5 million workers just in the USA are working from home. 4.3 million of the workforce in the USA work from home at least half of the time. Taking world statistics into consideration, about 45% of companies permit remote work from home.

Statistics of working from home reveal how it has expanded over the last 10 years, that people are willing to work full time from home. This is because remote workers cost less.  Employers do not have to invest in office space, furniture, utility bills like water and electricity. There is no necessity for serving the employees tea and coffee or providing them with drinking water or office equipment that would bring down their profits. This also provides the space to offer better employee benefits without sacrificing anything else in the business.

Most employees prefer to maintain a work-life balance, and that improves their way of life as well as the work that they perform. They get a chance to be free and away from the office yet are available to handle the office work if an emergency arises.  There is a thread of benefits for remote workers and for the employees who are hired to carry out the work. 

Typical full-time contractors and co-workers are in a place where they need to be confined within the office space, but for many others, it is possible to work from a coffee shop or enjoy the sunshine while working on a park bench.  It allows them the opportunity of being a remote team or become nomads.  This enables their working environment to be even their vacation spot, or in their homes or an ice cream parlor.   This method yields working benefits not only for employees but for their employers as well, especially when it involves the company culture. 

Benefits

The employees would be saving on their travel expenses and time spent commuting to and from the office.   They would also be using their resources such as electricity and wi-fi to carry out their work or, in the case of some, their mobile phones or computers, but they could be given an allowance for this.  They would also be at the beck and call of their bosses at all times, irrespective of whether it is day or night. Other jobs don’t require you to be on-call but rather decide on your schedule as long as you put in enough hours.

There will be a definite change in the culture compared to the previous scenario when everyone had to come into the office to work.  It benefits the remote worker as it offers flexibility.  It is a critical area as most of them would try to balance life, especially with encumbrances at home. Sometimes, their concentration would be interrupted when they would have to give their children, pets, or elders attention or medication.  

When you are in that location, the attention span you are giving them and your work would be equally divided, making it possible for them to have their cake and eat it.  This also allows the organization to draw from a huge pool of talent. Effectively being able to hire from anywhere in the world, finding the best fit.

When people are working from remote workplaces, they need not necessarily have to be in the same country.  It could be from a global point of view.  People can work on the same project from different global perspectives and accomplish it, so there is a greater pool of talent coming in to do one particular job. 

Looking at it from the employee’s outlook, there is an increasing number of employees who would prefer to have flexible working hours.  There are new job applications that turn down any offer that does not include the option of flexibility of work.  There is a hierarchy like the Consultants, the VPS, and Executives of major companies who prefer to work remotely. 

When employees are happy, retention levels are high.  The cost of hiring, selecting, and training is less as it is accomplished online.  There is no presence required.  There is also no training cost incurred as much as there would be with employees coming into the office and having to conduct a training session for them at a specific venue. 

Critically, for many companies, the office space and real estate costs have been cut down, which could even be cascaded down onto the employees. 

Remote work is quite challenging since you must always be on top of your work without the additional pressure from “the office”. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Remote work challenges are transforming the global workspace operation.  It is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down.  Remote work is rapidly increasing globally.  An increasing number of people are looking for work that has flexible schedules from remote locations.  They are either working full-time or part-time as companies are now embracing and expanding with a greater desire to use flexible work options.    This is seen in digital marketing, development, sales, customer and technical support copywriting, translations, and many more jobs.  Remote work is expanding in many sectors for which locations of workers are not relevant, but their knowledge and experience play a vital role. Even if such a field doesn’t exist in the remote realm just yet, it’s simply because technology hasn’t caught up to allow for that. Given time, it will happen.

Freelancing too is on the increase.  In the case of remote work, certain benefits like medical and transport allowances can be retracted, especially when working for an overseas company.  Most remote people prefer to work from home.  Digital nomads have been flexible, whether they work from home or an outside location.  For many remote workers, it is all about savings. 

Remove workers declare that they save US$ 2,000 to 7,000 annually because they have reduced their cost of commuting as well as the time spent traveling to and from the office.  There are certain instances when one must travel overseas, which has now come to a halt due to COVID-19.  Subsequently moving on, they have video conferencing, skype, emailing, and other forms of communications that they can utilize to get their work accomplished. 

Another aspect they save on is clothing and the daily use of cosmetics, lotions, and perfumes.  They do not have to adhere to a dress code when working remotely. Being at home, one would not be spending much money on meals, as consuming home-prepared meals is much cheaper than having to go to a restaurant or having to purchase your meals from an outside location.

Another area that remote workers enjoy is childcare and the time that they get to spend with their children and their pets. This would reduce the cost of paying someone to look after their children, and the flexible hours will help them take care of their children’s studies as well. 

They find themselves happier, less stressed, and can balance their work-life effectively. Working remotely is known to reduce stress, improve one’s health, and benefit their family life. Not to mention that they now have more time to take care of themselves, exercise, and stay healthy for a longer time.

For Professionals who are living in small towns or developing countries, these remote workers are granted the opportunity to develop their careers. They now have access to the best firms while they are working from home, as they are also able to balance their education as there are plenty of educational courses available through remote affiliations. This does not have limitations like spending time in a classroom, and many companies accept this kind of qualification which will add to career progression.

The flexible hours of work have a positive impact on employee satisfaction which is a contributory factor in employee retention.   Companies find that employees are more loyal and are likely to stay at their jobs for a longer period. 

Working from a remote location means that there is a greater opportunity to tap into a pool of talent.  The employees are no longer restricted to hiring local professionals but can even tap into talent overseas.  There would be no necessity of hiring expatriates, arranging accommodation, finding schools for their children, and providing vehicles for their use. 

Working from a remote workplace also improves employee morale, leading to lower employee turnover.  Employees are satisfied with their jobs and are willing to make a greater commitment toward the betterment of the organization.

The environment too benefits immensely as reports emerged globally of blue skies becoming visible for the first time in the lifetime of some people during COVID-19.  Vehicular traffic, one of the main sources of NO2 emissions, was reduced dramatically during the pandemic.  Animals started visiting previously overly saturated places.

Drawbacks

As much as there are advantages, there are always disadvantages.  Remote workers are more prone to be workaholics, especially when they need to meet deadlines.  There is a tendency to be overloaded with work because, in most instances, the employer cannot see the employees and may assume that they are taking it easy.  Certain workers have reported difficulties in switching from work to leisure activities or finding a proper time for their meals.  These areas could be worked around by getting co-workers involved.  Hence it is more advisable to keep a record of work performed. 

Human interaction is limited when working from remote locations. Hence the character of remote workers changes completely and could transform an extrovert into an introvert. If remote workers are living alone and working within their homes, loneliness could spiral down to mental and health issues.  These factors could be easily avoided by working with a co-worker for a couple of days a week, having regular meetings with colleagues, or going out with friends.

Or at least that’s how it may seem at first. For the exact reason, that remote companies thrive on communication. Without proper communication, it’s easy to perish and underperform. Between constant forums, video calls, messaging, asynchronous work on projects, and physical company retreats and meetups, I’d argue there’s far more communication being done. And of higher quality, too.

Remote professionals need to be highly disciplined.  They could face several distractions and challenges, which might not be the case if they were in an office (although offices have their own distractions).  When you are working from home, and you are your boss, there can be occasions when non-work-related issues could interfere with your work and concentration.

This would arise in a situation where you have to care for a child or an elderly parent, and this could cause distractions that would be avoided at the workplace. 

You must prioritize. You must track and plan all of your tasks. You gotta stay on top of your personal life while keeping it separate from your work life. “Working from home” can be easily blurred into “Living at work” if you are not careful.

When working remotely, writing and communicating with clients and colleagues is a keystone requirement.  Project tools could be used in this scenario to make the work easier and livelier. Remote focus is placed on tools, services, and resources.  Virtual workplace tools are focused on facilitating collaboration and communication. This is a mindful process that requires focus and experimentation until you find what works best for you.

The current trend is that remote work is expected to move into the society we live in. 

Regulation

As an organization works online and improves, there will be protocols that have to be followed.  Better protection focus on a remote working organization is expected since there must be policies, DR sites, and an assurance that the risk is mitigated.  There will be remote working professionals, especially in Travels.  There will be faster more reliable internet connections. There will be handbooks and references that they could follow.   These are already visible trends that are in the process of developing. 

As generations advance, there are more employees expected in the market.  This is loosely defined as a generation bond between 1990 and early 2000s.  They are already equipped with the digital skills that are required for remote workers.  For many of them, remote will be the default work setting that will facilitate further remote work, made popular among the younger generation.  

It is more difficult with remote-based teams because there is no connectivity, no feelings valued or putting people on a pedestal.  It is one on one communication only, without any physical interaction.  It potentially leads to less cohesive groups.  This is a common problem that an employer would face as they give in to more remote working.   Beyond the implementation of video chatting, reviewing workflows, communication protocols, and collaborative frameworks they are all integrated into the remote field.  It is also used as a hybrid to promote a work environment.   They do incentivize fluid communication and better engagement and do not isolate workers in any way. 

Parity in pay

Pay is a very sensitive subject of discussion.  A symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness in improving gender pay gaps between men and women has been called upon.  Hence even if they are working from a remote location, there is equal pay which is expected, especially as these individuals would expect career development.   In countries like the USA, there is always a parity of salary between males and females.   Many researchers have shown that people who work in offices earn more than those who work remotely.    There is also a gender gap where male remote workers earn more than female remote workers.  The root of this parity of salary between genders probably stems from the fact that in ancient times a woman’s place was supposed to be at home, cooking, cleaning, and raising children. 

There is yet a parity that seems to prefer men working from home to women working from home.   It is now apparent that women can balance more than the several chores they perform at home, like cooking, cleaning the house, raising children, looking after their homework, driving them to school, or classes, and attending to their careers although most men would be reluctant to applaud this. Working remotely enables women to work at more jobs than one.    Yet some specialized women earn as much or more than men do when working from home. 

Women who work remotely full time are likely to earn more than female managers who never work remotely.  Men have been given a better chance at career growth than the contribution of women.   There seems to be a perception that women will pay more attention to their families than to their work when working from home, unlike men who have only to focus on the work that he does, although a new emerging trend is that more and more men are getting involved with housework and looking after their children.

Statistics

The statistical analysis of a hybrid working team that works remotely is highly admirable.  In the USA itself remote workers work full time 66% more frequently than the global average.  24% or the USA workers work remotely at least once a month, 48% of remote workers at least once a week, 30% of remotely work full time.  This is on remote work telecommunication statistics as of 2019 which gives an amazing description that there is 18% or executives working remotely than others who are working onsite.    There are also industries where most workers work remotely, usually in Technology, Education, but then there is Healthcare manufacturing which requires employees to work on-site.  Departments are the greatest remote work participation which includes facilities, operation, IT which is about 18%. Customer support service success is about 14%, sales are about 13%, and administration is about 11%.  Remote workers’ salaries are higher than 100,000 per year.  Remote workers say that they are happy with the job.  29% more than onsite workers. 75% of the remote workers say that they are happy in their jobs and only 55% of onsite workers say that they are happy in their job.  35% of the USA workers would have received a pay cut of 5% after working remotely.  42% of the remote workers plan to work remotely more frequently in the next 5 years.  55% of the remote workers are likely to look into another job if they are not allowed to work remotely.  68% of the remote workers are concerned about working remotely who are not willing to impact their career progression and are looking for career progression along with promotions. The top reasons for remote workers chose to work remotely were for better work-life balance which was 95%.  For increasing productivity, less focus is 79% less stress is 78% avoiding commuting is 78%.  Remote workers say that they work 40 hours more per week 43% more than onsite workers do.  However onsite workers are also working long weeks because it is required of them while more remote workers are doing this because they enjoy doing so. 

Conclusion

During COVID lockdown, a global pandemic took place, and many were expected to work remotely.   Companies around the world were forced to work from home, the biggest work shift ever and most of them faced the same problems.  They found the same positivity as discussed above even through covid19 but looking at making it a success.  Working remotely there needs to be the presence of a collaboration platform that matters when keeping companying hours.  Many feel pressured to let others know what they are doing, whether it is correct, whether they have completed a task, or are meeting deadlines.  They also need to get their supervisor’s approval, so they needed to have continuous interaction, and this has to be understood by the seniors of the organization they are working for.

Always the best placement for interaction is with co-workers as much as it is with their immediate supervisors, so they can use hangout, google, WhatsApp to facilitate such a collaboration. You can hold conference calls, share files, and there are so many tools available with the development of technology. These tools can be easily used to connect with someone.  You can even see them online.  It is not only their voices that you could hear, but their reactions were visible over the phone, and this communication is being improved.  They can also record messages for further references or any other instructions that needed to be followed.  Many would miss the camaraderie of working alongside others.  There will be a co-worker’s space emerging.  That is only available in a conventional office.  It will not be the same for many, especially if it is a large company and you meet a large number of people.  

Working remotely is all about flexibility.  The remote worker often describes their routine as working in sprints.  It is important to minimize distractions.  Make sure you do not get sidetracked with home duties like social media, Netflix, and watching videos during the time you would spend at work.  Take a short breather every 2 hours as this will help you to be more productive to an extent it even allows you a 15-minute quick nap will help you to resume your work in a fresh state.

Their flexibility is available for people to perform their work wearing comfortable attire like T-shirts and sweatpants.  Generally, it is recommended that even if you are working remotely, you get dressed in a substantial amount of clothing that moves you away from the bedding scenario to one that is more work-based.  Similarly, there should be a dedicated workspace although it could even be a desk in the corner of a room or even a coffee table.  In the event the employers want to host an annual gathering, the remote team members could gather together for a weekend of fellowship.  Other challenges that one would encounter within such a workplace would be the complication of taxes, files with multiple statements of records, and expenses for the deduction.  The reality would make it somewhat beholden to technology which may not go over very well in the case of tech-savvy employees.  It may also be difficult to ensure stable internet connections in rural areas.

Perhaps the most common misconception about remote working is that most of the time would be spent browsing through social media without having employees looking over their shoulders.  Remote work would be most suitable for areas like data entry and X type of jobs.  In the case of a mother working remotely, there would be times when she would need to employ childcare depending on the level of focus needed for the type of work she has to handle. There is a fear that professional development they possess may not be recognized if it is mentioned in their resume that they work from home.  This is gradually being overcome as working from remote locations is now becoming more and more popular.

There are many places where remote work could be found, and in the USA alone, there are telemarketers who make this type of service available in addition to writing blogs, and it is on the upward trend. 

All in all, the remote worker needs to meet targets and in doing so, ensure an increase in the profitability of the organization.  Although there is flexibility, there are also results that could be seen in ROI and ROE in an organization.  This, in turn, will benefit the employee in the long run and this will help enhance his position even though he is working remotely.     

The main takeaway from that is that remote work is growing every year, and will continue to grow in the future as our technology improves.

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