2020 became the year of remote work for unfortunate reasons.

Pandemic, quarantine, internet, social distancing, governments… Everything changed way too fast for companies to adapt.

See, companies have been adopting remote work for many years ever since Basecamp was the best project management tool — and successfully.

But not every company had the luxury of implementing a polished remote work policy overnight when they were forced to do it for safety reasons. Hence the mixed opinions about WFH.

So what can we say about remote work these days? What has been happening?

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves and show 20 remote work statistics to help you understand the current state of remote work during this pandemic.

Key Work-From-Home Statistics You Need to Know

Following are the most recent statistics related to remote work.

We’re going to cover many sections and analyze what these statistics mean for your business and what you can do to incorporate remote work as smoothly and securely as possible in your company.

Remote Workers Population

  • During the pandemic, 70% of full-time workers in the U.S are working remotely. (owl labs)
  • Employees working remotely for 5+ days a week (full-time) went from 17% before COVID-19 to 44% after COVID-19. (Statista)
  • 98% of remote workers want to keep working remotely (at least some of the time) for the rest of their careers. (Buffer)
  • After COVID-19, half of the people don’t want a return to jobs if they don’t offer remote work as an option. (owl labs)
  • Workplaces in the U.S working full on-site increased from 28% in April 2020 to 46% in September. (Gallup)

We can see how remote work has impacted our new lives. A significant part of the workforce is now working out of the office.

But that’s not all; it seems like when someone tries to work from home, they want to keep doing it! Meaning that it has some positive impact on people (we’ll cover this later).

However, although remote work is here to stay, the massive trend won’t last forever as it looks like people (in the U.S) are returning to go back to the workplace while things start to normalize.

So regardless of how great the WFH policies have worked, many companies will go back to work on-site as soon as they get the chance. In contrast, others will keep leveraging the benefits of working remotely.

How Companies are Handling Remote Work

  • Only 20-25% of companies pay or share the cost of home office equipment, furniture, cable, chair (owl labs). And Over 70% don’t pay monthly expenses associated with remote work like internet bills, phone bills, and coworking memberships. (Buffer)
  • In video meetings, 44% of surveyed people did not find it necessary to get dressed up (clothing, hair, makeup). (owl labs)
  • 60% of companies have a mix of full-time remote workers and office workers. While 30% of companies work full remotely. (Buffer)

Many companies (especially those who are not in Software) can’t operate 100% remotely. So what they do is send a part of their team to the office to attend physical matters while the rest work from their homes.

Now, it looks like while in the rush of adapting home offices, most companies didn’t care to cover all the associated expenses of having a remote setup, such as reliable internet, desks, and recurrent costs.

This is not a good sign because it means that all of that came from the employee’s pockets, and setting up a decent home office can take a good bunch of your salary if it wasn’t expected.

So it might be a good practice to cover your employee’s remote set up to make it easier for them to build an efficient home office where they can work properly. And not from a budget living room setup.

What’s a bit interesting, it seems like almost half of people don’t get “properly” dressed up for video meetings, maybe because it’s not practical to overdress only to stay in your house.

But if one thing is sure… You do need to wear pants!

Remote Work Productivity and Other Benefits

  • 75% of people are equally or more productive during COVID-19 while working from home. And 79% believe that video conferences are the same or more productive than regular meetings.  (owl labs)
  • 72% of remote workers agree that the ability to work remotely would make them less stressed, and 77% report that working remotely would make them better able to manage work-life balance.  (owl labs)
  • 37% of companies with more remote workers before quarantine said they’re seeing increased employee productivity during the crisis. (The Conference Board)

According to Owl Labs study, the myth that remote work is less productive has been busted as most people surveyed affirm that their productivity stayed the same or even improved when shifting to WFH, including the video meetings.

In fact, according to another report, the companies that already had remote workers before the pandemic are increasing their productivity. This, because they already figured how to manage remote employees effectively, gave them an advantageous edge over the rest of the companies forced to adapt.

It is also a known benefit that working from home reduces employee stress and helps them manage their work-life balance according to their needs. This might be because of the ability to work under flexible schedules, work from anywhere, and the fact that there’s less perceived pressure at home than on-site.

Remote work tends to have a massive positive impact on workers’ schedules. Sleep and success are more closely related than most employers realize, and allowing employees to work remotely can mean they save time on commuting and use their day more efficiently. They also tend to be well-rested in general.

Challenges When Working from Home

  • Facing interruptions while working, struggles to stay focused, and issues with the internet connection are the top 3 challenges remote workers face when working from home. (owl labs)
  • 40% of remote employees struggle with communication, collaboration, and loneliness. (Buffer)
  • 37% of IT leaders said employees didn’t have the right tools to work remotely when the transition was first made. (BDaily UK)
  • Accessing VPN (38%), reliable Wi-Fi connectivity (37%), and using video conferencing apps (35%) became the principal challenges of employees during their transition to remote. (BDaily UK)

Not everything is beneficial. When working from home, some significant challenges include constant interruptions by pets, kids, or unexpected matters at home—making it harder to focus on the tasks. Plus, the exhaustion caused by the constant meeting calls.

Technical issues such as inefficient internet connections and problems with communication/collaboration tools make it to the list. This represents the importance of ensuring a decent internet connection for your remote employees and the proper training if they’re not familiar with the tools you use at your company.

Due to these issues, your IT team needs to provide the right guidance to work from home without these struggles properly, especially when implementing the right project management software, building an accessible knowledge base, and giving the proper training.

Security Aspects of WFH

  • 53% of remote employees are using a personal computer to work from home, and also said none of the devices they use were supervised by their employer. (IBM)
  • 40% of employees have experienced mental exhaustion from video calls while working remotely. (Twingate)
  • 58% of employees reported discussing sensitive information on work video calls. And over 1 in 10 employees had their video calls hacked while working remotely. (Twingate)
  • 22% of employees working from home purchased a VPN during the pandemic. (Twingate)

What’s worrying about the WFH trend are the cybersecurity issues that remote workers are facing right now. According to the Twingate study, a stunning 10% of employees had their video calls hacked, while half of them shared sensitive information on meeting calls.

This puts your company’s information at risk, making it easy for hackers to get the data they need to eventually hack your systems.

Due to this issue, some telecommuters have purchased a VPN to increase their security, which might mitigate the problem but not solve it completely.

It’s here when it’s most critical to invest in cybersecurity products and services when managing a remote team, or your company might face some cybersecurity problems.

Conclusion

Remote work is here to stay.

According to what these stats have been showing, we can say that it is a great idea to create remote work opportunities in your company as long as you follow the correct implementation.

We know that your productivity will most likely not get affected by the change, that your video meetings will bring more value, and that your employees will probably get more engaged with their job.

It’s also crucial to be aware of the challenges you may face, such as connectivity issues, team communication, and cybersecurity threats. Take proper measures to implement an effective remote workflow.

If you want to prepare for 2021, you know that you need to take all these factors into account.

But most importantly, you need to keep yourself and your coworkers healthy during the pandemic, following rigid hygiene norms, and keeping your people out of danger.

Take this post as a way to fight back. And embrace remote work!