Hiring and Retention

How COVID has changed remote work for Americans

Telework could be here to stay 

Working remotely has its benefits—it eliminates your commute and offers more time for exercise and family meals (at least hypothetically). Turns out, people seem to enjoy the setup. Pew® found that more than half (54%) of adults with jobs they can mostly do from home would like to continue working remotely when the pandemic ends. Part of the reason is that many respondents who work from home at least most of the time found the transition manageable. As Pew explains: 

●      87% had an easy time accessing the tech they needed. 

●      80% met deadlines. 

●      77% easily created a place to work at home. 

●      64% felt motivated. 

The more things change, the more they stay the same 

Since the pandemic started, many companies have focused on bringing “the culture of work” into remote employees’ homes. It’s working. About three-quarters of those still in their preoutbreak job say they have the same promotion opportunities and that there’s been no change in understanding what’s expected of them. Another 70% say their job security remains unchanged, and 68% feel they have the same level of flexibility to work when they want to. When it comes to job satisfaction, more than 60% are as content with their roles now as they were before. 

Education matters 

Adults with advanced degrees and high incomes are most likely to say they can work from home. In comparison, less than a quarter (23%) of workers without a four-year college degree say they can perform their jobs remotely. Pew found that lower- and middle-income workers are less likely to be able to work remotely, and thus they are more concerned about exposure to COVID-19. 

Age matters too 

While most adults working remotely all or most of the time have stayed motivated on the job since the pandemic began, young people are having more trouble. Among workers ages 18-49, 42% have struggled to stay motivated, compared with 20% of those 50 and older. The least motivated? The youngest cohort: 53% of workers 18 to 29 say it’s been difficult to feel driven to work. 

Parents are coping—barely 

Most working parents will tell you that 2020 was one of the hardest of their adult lives. So if you have moms and dads on your remote teams, keep the following in mind: Half of parents, both mothers and fathers, who work remotely all or most of the time and have kids under 18 say it’s been challenging for them to work without interruptions. Only a fifth of those without kids at home say the same thing. 

Most workers have adjusted to video chat 

Video and instant messaging platforms are the heart of remote work, helping employees stay connected. Since the pandemic, much has been written (including by us) about the negative effects of video burnout. But according to Pew, it isn’t all bad. 

About 81% of adults working from home most or all of the time use virtual-conferencing platforms at least some of the time. Another 59% use them often, and of that group, 63% are “fine” with the amount of time they’re on virtual calls, while 37% say they’re worn out. 

Big picture, video and instant messaging works for most people, but not everyone: 65% of teleworkers say they’re good stand-ins for working in the office. Another 35% disagree. 

Concerns about COVID-19 remain 

If you oversee teams working in the office, remember the health sacrifices they’re making. Roughly half of people interacting with others for work are concerned about their exposure; they’re also worried they might inadvertently spread the illness while on the job.