98 Percent of Current Teleworkers Want to Work Remotely for Life
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If you're not familiar with being a remote worker (a.k.a. a telecommuter or teleworker) doing the work-from-home (WFH) thing, well, you're probably going to be soon. The effort to stop the stampeding spread of COVID-19, before the pandemic becomes a precursor to pure dystopia, revolves around one thing: getting people not to congregate. That means letting (or forcing) employees to WFH until things are looking up.
Plenty of people have been working remotely for years, and that's why Buffer puts out an annual State of Remote Work report (along with AngelList this time). Buffer—a 100-percent-remote-employee company—recently surveyed 3,500 teleworkers, the most they've ever included, to see how people feel about their remote-work situations. This was all pre-coronavirus, mind you.
The most important number of all is right there at the top: A full 98 percent of those surveyed want to work remotely for the rest of their careers, at least sometimes. Amazingly, that number is down 1 percent from 2019!
Likewise, 97 percent would recommend it to others. With COVID-19 forcing WFH on people, that number might go down next year. But then again, people might get a taste for WFH and love it all the more.
Only 57 percent of respondents actually work from home full-time. The next-highest percentage, about 16.5 percent, do it the majority of the time. The third-highest group, 10 percent, do it very little, maybe one day a week. 70 percent of them are happy with the amount of time they work at home; 19 percent would like to do it more.
The survey also asks specifically what the benefits and struggles are with remote work. The top benefit is flexibility in schedule and in location. (Why not go with your spouse on their business trip to Hawaii? You can still work all day in the hotel!)
The struggle is real, however, when it comes to collaboration and loneliness. Each gets a 20 percent rating for what people struggle with the most. Not far behind is that 18 percent of remote workers can't get unplugged from work.
Wondering where most remote workers actually are during the day? 80 percent are at home, as you'd expect. Seven percent are at co-working spaces, and 3 percent are at coffee shops (27 percent list coffee shops as a prime secondary location, when necessary). And even those who are primarily WFH spend about 9 percent of their time going to the office.
Next is the stance that respondents' employers take in letting people work from home. This is a chart that is surely going to change a lot in the next year, as the world lives through (and hopefully, recovers fully from) this coronavirus. But only 30 percent of those surveyed worked for a company that allows everyone to work remotely. The majority, 43 percent, had teams that were split—15 percent were allowed to work at home as needed. 2021 will likely look far different.
There's a lot more to this report, including deep dives into some of the answers. For example, why would 3 percent of remote workers not recommend it for others? The answers are interesting, and you should read them all in the full report at Buffer. Now go wash your hands.