Most U.S. employees now work from home temporarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees say the top advantages of working remotely are no commute and a more flexible schedule, while the biggest challenges are lack of collaboration and frequent interruptions.
More employees are working from home than ever before, and companies are adjusting to this new team dynamic.
Clutch surveyed 365 workers across the country about their working-from-home habits and what they like and dislike about remote work. We found that 66% of employees currently work from home at least part of the week as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Although workers are split on whether they’d rather work remotely or in an office, most say remote work has both benefits and challenges.
- Nearly half of U.S. workers (44%) are currently working from home 5 or more days per week as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, up from 17% before the pandemic.
- There isn’t a consensus on workers’ preferred workspace: 39% would prefer to work in an office, while 40% would rather work remotely.
- Not having a commute (47%), a more flexible schedule (43%), and not having to dress up (33%) are the three biggest benefits of working from home.
- Difficulty collaborating with co-workers (33%), frequent interruptions (27%), and problems sticking to a routine (26%) are the three biggest challenges of remote work.
- The top collaboration tools for remote workers are Zoom (36%), Microsoft Teams (19%), and Skype (17%).
Nearly Half of U.S. Employees Are Working From Home Full-Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic
About two-thirds of employees (66%) are currently working remotely at least once per week as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, 17% of U.S. employees worked from home 5 days or more per week. Now, that number is up to 44%.
Just 34% of the workforce has not shifted to any remote work during the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has made many office employees remote workers.
Workers Are Split on If They’d Rather Work From Home or in an Office
Over the past month, the American workforce has had time to evaluate their opinion of remote work, and employees are split on how they feel.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) of workers would rather work in an office, while 40% would rather work remotely. About 21% have no preference.
The pandemic will alter some companies’ work environments permanently. Certain companies plan to allow more remote work even after the COVID-19 outbreak ends.
“We may keep this structure if staff prefer it, as it would give a good balance between the benefits of home-working and office-based working,” Founder Neil Andrew said.
Employees are split on their workplace preferences, and many businesses plan to cater to these differing opinions by mixing remote work with office work, even after the pandemic.
Lack of Commute and More Flexible Schedule Are Top Benefits of Working From Home
We found the top advantages of working from home are a lack of commute (47%) and a more flexible schedule (43%).
Other advantages of working from home include not having to dress up (33%), fewer distractions (28%), and more time with family, roommates, and pets (25%).
Many workers are taking advantage of the time and flexibility they gained from not commuting.
“With the extra time, I have been able to start running and have more time for my own hobbies.”
People have saved hours of time not commuting during the pandemic, which leads to a more flexible schedule.
Difficulty Collaborating With Colleagues and Frequent Interruptions Are Top Challenges of Working From Home
One-third of workers (33%) say the biggest challenge of remote work is that it’s harder to collaborate with co-workers.
Around one-quarter of respondents say they struggle with interruptions while working from home (27%) and that it’s harder to stick to a routine (26%) and stop working at the end of the day (22%).
“Before this, I could simply ask someone a quick question when they sat next to me,” Worrall said. “Instead, I’ll email them, they take a while to respond, so I’ll call, and it takes up a little too much time.”
Reaching out to a colleague online can be more time-consuming than a quick in-person interaction.
Other workers find working from home distracting, such as T.Y. Hlangwane, of PR firm Magnolia Haus Communications.
“There is always something to do at home: books, TV, kids, and many more distractions at every turn,” he said. “It takes a truly disciplined individual to work at home.”
“It takes a truly disciplined individual to work at home.”
Employees struggle with communicating with colleagues and interruptions when working from home.
Collaboration Tools Increase Communication While Working From Home
Modern technology makes remote work easier than ever before, and companies use a variety of collaborative tools to keep employees in contact with one another.
Currently, more than one-third of employees use Zoom (36%) when working from home, followed by Microsoft Teams (19%) and Skype (17%).
Collaboration tools help ease the challenges of remote work by letting employees communicate seamlessly.
“It means we get some face-time with each other, so we get those water-cooler moments even if not physically together,” Managing Editor Nushy Rose said. “Keeping camaraderie up is essential in times like this.”
“Keeping camaraderie up is essential in times like this.”
Rather than waiting for a response to an email or phone call, collaboration tools let people interact with each other in real-time, which reduces communication issues many face with remote work.
Remote Work Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon
Workers enjoy not having to commute and the flexibility remote working provides, but they struggle with collaborating with colleagues and frequent interruptions.
Businesses should have open conversations with their employees about their successes and struggles with remote working to help make their workday as productive as possible.
About the Survey
Clutch surveyed 365 workers across the U.S.
Forty-three percent (43%) of respondents are female; 35% are male; 22% are unknown.
Respondents are 18-24 (8%); 25-34 (14%); 35-44 (15%); 45-54 (13%); 55-64 (11%); 65 and older (11%); and unknown (27%).