For years, some employees could only dream about having the ability to work from home, forgoing the commute, working in their pajamas, and spending more time with family. While it wasn’t the way many had envisioned this dream coming true, the coronavirus did, at least temporarily, turn millions of Americans into a remote employee.
Although COVID-19 has not been contained, much of the country has been slowly reopening (with a few rollbacks along the way, natch) to keep the economy moving forward. However, in light of some recent coronavirus surges, many are wondering if employees, at least the ones that can, should just keep working from home.
Work from Home Statistics during the Coronavirus
Recent work from home statistics from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that there has been an unsurprising uptick in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the work from home survey, which involved 550 U.S. employers in mid-March:
- 67% were taking steps to allow employees to work remotely
- 36% were actively encouraging employees to work remotely
- 42% were encouraging employees to work from home on a case-by-case basis
“[The coronavirus] has changed the nature of how many do business,” says Erik Day, Senior Vice President of Small Business at Dell Technologies. “Organizations have been forced to evaluate their remote workforce and IT offerings in new ways at an unprecedented rate.”
To his point, healthcare practitioners turned to telemedicine, teachers conducted classes virtually, therapists spoke with patients via chat, financial centers became call centers, and grocery stores, bars, and restaurants shifted from in-person experiences to home delivery.
Ultimately, as the country reopens, It will be up to each individual organization to determine if this unprecedented work from home “experiment” was successful and whether they want to adopt a full-time work from home model, a flexible work from home model, or go back to how things were pre-pandemic.
Benefits of Working from Home
Now that nearly all organizations that have the ability to work from home (WFH) have had a trial run, what’s next? Is WFH the future for these businesses?
ZenBusiness recently surveyed 1,035 remote workers about their WFH experiences. Nearly 50% of respondents stated that they felt more productive when working away from the office. That’s not all; 60% felt their mental health improved and more than 40% claimed to be exercising more.
Of course, remote work also benefits businesses by saving them money. A Global Workplace Analytics report reveals that a typical employer can save about $11,000 a year per half-time telecommuter, with primary savings coming from “increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and better disaster preparedness.” For a company with 50 employees, that’s more than half a million dollars each year!
And then there are the environmental benefits. When employees telecommute, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel and energy usage, and office waste are all reduced.
Challenges of Working from Home
Seeing all the benefits of remote work above, it’s tempting to say, “let’s do it!” and institute a full-time WFH policy. However, it’s only fair to look at some of the challenges that come with working remotely.
According to the 2019 State of Remote Report, which was released prior to the COVID-19 crisis, employees working from home struggled with the following:
- 22% – Unplugging after work
- 19% – Loneliness
- 17% – Collaboration
- 10% – Distractions at home
- 8% – Staying motivated
- 7% – Taking vacation time
- 4% – Other
- 2% – Finding reliable WiFi
Of course, these are just employee concerns; employers need to consider employees abusing WFH policies and other matters. We cover some more working from home pros and cons in more depth in our blog, Why You Should Consider a Work from Home Survey.
Use a Work from Home Survey to Get Employee Feedback
Is working from home permanently right for your company? Whether the move to remote work has proven to be a success or a failure during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s left companies across all industries with questions about the viability of full-time remote employees and how to create effective remote employee policies.
One way to get some answers is through WFH online surveys. Now that you have a better understanding of some of the pros and cons of remote work, you can craft questions about your WFH “experiment” and create employee surveys to collect their opinions on the success of it, and their thoughts on instituting a permanent or flexible WFH policy. You could even collect some “working from home tips” from top-performing employees to share with the rest of your staff to improve productivity. Be sure to read our blog, 25 Employee Survey Questions on COVID Return to Work Guidelines for more help creating your working from home online survey.
While there has been a steady increase in employees working from home year over year, COVID-19 gave it one very big push. Now, for some companies, there may be no turning back. Now that we’ve covered some common working from home pros and cons, is it time for your employees to weigh in on the matter?
Create your COVID working from online surveys with SurveyLegend. Our surveys are pre-designed—making them easy to create—and they’re both responsive and secure. Check out some of our Employee/Company templates here, and then get started creating your work from home surveys with SurveyLegend for free!
Is the office a thing of the past? Or is WFH just temporary? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Surveyed employees have reported feeling more productive conducting work remotely and that their mental and physical health had improved.
Surveyed employees have reported having difficulty unplugging from work, collaborating, and staying motivated. They’ve also reported feeling lonely or distracted.
Surveys show that more companies are encouraging or at least allowing employees to work remotely during the pandemic.
An email survey can be created to gauge employees’ thoughts on working from home using an online survey platform like SurveyLegend.