State of Remote Work

How employees across the US feel about working remotely in a post- COVID-19 world, their new workplace expectations and what employers need to know to recruit and retain top talent.

2020 is the year the world went remote.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations around the world to quickly adapt to a new remote reality, in some cases for the first time, in the largest work-from-home shift ever. We’ve officially fast-tracked to the future of work.

Meetings suddenly became Zoom meetings, with video calls happening 50% more than before COVID-19. Not only did people embrace remote work, they have now grown to expect it. After six months of working from home full-time, we learned that one in two U.S workers won’t return to a job that doesn’t offer remote work as an option.

For Owl Labs’ 4th annual State of Remote Work report, we partnered with the leading remote analytics firm, Global Workplace Analytics, to learn more about the current state of remote work in 2020 and what lies ahead. We wanted to uncover remote work statistics and gather the current work from home trends to provide you with a comprehensive remote work benchmark report during COVID-19.

In this report, you’ll learn:

  • How people are adapting to remote work
  • How companies are handling the COVID-19 guidelines for telework
  • Current remote work statistics and trends
  • How the new work-from-anywhere movement affects lifestyle decisions
  • What leaders and companies should know to support today’s employees’ needs
  • How key findings from 2020 compare to the Owl Labs State of Remote Work Report from 2019

Executive Summary

In this survey, we learned that almost 70% of full time workers in the United States are working from home during COVID-19. While working remotely, individuals are facing a more difficult balance between home life and work, adapting new technology by leveraging video meetings, and staying productive in their home offices (or closets for 15% of survey respondents.) During COVID-19, there have been unexpected benefits and challenges—people are saving almost $500 per month on additional expenses, however, one in five reports working more hours per week during the pandemic.

Despite difficult circumstances for working remotely, 77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19, having the option to work from home would make them happier.

Leaders and managers: 80% of full-time workers expect to work from home at least three times per week after COVID-19 guidelines are lifted and companies and workspaces are able to re-open.

Remote Work Statistics and Trends During COVID-19

  1. Almost 70% of full-time workers in the U.S are working from home during COVID-19
  2. 1 in 2 people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19
  3. 77% of respondents agree that after COVID-19, being able to work from home (WFH) would make them happier
  4. 75% of people are the same or more productive during COVID-19 while working from home
  5. In 2020, people are using video meetings 50% more than pre-COVID-19
  6. 1 in 2 people would move if they were able to WFH all or most of the time
  7. Working remotely saves 40 minutes daily on commute
  8. In 2020 after COVID-19, 80% expect to work from home at least 3x/week
  9. 1 in 5 people report working more during COVID-19
  10. Only 20-25% of companies pay or share the cost of home office equipment, furniture, cable, chair
  11. 80% agree that there should be one day a week with no meetings at all
  12. 81% of respondents think their employer will support remote work after COVID-19
  13. 23% of full-time employees are willing to take a pay cut of over 10% in order to work from home at least some of the time
  14. 44% did not find it necessary to get dressed up (think: clothing, hair, makeup) for a video meeting
  15. During COVID-19, on average, people are saving $479.20 per month

Table of Contents

Section 1 – Who They Are – Background and Demographics

Section 2 – Remote Work is the New Norm

Section 3 – Communication Reinvented (due to COVID-19)

Section 4 – COVID-19 Cautions

Section 5 – A New Era of Professionalism

Section 6 – Next Stop: Suburbia

Section 7 – Remote Work is the Preferred Way to Work

Section 8 – Remote Work Benefits: Employer Edition

Read more

The 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Cloud Solutions

We believe there are many reasons to migrate your organisation’s applications to the cloud, not least of which are cost savings, streamlined operations, redeployment of resources, reskilling of your internal teams and talent retention.  

In this blog, I answer the five most common questions I get asked about moving applications to the cloud, so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right thing for your organisation.  

1. Is it secure and where is my data? 

“Is it secure?”  is one of the most commonly asked questions about the cloud. But as the cloud has become universal in organisations, the nature of the question has changed. 

Every year, major cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft spend billions to make their cloud services stable, robust and secure. Security measures and compliance certifications are available for all to see, and Microsoft’s cloud offering is as secure as it gets in terms of compliance, governance and physical security.  

The result? Today, almost everyone accepts that the cloud is secure. The conversation now is less around how secure it is and more around data control. It’s essential that organisations understand where their data lives, where it may go and who can access it in order to feel comfortable with moving to the cloud. 

A lack of understanding around how the cloud works is a barrier to adoption for many organisations. In the UK, law firms are amongst some of the most cautious adopters of cloud solutions, largely because of questions about where confidential client data will reside and who can access it.  

There needs to be an understanding that, by its very nature, the cloud exists in multiple locations – and your data can too. Azure, for example, for resilience can have multiple copies of data in multiple locations. And this conversation isn’t always an IT-led discussion; it needs the business to decide in which country their data should be reside, and whether they are comfortable with it potentially leaving UK soil. The cloud gives customers choice here, different services having different options about where data is stored, but it’s important that well informed decisions are made in this regard. 

Organisations need to know what they are letting themselves in for and understand how data will be stored and accessed which needs a complex, but not impossible, discussion about trust and understanding. In our experience, anyone who truly understands the options and how the cloud works has been confident in making an informed decision based on facts not fear.  

2.  Will all my IT staff be out of work/redundant? 

Generally, there isn’t a direct correlation between adopting cloud services and IT staff being let go.  We prefer to see this as freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Whether they’re in retail, manufacturing, healthcare or any other sector, businesses are trying to be ‘the best’ and provide the best service to their customers. IT should enable them to do that. It should be a supporter and enabler for a business to do its job and operate at its highest level. And for organisations that are held back by inefficient, outdated IT systems, embracing the cloud is one way to make improvements. 

Few organisations today choose to use physical servers; they are costly, require office space and need people to maintain and manage them. Solutions like O365 and Exchange Online are making delivery of common IT services easier, better and lower cost, and like it or not, the requirement for on-premise skills will reduce as cloud adoption becomes the new norm. As IT evolves, the skillset of IT teams needs to evolve with it, or face being left behind.  – Read more

5 Types of Remote Users You Need to Take into Account

My Post (7)The physical location of users matters less and less in how we conduct business. A 2019 study showed that 62% of people surveyed worked from home at least part of the time. In the same study, 82% of those who worked remotely at least part of the time reported that they planned to either maintain or increase their level of remote work. Further, more than half (51%) of those who did not do any remote work wanted to start.

Despite the environment that we find ourselves in today – with a significant, yet temporary, uptick in remote employees — it’s still highly likely that the number of part-time or even permanent remote workers will continue to increase.

One thing to keep in mind is that these figures don’t take into account the number of remote vendors who function like employees by performing essential tasks for the company.  These users often need access to critical systems the same way an employee does. Of course, with greater flexibility for workers comes greater security risks. In order to provision access, organizations often rely on insecure and inefficient methods, typically relying on VPNs to provide secure access.

However, not all remote workers’ privileges are created equal.  Some may require access to just email and a smattering of business applications, while others may need access to critical business applications like payroll, HR and sales and marketing data. External IT service providers performing outsourced help desk support require the same broad access as internal IT providers.

Today, we’ll identify the top five types of remote workers who often require elevated privileges to systems and discuss how privileged access management (PAM) with CyberArk Alero can help organizations provide secure and easy access to critical systems managed by CyberArk.

1. Remote IT or Security Company Employees

These users include people like domain admins, network admins and others who typically access critical internal systems from inside the office but may now have to do it remotely.  When IT or security work from outside the office walls, it throws a wrench into security administrators day-to-day.

Identifying the precise levels of access needed by remote IT and security employees and implementing least privilege rights to ensure that they’re only accessing what they need is critical.  Traditional solutions like VPNs  can’t provide the necessary level of granular, application-level access to do this effectively. Assigning this kind of granular access is important as it helps prevents situations like a Windows admin having access to root accounts.

Integrating security tools with the directory service to provide automated, specific access needs to be set up ahead of time so that, in the event of an unplanned spike in remote work, there’s no gap in IT or security functions while secure conditions for working from home are established..

2. Third-Party Hardware and Software Vendors

Third party vendors for hardware and software, including IT Service providers and contracted Help Desk support, often provide remote services and maintenance that require elevated privileges. These types of vendors would typically require admin-level access to perform tasks on any variety of Windows or Linux servers or databases and are called on to perform patching, system updates and more.

They each essentially act as domain level administrators and, thus, can wreak havoc on the environment if not properly monitored and provisioned properly. However, identifying these users and accounting their individual levels of remote vendor access is usually done on a case-by-case basis by administrators which can take an abundance of time.  It’s important to make sure that all of these users are identified and have the correct access provisioned. – Read more