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

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IT Monitoring: Top Services to Monitor Now That Everyone is WFH

My Post (11)One of the practices being thrust into action right now is social distancing. As you would expect, this means millions of people around the world are working from home and this migration in the workforce is going to have a massive impact on the services IT practitioners must monitor and maintain in a virtual-first environment. We are already seeing reports of massive usage surges across tools like Zoom and outages in Microsoft Teams just as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes people to work from home.

This shift to many workers doing their jobs remotely means there is a real and urgent need to get better visibility into remote access operations without the luxury of time to make sweeping changes to existing environments. With your existing data already in Splunk, it can be simple to create useful dashboards for administrators to check capacity and health of these solutions that may not have had to handle these kinds of loads or capacities before.

IT practitioners have a responsibility to make sure the services that connect our workforce stay online and continue running smoothly. Our goal in these posts is to give you a guide to some of the key services we are monitoring and ways you can get started doing the same. Over the next few weeks we will be creating deeper dives into best practices you can adopt now as our work lives are altered by this pandemic state of emergency. – Read more

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The Suddenly Remote Playbook

My Post (6).pngA Playbook for Sustaining an Enterprise-grade Remote Work Environment

We blinked, and suddenly, the future of work materialized.

The COVID-19 pandemic circling the world transformed the gradual advance of remote work into a stampede, compelling millions of people to abandon the office and go home. From Google, Apple, and Microsoft to Chevron, AT&T, and Spotify, the list of companies embracing remote grew and grew.

This has been an extraordinary moment for remote work. Entire populations have been forced to work from home, proving remote infrastructure viable on a massive scale. Now, companies of all sizes ask: “How do you do distributed work the right way? How do you run a remote operation with the most efficiency?”

Toptal knows the answer firsthand.

For years, Toptal has had the world’s largest fully distributed workforce. With our network of top talent and core team members, Toptal has spent a decade pioneering what it means to be a totally remote company. The lessons learned—about technology, productivity, culture, and simply making it work when there is no office at all—serve as a roadmap for both companies and workers finding themselves in this suddenly remote work environment.

Prompted by urgent need and requests, we are going to share how we do it. This Playbook offers learnings across all areas of the remote work experience, from Slack best practices and Zoom etiquette to advice for managers of remote teams and, critically, how to create a culture and work environment built on trust.

Toptal’s experience can help organizations struggling with a challenging new reality and those planning for the future. Companies cannot bear the risk of not doing business for months, quarters, or years. By preparing for future pandemics or other major disruptions, companies will transition, quite naturally, away from the office and toward the distributed workforce.

Furthermore, we have taken time to interview several of our leadership team members for this Playbook and have included them throughout different sections. These podcasts provide you an inside look directly from the team members who work at Toptal.

We hope that you enjoy gaining insight into Toptal and are able to apply the knowledge that you learn here to build a successful remote organization of your own.

-Taso Du Val, CEO, Toptal

The Toptal Playbook for Remote Work:

  • Part 1. “People: Building and Sustaining a Strong Remote Team” describes the human resource work of a distributed company, from recruiting, hiring, and onboarding to goal setting, mentoring, and career development.
  • Part 2. “Culture: Creating a Values-based Culture” explores the techniques needed to build and sustain a strong culture in a remote environment.
  • Part 3. “Productivity: The Path to Effective Remote Work” answers key questions about getting work done at home, holding meaningful meetings, and enabling self-management through metrics.
  • Part 4. “Security & Support: Staying Secure and Making IT Work” addresses Toptal’s perspective on security and IT support for remote teams.
  • Part 5. “Tools: Software for an Asynchronous and Organized Workplace” provides details and examples of the best daily tools to use and how to make the most of them when working remotely.
  • Part 6. “Common Problems: Getting Ahead of Pitfalls While Working Remote” explores how to anticipate and avoid potential difficulties for remote organizations and workers.

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Learn More About Toptal