Does your company permit remote work? Will you be working from home in the coming weeks? With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) globally, more companies have directed their employees to work from home. For health and safety concerns, more employees have taken this route to prevent further spread of the virus. Although there are companies that have a working from home policy, not all companies have such plans.
Working From Home Policy
Remote work has increased in the past two decades. There’s no doubt remote work will accelerate in the coming years. But despite that, not all companies offer remote work options. Across the globe, around 44% of companies don’t offer remote work for their employees. Sure, not all jobs are meant for remote work; for instance, manufacturing and retail-type work would be some exceptions. But that trend could change as the years pass by.
Amidst the ongoing health crisis, there are some concerns about working from home. Wrike, a project management software company, surveyed employees’ opinions about remote work. The findings were quite interesting and open a discussion about the future of work. In this post, I will review some parts of the survey, including the following:
1.) What the survey included
2.) Key findings
4.) My thoughts: When a crisis presents an opportunity
Working From Home Policy: What the survey covered
Wrike wanted to know how prepared employers were for events such as an ongoing pandemic. If companies mandated remote work, were they ready to continue with business as usual? The survey covered around 1,000 employees working at mid-sized companies (more than 200 employees). Their goal was to get different perceptions from employees, managers, and generations on remote work. Also, whether they feel remote work is the best option to address a pandemic.
Survey key findings
Some of the survey’s results were noteworthy to consider. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Around half of the respondents said they never worked from home
- About 23% of respondents worked from home during particular circumstances, such as caring for sick children or severe weather events.
- About 9% worked remotely full-time, & 9% worked from home a couple of days a week
The survey also asked respondents how comfortable they’d be working remotely. A majority of them said that working from home may harm their productivity. Here are more numbers:
- Over half of respondents said a work from home policy would harm their company’s productivity
- Around 43% of respondents don’t think they can do their jobs effectively while working from home. Distractions at home (i.e., children & pets) can be challenging to stay focused
Between generations, millennials reported being more likely to work effectively at home, compared to those in generation X and baby boomers.
Recommendations from Wrike
The survey indicates that some companies are not prepared to offer remote work options. About 40% of employees said their employers don’t have the technology to allow them to work remotely. Examples include video conferencing, messaging platforms, and cloud-based office suites. These virtual tools can significantly benefit employees who work remotely.
Andrew Filev, the founder of Wrike, identifies these findings to be concerning as remote work becomes more popular. He says,
“We see a clear need for more businesses to move beyond email as the primary means of internal collaboration so that their employees will have better alignment and faster communication while working remotely. There’s also a massive need for investment in tools that can empower workers to do their best work from anywhere — at home or in the office.”
It’s a good wake-up for more companies to look into providing the tools necessary for employees working from home. Without it, it becomes a challenge to do remote work during a time when needed.
My thoughts on the survey
I’m not surprised by the generational differences in remote work. I’m part of the millennial age group, so I understand why younger people like me are more tech-savvy. But looking at the other numbers, there’s a good portion of workers who are not willing to work from home. Yes, it would be a difficult adjustment for some, but most beneficial in the long term. So it’s good that Wrike conducted this survey to raise awareness on remote work.
Crisis = Opportunity
I see a pandemic as a unique opportunity to shift the conversation about the future of work. I'm hearing discussions about whether remote work will become a permanent option for most companies. If it helps save time (i.e., commuting to and from work), it’s something worthwhile to consider. As remote work continues to grow, it can change people’s perception of how work should be conducted. Time will tell, but it’s good to have those discussions now.
As the coronavirus continues to cause fear and panic, it’s lead many employers to switch to remote work. It remains to be seen whether it’ll be temporary, or if it’s something permanent for the better. Either way, it’s an excellent way to rethink the workplace regarding productivity. Although we never want pandemics to occur, they can provide us with better opportunities for remote work. So that next time, if an epidemic takes place, the world will be better prepared than it is now.
What do you think about Wrike’s survey? Do you work for a company that provides work from home policies?
Leave a comment below and please share this post with others.
What Wrike offers
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Wrike is offering to all new users a free professional account, up to six months! If you’re not familiar with Wrike’s software, check out my recent review of their services.
If you’re ready to sign up for a free professional account, click on the banner below for more details.
Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.