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Working from home: will the workforce of the future be mostly remote?

Working from home: will the workforce of the future be mostly remote?

To work from home or not to work from home…that is the question at workplaces lately.

In early May, Twitter announced that almost all of its employees, currently working remotely through the coronavirus crisis, can keep doing so—forever. It’s a sensible decision: many companies have scrambled to get their employees the infrastructure and support they need to work from home successfully, so why not keep using them? Especially 

Many companies are wondering whether a remote, or semi-remote workforce could be in their future. But to make that decision, you have to know how your employees would cope with that new reality. 

We wanted to get the perspectives of workers themselves—how important is it to employees that a remote option be available to them (even after the pandemic is contained)? Why do people want to be able to work from home? What are the challenges? Does it help increase productivity? We used our consumer market research solution SurveyMonkey Audience to find out.

Here, we explain our findings and share a few work from home survey templates so that you can check in on your own employees and make the decisions that are right for your company. 

Working remotely is (generally) a very positive experience. If your priority is employee satisfaction, our data shows remote work is a good option. 

  • Remote employees are 14% more likely to say that they’re “very satisfied” with their job than non-remote workers
  • They’re also more likely to say they are well paid (81% vs. 75%), that their company provides good opportunities for them to advance their careers (66% vs. 58%), and that their contributions are valued by their colleagues (88% vs. 81%). 
  • Remote workers are also more likely than non-remote workers to say they have a lot of control over how they do their job—though it might be surprising the discrepancy isn’t much higher given the flexibility that at-home work has required in recent weeks. 

On the other hand, 54% of workers say the coronavirus outbreak has made it harder for them to do their job effectively—so you might be experiencing some dips in productivity. But before you jump to any conclusions about working from home and the distractions of dogs and chores: the people who weren’t working remotely were equally likely to struggle. 

Among those workers who have been able to work remotely since the start of the pandemic, many hope their new work routine will stick. 

  • 19% say they will want to work from home “all the time” even once the pandemic is no longer a threat, and another 38% say they will want to work from home more often than they had previously. 
  • Only 9% want to work from home less often than before. 
  • In almost every generation, about ~20% of the population wanted to continue to work from home full time, with the exception of Gen Z (15%), which is newer to the workforce.

Of course, not all employees have the same preferences. It’s worthwhile for you to check in on your workers and see how remote work has treated them so far. 

SurveyMonkey has a free survey template that lets you ask about common challenges associated with working from home, as well as some general check in questions. If you’re a SurveyMonkey customer, you can customize the survey 

We built this survey to be sent at a regular cadence—meaning that it’s short and painless. It’s worth sending the survey multiple times to see if your employees’ experience changes at all over time and track trends before you make any lasting decisions. We recommend sending the survey once per month. 

Here are a few basic questions to help you get the conversation about working from home started with employees (even after the pandemic):

  • If given the option, how often would you like to work from home? (always, often, sometimes, rarely, or never)
  • How do you feel that working from home impacts your productivity?
  • What tools would you need to work from home effectively?
  • What would be the greatest challenges?
  • Have you ever worked from home for an extended period of time? (You can use survey logic to ask them more about the experience if they answer “yes”.)

Maybe having a remote workforce opens doors for you—like hiring from other cities or boosting employee retention—or maybe your employees do better when they’re all in the same space. Either way, success starts with asking for opening the conversation.