Gartner had already predicted that by 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% due to Generation Z fully entering the workforce. The Coronavirus pandemic forced many into remote work and accelerated the trend overnight. But will it stick? 

Perhaps. More than half of 27 employers surveyed recently by the Institute for Corporate Productivity plan to expand or increase flexible work arrangements on a more permanent basis after the coronavirus outbreak is contained. It’s too small a sample size to be reliable but hopefully, this collection of insights will inform your bigger picture view of how COVID-19 has affected remote work—and what the future of remote work may hold.

1. From March 16th to 29th, 2020, the percentage of full-time employees working from home because of COVID-19 closures increased from 33% to 61%. – Gallup

2. Of those who are currently working from home, 31% of people said that Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the trigger to begin allowing remote work at their company. – Owl Labs

3. Distractions in the home are the biggest challenge faced by 46% of employees working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown. – Global Web Index

Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics

4. An estimated 16 million U.S. knowledge workers started working remotely due to Covid-19 as of March 27; that number is likely much higher now. – Slack

5. More than 75% indicate they would like to continue to work remotely at least occasionally after the Coronavirus pandemic is over, while 54% would like remote work to be their primary way of working. – IBM

6. 68% of CFOs say crisis-driven transitions to remote work will make their company better in the long run. – PwC

7. As of the end of December 2019, the maximum number of daily meeting participants conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, they reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants. – Zoom

8. 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID. – Gartner

Image source: Gartner

9. 66% of people think their company is somewhat to very prepared for all employees to work from home, but a remaining 34% of respondents thought their companies were not. – Owl Labs

10. During the Coronavirus outbreak, Microsoft Teams saw a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day. – Microsoft 365

11. Employees in the IT/technology (76%) and financial services (68%) sectors are most likely to say their employers are equipped for remote working. In comparison, 48% of professionals in the manufacturing sector say their employers aren’t prepared for remote working. – Global Web Index

Too many organizations are concentrating on finding a collaboration tool when the bigger issue is training people how to work with others in remote work situations. It’s as much (or more) about the ‘how to’ than ‘what tech I have to do it, and many don’t know how.’

Jack Gold, founder of J. Gold Associates

12. Nearly half of newly remote workers say that working from home has negatively affected their sense of belonging. But experienced remote workers show us that connectedness can improve over time. – Slack

13. Only 23% of respondents worked at companies that had implemented a Work From Home Protocol in preparation of Coronavirus (COVID-19). If there was an official Work From Home Protocol, a respondent was over 2x more likely to feel very prepared and was nearly 3.5x more likely to work from home if their company released a Work From Home Protocol. – Owl Labs

14. Working and learning from home inspires people to turn on video 2x more than before the outbreak. – Microsoft 365

Source: Microsoft 365

15. 52% of respondents who work remotely have a designated office or work from home setup, and of those who work from home, 80% are happy that they do. – Owl Labs

16. Nearly 80% of adults working from home with children aged 6 or younger during COVID-19 report having a range of 0-5 hours of focused work time per day. Over 45% of those parents report having less than 3 hours of focused work time. – Gartner

17. Close to 30% in the UK and 22% in the U.S. say their employer is not equipped to operate with fully remote staff. – Global Web Index

To retain staff in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic response in late 2020, organizations should expect that 75% of their staff will ask to expand their remote work hours by 35%.

Suzanne Adnams, Gartner

18. As of May 4, 2020, 51% of those who have been forced to stop working or forced to work remotely say the fear of getting sick at work would prevent them from returning to the workplace if their employer requested it tomorrow. More than half (56%) want their employers to provide personal protective equipment; 51% would need assurances that their employer would inform them immediately if a co-worker tested positive for the virus; and 51% say requiring that customers entering the workplace follow basic safety and hygiene practices. – PwC

19. Working from home actually worked well for the employees in China who chose to work from home: They were 13 percent more productive, and the quit rates halved. – Ctrip

20. Among those working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, the biggest benefit overall was more flexible working hours (58%), followed by the added free time of not commuting (47%). – Global Web Index

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