Even though no one could have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would sweep across the globe at the beginning of this year, closing office doors and sending millions of employees across industries to work from home, the rise in remote work was easier to see coming.

Due to advancements in remote work tech tools and the increased flexible lifestyle of the modern employee, remote work and work from anywhere culture has been on the rise in the past decade. COVID-19 and its subsequent forced work from home migration simply introduced a new league of employees to the remote work lifestyle. 

And according to the Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2020 report, these remote employees are being loud and clear when they say: remote work is here to stay.

Jobs with Good Benefits Now Include Remote Work

While there have always been a handful of fully-remote companies that are high-functioning and diverse operations that succeed without an office headquarters, in the past working remotely largely existed as a new-age business model, something that was reserved for large corporations or engineer/developer-heavy organizations that didn’t require much face to face interaction. 

More recently, even before COVID-19 made remote work a necessity, a remote work policy was a coveted benefit at any good job. As we move forward, toward a post-COVID-19 world, it is becoming increasingly clear that remote work policies are a top factor in the decision making process that employees make during their job searches.

With 1 in 2 full time U.S workers reporting that they won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19 it is clear that if your organization didn’t have a remote work policy in place before COVID-19, it is in your best interest to create one moving forward if you are interested in retaining your top talent.

It comes as no surprise that jobs with good benefits now must include remote work to keep employees around. Before anyone had heard a whisper of COVID-19, our 2019 State of Remote Work report already showed that 42% of remote workers planned to work remotely more frequently than they were at the time. Now that those employees and more have had a taste of the remote work lifestyle, they are making it clear that they have no interest in returning to in-person business as usual.

Benefits of Working from Home

While working from home because a global pandemic mandated it and working from home as part of a chosen flexible work schedule have their differences, many of the benefits remain the same. The primary similarity is that 77% of respondents to the Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2020 report agree that after COVID-19, being able to WFH would make them happier.

Besides the benefit of increased happiness, other benefits of working from home include:

  • No commute. 80% of report respondents cite the removal of a commute as a top factor in their desire to continue working remotely. People reportedly save an average of 40 minutes a day when they work remotely—think of that as 40 extra minutes to spend snoozing in the morning or spending time with your family after work.
  • An increase in productivity. When asked why they want to continue working remotely after COVID-19, 70% of responders said that they felt more productive when they worked from home and it allowed them to better focus on their work.
  • A cleaner environment. According to Global Workplace Analytics, if everyone in the United States continued after COVID-19 to work remotely just half of the time, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle travel by more than 51 million metric tons a year
  • Reducing stress. While COVID-19 brought with it an unanticipated swell of stress for most people. When asked why they want to continue working from home after COVID-19, 74% of responders cited that being able to work from home has helped them reduce stress in their lives.

2020 Job Satisfaction Statistics

Job satisfaction in 2020 so far has been defined by how employees have felt their company has managed the shift to remote work, and how they have approached the potential shift back into the office. Prior to COVID-19, remote work was already the preferred choice by many when it was offered by their employer. 

Now, after working from home has changed from being a preference to a necessity, many remote employees are determined to maintain their flexible work schedule at a price, with 1 in 4 reporting that they would take a pay cut of over 10% to stay working from home.

In regards to employee satisfaction, responders say that creating a remote work policy that allows them to work remotely at least some of the time is a priority, with:

  • 80% of respondents say that being allowed to work remotely some of the time would make them feel like their employer cares
  • 74% would be less likely to leave their employer if they were able to work remotely some of the time
  • 71% would be more likely to recommend their company to a friend if there was a remote work policy at their company
  • 59% would be more likely to choose one employer over another in their next job if they offered remote work

Remote Work Expectations from Today's Employee

The expectations that the majority of today’s employees have for the future of work are overwhelmingly clear: the future of work is remote. 

Employers and HR teams, take note: If working from home was no longer an option after COVID-19, almost 70% of respondents would be less happy and almost half would look for another role that allowed remote work.

Additionally, after COVID-19, 92% of responders say that they expect to work from home at least 1x a week and 80% expect to work from home at least 3x a week.

It is clear that employee expectations have shifted. And it has quickly become clear that if employers don’t rise to meet the remote work expectations of their employees, they run the risk of finding themselves with fewer employees overall.

If you haven’t created a remote work policy yet, the time to do so is now. To get you started, here is our Ultimate Guide to Crafting Remote Work, Flexible Schedule, and Working from Home Policies.

owl labs state of remote work covid edition 2020