After millions of Americans moved to work from the office to working remotely, working from home has undergone the largest test trial to date. Even though many employers are set to reopen offices in 2021, it has been proven that telework is plausible, and many companies will allow for a hybrid model of home and office work moving forward. The future of the workplace could be changed permanently, molded by trends of the grand remote work experiment amid the pandemic.
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Here are some of the top work from home trends that have defined 2020:
More than half of employees say they want remote work to stay
A recent Pew survey found that most employees who are working from home had rarely or never teleworked prior to the pandemic. In fact, only one-in-five worked from home all or most of the time. While 71% of those employees have reported doing their job from home now, over half say that they would want to keep doing their job from home even as office life resumes.
The transition from office attire, in-person meetings and lengthy commutes to pajamas and Zoom conferences has been relatively seamless for most employed adults. According to the Pew survey, of those working from home all or most of the time, nearly three-quarters have been equipped with the adequate technology and resources to do their jobs, meet project deadlines and feel motivated.
Despite the cited perks of having flexibility, a majority of respondents say that they feel uncomfortable returning to the office once employers start rolling out vaccination plans. Sixty-four percent of those working from home now report that they would feel uncomfortable returning to the office, with 31% of respondents saying they would feel very uncomfortable.
Slack, Zoom and video conferencing services are top communication tools
As most companies moved online, teleworkers have relied heavily on video conferencing and instant messaging to stay in touch with co-workers.
A forever poster child for 2020, Zoom quickly turned into not only the most downloaded Apple app of the year but also a verb. In fact, 81% of employed adults working from home all or most of the time say that they use video calling or platforms like Zoom at least some of the time, while over half, or 59%, say that they use these often. Another 57% of respondents use messaging platforms like Slack or Google Chat.
The frequency of virtual meetings has even dubbed the new term “resting Zoom face.” However, more than half of those using video conferencing services, or 63%, often are not experiencing “Zoom fatigue.” Overall, the Pew Research data reveals that communication services like Zoom and Slack are a sufficient replacement for in-person contact.
Not everyone can work from home
Not all employed adults have the option of working from home, according to the Pew Survey. Even during the pandemic, a majority of workers in industries like health care, retail and manufacturing cannot logistically be out of the office. While a person’s ability to work from home hinges on their vocation, a class divide also exists. Sixty-two percent of employees with a bachelor’s degree or higher say that their business cannot be done from home, compared with only 23% of those without a four-year degree. Meanwhile, most employees with a higher level of education and earning level are more likely to work from home.