Upwork has released its Economist Report: One Year Remote, finding many companies will continue with remote work thanks to its benefits.
The pandemic is attributed with forcing a decade of digital transformation in a year’s time. Companies large and small had to adapt quickly, and help employees work remotely. Many companies have embraced the change, committing to a remote or hybrid workforce moving forward.
According to Upwork’s Dr. Adam Ozimek, the transition to remote work may be more successful than many companies and executives realize. One of the biggest benefits has been an increase in productivity.
When workers are asked if productivity has gone up from working remotely, 61% say yes, and only 12.7% say no. While workers may be viewing their productivity in a self-serving light, Upwork’s survey of 1,000 hiring managers showed a positive view as well: 32.2% of hiring managers felt that overall productivity had gone up as of late April compared to the 22.5% that felt it had decreased.
Another benefit has been the ability to relocate to less expensive areas. Upwork estimates some 23 million people planned to relocate, thanks to the freedom remote work offers.
More companies are also open to the possibility of hybrid teams, made up of a combination of full-time and independent workers. The pandemic has helped many hiring managers become more comfortable with hiring independent freelancers, breaking down previous misconceptions and opening the door to a wider talent pool.
Not surprisingly, reduced cost was another big factor. Upwork estimates that employees who commuted to work by car saved roughly $4,350 this past year. On average employees have been saved approximately nine days of commuting in just a year’s time.
One of the most interesting findings of Upwork’s report is a greater understanding of perceived pain points and their true cause. In other words, some of the issues blamed on remote work are really a result of the pandemic, not remote work.
Parents, for example, have likely had to balance work with interruptions from children. This is not a product of remote work, but rather a result of many schools having been closed due to COVID. In a post-pandemic situation, kids will be at school, and remote work will mean fewer interruptions.
Upwork’s full report is well-worth a read and demonstrates the permanent effect this past year has had in transforming the workplace.