When the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep across the world, many companies launched remote work programs so their employees could continue working without risking infection. Some firms felt that these telecommuting arrangements have been going so well that they plan to continue asking staffers to work remotely even after the pandemic ends. Employees, however, aren’t sure that they want that.
That’s the word from a recent survey by Pipefy, a company that asked 410 mid- and senior-level professionals at corporations across the US about their remote working situations. About 66 percent of respondents told the company that they were working remotely for the first time due to COVID-19, and it’s that cohort which appears leery of continuing remote work.
Of the staffers who are new to remote work, just 20 percent said they’d like to continue telecommuting on a full-time basis. Another 39 percent said they’re interested in working remotely part-time, while 41 percent of respondents said they’d like to go back to the office.
Distractions, Work-Life Balance Are Issues
The employees who were new to remote work cited a variety of reasons for their dissatisfaction with working from home, and Pipefy found the following to be their biggest challenges:
- Distractions: 63%
- Work-Life Balance: 36%
- Collaboration/Communication Issues: 31%
- No Designated Office Space: 28%
- IT/Infrastructure Issues: 13%
- Lack of Supervision: 9%
The new remote workers did, however, name some positives about working remotely, with the biggest benefits being more family time, flexibility and better work hours.
Many New Remote Workers Experience Burnout
When compared to seasoned remote workers, the survey results reveal stark differences in well-being during remote work. Whereas 57 percent of experienced remote staffers expressed a stronger sense of well-being while working from home, just 15 percent of new remote workers said they felt that way. The likely culprit? Burnout.
About 32 percent of new remote workers say they are frustrated working from home because they feel like they’re burning out, Pipefy noted. This is in contrast to just eight percent of seasoned remote staff members who are experiencing burnout. The study notes, of course, that remote work might not be completely to blame. Many people are having stress issues simply due to the isolation prompted by the COVID-19 lockdown, compounded by the problems that workers face while working remotely.
Communication Appears to be Lacking
Another problem that seems to be affecting new remote workers is a lack of communication from colleagues, which can lead to confusion and stress. When asked about the clarity of what their employer expects from them on a daily basis, 40 percent of new remote workers indicated that they have a fair amount of clarity, 40 percent said they have full clarity, 10 percent said they have “zero clarity,” and another ten percent are uncertain.
These findings suggest that companies should consider improving their communication tools and technology so that better collaboration takes place between teams. This appeared to be solidified when Pipefy found that just 59% of new remote workers believe they have all the right equipment and materials so they can effectively perform while working from home.