41.8% of respondents experienced a decrease in life satisfaction since working remotely.
53.5% of respondents checked their work devices more frequently outside of working hours than they did before going remote.
70.9% of managers regularly worked past normal office hours since working from home.
50.7% of respondents believed their workplace provided fewer perks since working remotely.
A Change of Scenery
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been faced with tough changes and challenges. As people remain cooped up at home, many are forced to turn their personal space into a professional setting as well. We have thus come to realize that things may not return to normal for a long time, and remote work may become more mainstream once it’s all said and done.
For now, though, we’ve surveyed over 1,000 remote workers across the United States. to gauge their thoughts on the balance between work and other facets of their life. How have their routines changed? Are they more or less productive? How could their current work situation be improved? These questions, and more, will help us shed light on the American attitude toward working from home.
The Impact of Working Remotely
Working remotely hasn’t been easy for anyone. To better understand its effect, we asked people about remote work’s impact on their non-work life.
The transition to remote work has resulted in 41.8% of respondents experiencing a decrease in general life satisfaction, compared to the 35.3% who seemed to be in a happier place because of it.
The top positive impact experienced by 49.4% of respondents was spending more time with their family. Other changes to their non-work life included more time spent watching TV (44.6%), taking less time to get ready for work (44.2%), and exercising more (28%). However, not all changes to people’s lives were positive. Almost 1 in 4 respondents felt more alone since working remotely, while more than 1 in 5 had gained weight. The pandemic has left many feeling isolated and detached, and a mental health check-in, be it from friends or co-workers, can be an important step to combat these feelings.
A Much Needed Break
Working remotely, according to our respondents, has made it more difficult to separate work from non-work life. Moreover, it has also made way for a whole new set of distractions during the workday.
According to 53.1% of respondents, separating work and non-work life had become more challenging since going remote. At the same time, it also led to a new array of distractions that could keep someone from focussing on work. The most prominent distractions were watching TV (16.6%), cooking (14.5%), and running errands (14.3%). While traditional offices also had their fair share of distractions, perhaps it’s becoming easier to ignore work due to not physically being in an office.
Another activity tremendously increasing in popularity during lockdown has been playing video games. The industry was worth $153.9 billion in 2020, which was a 9% increase from 2019. It is projected to grow even higher – forecasting predicts that the video gaming industry will be worth just over $200 billion by 2023. Seeing as more than 1 in 10 millennials got distracted by playing video games during the workday, this pastime is clearly here to stay.
Going the Extra Mile
Remote work has led to many changes in daily life, such as changes to morning routines and an increased propensity to work past normal office hours.
Looking at people’s morning routines – which directly correlated with more people starting their workday later – 41.1% of respondents admitted to waking up later since going remote, as opposed to the 30.6% waking up earlier. Regardless of when respondents woke up, making coffee at home was an important part of changes made to their morning routine. Nearly 40% of respondents reported making their own coffee since working remotely, a small habit that could save big money over time. Seeing as people are working from the comfort of their own home, there is no need to get dolled up either – 46.6% of women skipped putting on makeup altogether.
A strong majority (59%) of respondents said they regularly work past normal office hours. Almost half of them attributed it to the fact that they simply had too much work to do. Many also felt pressured to work past office hours because others were doing it.
Just 28.2% of respondents felt more productive the day after working late, whereas 38.2% of them felt the opposite. On the other hand, 40.4% of managers felt more productive the day following working late, while 35.4% felt less productive. Regarding overtime, there are certainly both pros and cons that can result from it. Aside from productivity, it can help advance your career and earn you more money. On the other hand, working too much overtime could negatively affect both your physical and mental health and lead to job dissatisfaction.
Full Steam Ahead
Remote work could also have an impact on a worker’s productivity. We asked our respondents about how the move to working from home had impacted them.
In their remote environment, over half of respondents said they had checked their various work devices more frequently outside of working hours. In fact, 30.6% checked their work devices three or more times per day while off the clock. And as far as productivity since going remote, 41.6% believed their productivity had increased. To maintain high levels of productivity, taking breaks, following a schedule, and keeping a to-do list can all prove beneficial.
Managers, in particular, had experienced an increase in productivity. Seeing as 63% of managers checked their work devices more frequently than before working remotely, they also appeared to blur the line between work and private life more often.
On a generational level, millennials experienced the highest rise in productivity (45.2%), whereas 40.6% of Gen Xers and 55.6% of baby boomers experienced no change.
In An Ideal World
With remote work here to stay, at least for another few months, we asked our respondents for their opinion on how working from home can be improved.
Just over 80% of respondents said they would prefer to work four days a week while maintaining the same number of hours. One downside of remote work, according to over half of respondents, was having fewer perks than they had at their usual office or workstation.
The most desired perk was paid internet – many Americans have expressed their worries about paying their broadband bills. Also, a fair number of households reported having unreliable Wi-Fi and could not afford to upgrade it. If companies were to cover the cost of reliable internet at home for their workers, it could make a tremendous impact on many employees’ lives.
Virtual meetings, although once a rare and fun occurrence, have become the cornerstone of many people’s remote work schedules. Baby boomers have grown tired of it already – 1 in 4 would like to have scheduled days without such meetings. In an attempt to facilitate an improved work-life balance, 12.3% of millennials would like their workplace to provide an allowance for child care.
The Remote-Work Experience
Clearly, people have reacted differently in their transition to a remote-work lifestyle. Many have decided to switch up their routines accordingly and have rediscovered enjoyable pastimes to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Generally, though, people have become more productive, although they should be wary of burning out. Many felt some more at-home work perks would be nice too.
Even though the pandemic has put a halt on many of our life plans and goals, companies are still looking for their dream employees. At Joblist, finding your ideal job is a dream in itself. For an incredibly personalized and user-friendly job search experience, head over now to find your perfect match.
This study uses data from a survey of 1,005 people located in the U.S. and working remotely. Survey respondents were gathered through the Amazon Mechanical Turk survey platform where they were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 55.7% of respondents identified as male, while 44.3% identified as female. Respondents ranged in age from 19 to 80 with an average age of 35. 45.4% of respondents worked in a managerial role, while 54.6% were not managers. 1% of respondents were Gen Zers, 32.1% were millennials, 38.5% were Gen Xers, and 28.4% were baby boomers. Participants incorrectly answering any attention-check question had their answers disqualified. This study has a 3% margin of error on a 95% confidence interval.
Please note that survey responses are self-reported and are subject to issues, such as exaggeration, recency bias, and telescoping.
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