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The 2020 State of Remote Work Study

Posted by on May 11, 2020 7:42 am

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Each year, Buffer, a fully remote company, conducts an in-depth survey of thousands of remote workers. This year, the survey included 3,521 remote work employees across many countries, industries, organizations, and levels of experience. Of those:

  • 57% are fully remote
  • 25% work remotely at least 51% of the time
  • 8% work remotely 26-50% of the time
  • 10% work remotely 1-25% of the time

Only 3% of those surveyed were solo business owners or freelancers, meaning this survey is focused on remote workers who are part of larger teams. You can read in the report in its entirety here, and read on below for our takeaways.

Remote workers are happy to be remote.

Nearly all (98%) of respondents said they would like to continue working remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. Almost all (97%) also said they’d recommend remote work to a friend. Only a few of those surveyed (11%) said they’d like to spend less time working remotely, while 19% said they’d like to work remotely more often.

The biggest upsides are flexibility and the commute-free life.

According to respondents, the top three benefits of remote work are:

  1. Flexible schedule (32%)
  2. Flexibility to work anywhere (26%)
  3. Absence of a commute (21%)

Coworking spaces might not be that important.

“In the past three years, we haven’t seen more than nine percent of respondents claim that coworking spaces are their primary location for working,” the report reads. The authors find this “surprising, considering that some reports say that in the next two years there will be nearly 26,000 coworking spaces around the world.”

The two biggest challenges: Loneliness and difficulty collaborating

The article reads, “Over the past three years of putting out this report, we’ve seen two unique struggles remain in the top three: the difficulties with collaboration/communication, and with loneliness.”

In this year’s report, loneliness and difficulties collaborating were tied for first place on the list of remote work challenges, with 20% of respondents citing each one as their top challenge. In 2019, these two issues took second and third place, respectively.

The number one challenge in 2019, unplugging after work, may have become a little easier for remote workers in 2020, taking third place this year instead. It’s worth noting that last year, only 30% of the respondents were fully remote, whereas this year, that percentage was more than half. This could signal that loneliness and difficulty communicating/collaborating become bigger challenges for fully remote workers.

Two birds, one solution.

Loneliness and collaboration/communication difficulties both can be alleviated with well-designed video conferencing technology. Email alone is insufficient – and face-to-face contact through video-calls with HD video and audio can reduce loneliness. Features such as screen sharing and recording also can provide a comprehensive way to collaborate effectively.

With the rise in remote work, it’s important that organizations understand the challenges and explore technologies that can help employees through this transition. If your company does not have technology tools already in place, there are inexpensive (or free!) ways to acquire these tools for your team, as an immediate fix.

[link to GlobalMeet page on your website]


The 2020 State of Remote Work Study

Social Media Post (for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook)

Remote workers are happy to #wfh – though they face challenges with loneliness and collaboration. See more takeaways from @Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work study: [link to partner blog] #PGiPartners #GlobalMeet


Collaboration, GlobalMeet, Productivity, Remote Work