Work From Home Trends Since the Pandemic: How Have People’s Opinions of WFH Changed Since 2020?

Work From Home Trends Since the Pandemic: How Have People’s Opinions of WFH Changed Since 2020?
By:
July 5, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way people work. For many businesses and individuals, working from home has become the norm, whereas prior to 2020 it was less common.

So how exactly have people’s opinions on WFH changed over the last couple of years? We ran a survey to find out more about the respondents’ experiences with working from home and how they felt it had affected their productivity, working relationships, and job satisfaction.

Here’s what we found:

Work From Home Trends – The Overview

  • Our survey found that almost a third of respondents (30.8%) have worked from home at some point since the pandemic began.
  • However, a similar number of respondents had also worked from home before the pandemic. 13.11% always worked from home, while 26.05% worked from home 1-4 days a week.
  • Over a third of the respondents (35.58%) would like to work at home always, while the next popular option (28.97% of respondents) was to work at home one or two days per week.
  • Over 82% of people said that they had the same or a higher level of productivity working from home. Only 17.3% felt less productive.
  • Most respondents felt that working from home had not affected their working relationships, with 77.55% rating their relationships as the same. Roughly an equal number of people said their relationships had worsened or improved (12.5% and 10.05% respectively.)
  • Over half the people who filled out the survey (52.64%) said that working from home had made them enjoy their job more.
  • 77.2% of workers said that they would consider the ability to work from home at least slightly important when considering future job opportunities.
  • Lack of commute was voted the most popular benefit of working from home, with 22.5% of people noting this as a positive. Cost savings and flexible schedules were also top benefits, chosen by 18.35% and 16.45% of respondents, respectively.

How Common Is Working from Home Since the Pandemic?

To get an idea of how widespread working from home has become since the pandemic, we first asked respondents if they currently or ever had worked from home.

30.8% of respondents said they had either worked from home before or were currently working from home. 69.2% said they had never worked from home.

Perhaps surprisingly, the likelihood that someone has worked from home before did not seem to be directly related to age. However, almost half (46.47%) of the respondents under 25 had worked from home, compared to 20-36% in the other age groups. The data below shows the percentage of respondents in each age bracket that had worked from home before:

  • 18-24 – 46.47%
  • 25-34 – 20.8%
  • 35-44 – 26.93%
  • 45-54 – 36.39%
  • 55-64 – 31.7%
  • 65+ – 28.92%

The split between gender lines was also similar, with 34.42% of males having worked from home at some point, compared to 27.38% of females.

Prior to the pandemic, it seems that working from home was slightly more common for males. 14.88% of male respondents said that they always worked at home, compared to only 11.01% of females.

How Do People Feel About Working From Home?

In general, people seem to be positive about working from home. When asked how they felt about their productivity levels while working from home:

  • 46.62% of people said they were more productive.
  • 37.2% rated their productivity as the same as working from the office.
  • 15.65% of respondents said they were less productive when working from home.

Most people also said that it was either the same or easier to get their work done and meet deadlines when at home. Only 14.14% found it harder to get work done at home.

We also asked respondents how they felt about working from home in terms of their job satisfaction and found that, again, the majority of people were positive.

  • Over half (52.64%) said that working from home had made them enjoy their job more.
  • Only 13.63% didn’t enjoy the WFH experience and said it made them enjoy their job less.

Lack of interaction with colleagues is often cited as a downside to working from home. However, our survey showed a different opinion when we asked respondents how their relationships with colleagues had changed since working from home:

  • 77.55% rated their working relationships as the same.
  • 12.4% said they were getting along worse.
  • 10.05% said they were getting along better.

During the early months of the pandemic, many companies made significant efforts to keep their employees connected through things like virtual meetings and social events. It seems that, for the most part, these efforts have been successful in maintaining positive relationships between coworkers.

In another survey question, lack of office politics was also cited as a major benefit of working from home by over 14% of the respondents. It seems that while people may be less connected when working remotely, this is not always seen as a bad thing.

The Benefits of Working from Home

As a whole, the group we surveyed seemed to appreciate the benefits of working from home. When asked what they liked best about it, respondents cited the following reasons:

  • No commute – 22.50%
  • Cost savings – 18.35%
  • Flexible schedule – 16.45%
  • Reduced office politics – 14.14%
  • Flexibility to live where you want – 13.68%
  • Freedom to travel or relocate – 10.06%

These results show that people appreciate the freedom and flexibility that working from home affords them. While there are certainly downsides to the WFH lifestyle, it seems that many are enjoying the benefits.

The Future of Working From Home

The pandemic has forced many companies to re-evaluate their policies on remote work. For some, the experience has been positive and they are now considering making WFH a permanent option for employees. For others, the transition has been more difficult and they are eager to get back to the office.

Whatever the challenges working from home may bring to organizations, it seems clear that the trend is here to stay. With more people discovering the benefits of working remotely, companies will need to adapt their policies and procedures to meet the needs of their employees.

The majority of our survey respondents said that they considered the option to work from home at least somewhat important when considering a new job.

In fact, when asked how working from home would impact their decision to accept a job offer:

  • 35.49% said it was very important.
  • 16.21% said it was important.
  • 14.67% said it was fairly important.
  • 12.93% said it was slightly important.
  • 22.8% said it was not at all important.

This doesn’t mean that all workers want to work from home all the time. In fact, when asked what their ideal number of WFH days per week would be:

  • 28.91% said they wanted to work from home full-time (i.e. five days per week).
  • 32.66% said they wanted to work from home three to four days a week.
  • 27.45% said they wanted to work from home one or two days per week.
  • 10.98% preferred to stay in the office full-time and never work from home.

The Demographics of Survey Respondents

When analyzing the results of a survey like this, it’s important to consider the age, gender, geographical location, and other demographics of the respondents. Here’s a breakdown of our survey participants:

Gender

Our survey respondents were fairly evenly split between male and female, with slightly more women participating.

  • Female – 51.4%
  • Male – 48.6%

Age

The age group with the largest representation in our survey was in the 55-64 age bracket, and the smallest age group was 18-24. However, this is to be expected, as people in the 18-24 age group are more likely to be in full-time education. A significant proportion of our survey participants also did not disclose their age.

  • 18-24 – 2.83%
  • 25-34 – 8.2%
  • 35-44 – 13.56%
  • 45-54 – 12.07%
  • 55-64 – 18.33%
  • 65+ – 15.2%
  • Unknown – 29.8%

Geography

Our survey participants were fairly evenly distributed across the mainland United States, with a few regions standing out as having a higher representation.

Geographically, the Mountain region was the most represented, accounting for 26.21% of the survey respondents. The South Atlantic, East North Central, and West North Central regions were also well represented, each accounting for between 14% and 17% of the respondents.

The Pacific and South Central regions of the US were the least represented, each accounting for less than 6% of the respondents.

  • New England – 8.06%
  • Mid-Atlantic – 13.56%
  • East North Central – 14.46%
  • West North Central – 14.19%
  • South Atlantic – 17.28%
  • East South Central – 4.02%
  • West South Central – 5.67%
  • Mountain – 26.21%
  • Pacific – 3.72%

The largest group of respondents came from Pennsylvania (9.09%), followed by North Carolina (8.79%) and then New Mexico (8.64%).

You can see the full breakdown by state in the data below:

  • Alabama – 1.34%
  • Alaska – 0.15%
  • Arizona – 2.53%
  • Arkansas – 0.45%
  • California – 2.38%
  • Colorado – 3.87%
  • Connecticut – 5.81%
  • Delaware – 0.15%
  • District of Columbia – 0.6%
  • Florida – 1.04%
  • Georgia – 3.13%
  • Idaho – 0.3%
  • Illinois – 6.41%
  • Indiana – 0.6%
  • Iowa – 3.58%
  • Kansas – 0.88%
  • Kentucky – 0.75%
  • Louisiana – 1.04%
  • Maine – 0.45%
  • Maryland – 0.89%
  • Massachusetts – 0.75%
  • Michigan – 2.24%
  • Minnesota – 5.07%
  • Mississippi – 1.04%
  • Missouri – 1.94%
  • Montana – 0.89%
  • Nebraska – 1.34%
  • Nevada – 0.6%
  • New Hampshire – 0.45%
  • New Jersey – 0.6%
  • New Mexico – 8.64%
  • New York – 3.87%
  • North Carolina – 8.79%
  • North Dakota – 0.6%
  • Ohio – 4.17%
  • Oklahoma – 0.6%
  • Oregon – 0.15%
  • Pennsylvania – 9.09%
  • Rhode Island – 0.3%
  • South Dakota – 0.75%
  • Tennessee – 0.89%
  • Texas – 3.58%
  • Utah – 1.64%
  • Vermont – 0.3%
  • Virginia – 2.68%
  • Washington – 1.04%
  • Wisconsin – 1.04%
  • Wyoming – 0.15%

Methodology and Caveats

This survey was conducted online within the United States via Google Surveys in May 2022. 1,037 people completed the survey, which asked questions about their opinions of working from home.

There are a few caveats to keep in mind when interpreting these results. First, this survey was conducted online, which means that it’s likely to be biased towards people who are comfortable using the internet and have regular access to it. Second, the sample size is relatively small, so these results may not be representative of the general population.

In addition, it’s worth noting that the opinions of WFH expressed in this survey may not necessarily reflect the views of people who are currently working from home full-time, as they may have different opinions on the matter.

To get a more rounded picture of people’s opinions on WFH, it would be necessary to conduct a survey with larger sample size and with a more diverse group of respondents. We would also ideally ask a wider range of questions in order to get a better understanding of people’s views on WFH.

We did not ask survey respondents which industry they worked in, as we wanted to get a general idea of people’s opinions on WFH regardless of their occupation. However, it’s possible that certain industries are more or less favorable towards WFH than others, and this could potentially bias the results.

For future surveys, it would be interesting to ask people about their thoughts on WFH in relation to their specific industry, as well as whether they think WFH is a good or bad thing for their career.

Work From Home Trends Survey in Summary

The global lockdowns and restrictions of 2020 and beyond gave many people the opportunity to try out the WFH lifestyle.

For some, it was a revelation – they loved the increased flexibility and freedom that came with working from home. For others, it was a nightmare – they missed the social interaction and structure of the traditional workplace.

Despite the previously mentioned caveats, this survey provides some interesting insights into how people feel about working from home as the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be interesting to see how these opinions and trends change over time.