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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:
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:
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.
In general, people seem to be positive about working from home. When asked how they felt about their productivity levels while 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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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:
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:
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:
Our survey respondents were fairly evenly split between male and female, with slightly more women participating.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.