HRE’s number of the day: remote work

This is how much many workers say they're more productive now that they're working from home.
By: | April 17, 2020 • 2 min read


65%: Percentage of polled Americans who find that they are more productive now that they are working from home.

More than half of Americans have transitioned to working from home in the last month—and the arrangement is working out well, in terms of productivity, according to one survey. The Harris Poll of 1,200 employed Americans commissioned by Zapier found that, among the newly remote workers, 65% said their productivity has increased since they moved out of the office. Only about one-quarter reported working more hours now. Nearly one-third said parts of their jobs are executed more quickly and they have been able to complete the work previously addressed in non-essential meetings through email.

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Some of the common criticisms of remote work don’t seem to be panning out for those surveyed: About three-quarters of respondents said their managers don’t expect them to respond instantly to work matters, they don’t feel pressure to be more productive or to prove that they’re working now that they’re at home and they’re not checking in with their co-workers any more than they previously had. However, despite those findings, 66% still said they prefer working in an office rather than at home.

What it means to HR leaders

As jurisdictions around the country start weighing timeframes for the gradual reopening of businesses, HR leaders are tasked with strategizing for helping their organizations eventually return to business as usual. But companies that saw success from this remote-work experiment should consider embedding flexibility permanently, says Jenny Bloom, Zapier’s chief financial officer.

“The majority of people feel happier and more productive working from home, so as companies begin to shift back into office work, managers should consider reviewing their work-from-home policies,” Bloom says. “This doesn’t mean all companies have to switch to a fully remote workforce. However, more options for flexible work stand to benefit employees and employers alike.”

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.