The State of Remote Work - September 2021 Q3 Quarterly Report

State of the Remote Work Reports

Welcome To Our Latest Edition of the WWR State of Remote Work Report!

Here’s where we explore how the remote work landscape has been evolving since the COVID-19 pandemic made work-from-home (WFH) the new “normal” almost two years ago.

If this is your first time joining us, we’re happy you’re here! And if you’re returning after our last report, thank you!

Today you’ll find the most current statistics and trends about how the workplace has changed (for the better!) for employers and employees.

You’ll also find a quick case study on Salesforce’s approach to heading back to the office and a few viral articles about remote work at the end of this report. 

We’ll keep your update on what’s changed since our last report brief, so you can get all the intel you need while sipping your cup of coffee. Enjoy!

The Top 6 Remote Work Trends (September 2021)


1. The Perks Of Remote Work Are Finally Catching On To Employers

While many newly remote employees dig telecommuting, employers are finally starting to see the perks add up on their end too.

According to recent research:

  • 27% of employers surveyed said their team members have been more productive since working remotely.

  • 77% of companies have lowered their operating expenses simply by offering more remote work.

  • Employers score an average increase of $2,000 in profit per employee who starts working remotely.

As a result, 47% of companies polled have decided to continue to let their employees work remotely full-time, even after the pandemic subsides a bit.

2. Office Returns? Employees Say Hard Pass

Survey results posted in Business Insider revealed that 41% of remote workers plan on never returning to the office, up from 29% at the beginning of the year.

Stats also show 48% of employees plan to keep working remotely after the pandemic, whether their current employer allows it or not. 

That may be why remote job searches saw a 460% surge!

Millennials are edging out as the strongest supporters of the WFH movement:

So while most people are itching to get out of lockdowns, the opposite is happening when it comes to going back to the office. People want to work remotely now -- and we can’t blame them!

3. Finding the WFH Sweet Spot

If you don’t think your business can become a 100% remote company, insights from Bloomberg reveal that employers can boost productivity by 4.8% just by offering at least one WFH day per week. 

However, their experts say the ideal productivity sweet spot is closer to having two to three days per week of remote work.

Why? Because 78% of employees say they’re more focused at home without distractions bugging them at the office.

The good news is that many employees could be on board with a flexible remote work schedule. A staggering 99% of those surveyed would work remotely for the rest of their life, even if it could only be part-time.

Trends like these are why labor force analysts predict 62% of people aged 22 to 65 will now work remotely during some of their workweek.

4. Healthier Bodies, Healthier Planet?

Working remotely has led to a greater emphasis on employee health.

Almost 92% of people surveyed said they regularly participate in wellness activities now that they work from home.

When employees take care of their health, they’re happier and less stressed, which results in productivity increases as high as 24%. Healthier employees also cost less for companies offering employer-sponsored health insurance, making it a true win-win.
There’s also a hugely positive environmental impact worth mentioning.

Remote work can help save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ditching the standard commute may be equivalent to taking 600,000 cars off the road so Mother Earth can breathe easier.

5. Redefining The Stay At Home Parent

Besides all the positives we mentioned earlier, remote work has become a game-changer for working parents. According to intel published in The Atlantic:

  • Busy parents slashed childcare and daycare expenses when working from home.

  • Parents have been spending more time with their kids without sacrificing work duties.

  • Childcare and household responsibilities are divided more equitably when partners WFH.

  • Remote work may also boost fertility rates.

Once people captured all the benefits of remote work on the home front, there was no turning back.

6. Embracing the Culture of Trust

In order for companies and their employees to capture all the benefits of remote work, there needs to be a foundation built on a culture of trust.

Managers and team leaders can’t virtually hover like Big Brother and constantly barrage remote employees with Slack notifications to check-in every 10 minutes. Likewise, telecommuting employees can’t adopt a mindset of “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

NBC analysts stress that the virtual office is only productive and beneficial when intentional and explicit efforts to foster trusting relationships are made. Any attempts to be rigid about how people work from home will backfire and lead to lower retention.

On the bright side, when trust is a two-way highway between teams, 83% of employees are more productive working remotely.

A Brief Case Study from Salesforce: How the Cloud-Based Software Company is Thriving With Remote Work

Researchers at NBC say the home office is here to stay. So companies now need to adjust their recruiting and retention strategies to include flexible WFH arrangements if they don’t want to miss out on or lose talented employees.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff echoed this sentiment in a recent interview shared by Business Insider

While Apple’s Tim Cook and JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon want their employees to return to the office, Benioff is keeping remote work in play. 

He says his Salesforce team (which also powers Slack) has been productive and successful working remotely during the pandemic. And since Salesforce stock earned higher-than-expected Q2 earnings, it makes sense that he’s not pushing anyone to return to the office anytime soon.

7 Viral News Articles About Remote Work (September 2021)

Headlines about remote work have been filling up feeds for the last year and a half. But the most viral news articles this quarter are anchored more in real-world observations than hypothetical predictions:

  1. That Home Office Might Be Here To Stay: Workers Are Flexing Their Pandemic-Era Right To Flexibility

  2. The Hybrid Work Revolution Is Already Transforming Economies

  3. The Remote Work-Fertility Connection

  4. Zillow Is Abandoning The Antiquated Location-Based Pay System

  5. The Winners of Remote Work

  6. Remote Work May Now Last for Two Years, Worrying Some Bosses

  7. How to Gameplan Your Office Days: An Overachiever’s Guide to Hybrid Work

Wrapping Up the Current State and Future of Remote Work

As COVID variants wreak havoc across countries and remote teams gain more experience in the virtual workplace, we predict telecommuting will continue at least until the end of this year (and most likely forever).

Our latest State of Remote Work Report revealed that:

  • Remote workers are in the driver’s seat. They’re happier, more productive, and unwilling to let go of their newfound schedule flexibility. Employees appreciate these perks so much that many are willing to quit jobs that don’t offer WFH or give up their employee benefits just to work remotely from here on out. Remote job search, anyone?

  • Employers see the writing on the wall. Higher productivity rates, lower operating costs, and an average $2,000 profit per person all prove remote work just makes sense. And with more talent leaving during the current Great Resignation, recruiting and retention strategies must focus heavily on WFH as a selling point.

We’re not surprised by these results, but it’s always interesting to see how the remote work landscape is changing, especially throughout the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic’s chaos.

Check back with us for our next quarterly update, and we’ll see what the end of 2021 brings for the state of remote work! We’ll share the facts, you get the coffee 😀

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