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Conflicting Reports on Remote Worker Productivity and Contentment

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Remote working is becoming normal for the tech industry, with most tech employees working remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Studies and surveys are trying to measure the impact on productivity that organisations are seeing as a result of the shift. The results are conflicting and illustrate the complexity of the times we find ourselves in.

Different surveys and investigations find ranges from a 1% productivity drop to a 47% productivity increase, highly varying levels of satisfaction with working remotely and significant differences between seasoned remote workers and those who are suddenly remote due to COVID-19.

Valoir released the results of a survey accompanied by in depth interviews which concludes that the overall productivity impact from the sudden shift to remote working is only a 1% drop compared to their previous findings. Aternity released a three-volume summary of their study which found significant productivity variations across different countries and regions. The Aternity study found that productivity (measured by hours worked computer time) dropped by 8.5% in Europe and increased by 23% in North America. Forbes reports on data from Prodoscore employee productivity tracking software that shows a 47% increase in productivity from remote workers.

Pipefy, in their Pulse of Remote Work Before and After COVID-19 report, contrasted the experience of people who were already working remotely before COVID-19 and those who are newly remote. 41% of newly remote workers want to go back to the office, 20% want to continue working remotely all the time and 39% would like to work remotely part of the time.

The challenges for newly remote workers include:

  • Distractions - 63%
  • Work-life balance - 36%
  • Collaboration/communication issues - 31%
  • No designated office space - 28%
  • IT infrastructure issues - 13%
  • No supervision - 9%

These findings are a contrast to the picture painted in the Buffer State of Remote Work Report, which largely looked at the picture prior to COVID-19 lockdowns. InfoQ covered the Buffer report in March.

The Pipefy results are summarised in this infographic:

Pipefy Pulse of Remote Work amid COVID-19 infographic

 

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