Survey Finds 51% Have Been More Productive Working from Home during COVID-19


According to a FlexJobs survey* of approximately 4,000 people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 51 percent report they have been much more productive working from home than they were in the traditional office. 44 percent said their productivity was about the same. Only 5 percent say they have been less productive in their home office.

Overall Views on Remote Work:

  • 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, while 31% would like a combination of remote and in-office work. 4% would prefer to return to the traditional office full-time
  • Just 3% view remote work less favorably since the pandemic started. 61% say they view remote work more favorably and 35% say their views have been unchanged
  • Exactly half of people working remotely during the pandemic say their companies view remote work more favorably since the pandemic, while 21% think their views have been unchanged. Only 9% say they view it less favorably, while the remaining 20% are unsure

“As the CEO of a fully remote company for the last fourteen years, and a long-time remote work advocate, I am personally never surprised to hear that productivity has increased for workers who shifted from the traditional office to a home office,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “It is impressive, though, that despite the myriad of distractions and stressors that have accompanied remote workers during the pandemic, productivity has not only remained steady but actually increased for the majority of them! Imagine what these workers would be capable of productivity-wise once those factors have been removed from their home office. Many companies have recognized this potential and are already committing to long-term remote arrangements. I believe the companies that refuse to do this will ultimately suffer from a talent attraction and retention perspective. The time for more permanent remote work has finally come,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

Remote Job Market During COVID-19:

FlexJobs has seen a significant increase in people looking for remote and flexible jobs since the COVID-19 crisis began, as well as more companies than ever allowing remote work and hiring for remote positions. In fact, despite a slower overall job market, FlexJobs saw a 12% increase in remote job listings in August over July, and previous pandemic months saw increases as well.

Top Reasons Remote Work Has Benefited Job Performance During COVID-19:

Despite the potential distractions while working from home during an emergency, workers say their focus has improved because of:

  • Quieter work environment (68%)
  • Fewer interruptions from colleagues (68%)
  • More control over workplace (66%)
  • More comfortable work environment (65%)
  • More focused time (63%)
  • Avoiding office politics (55%)
  • Fewer meetings (35%)

Top Ways Working Has Benefited Overall Life During COVID-19:

Eliminating pain points around commutes is the best benefit of remote work. This is not surprising, given that 36% have had roundtrip commutes of more than two hours. Relatedly, 39% either have plans to move in the next six months, or are considering a move.

  • No commute (79%)
  • Better work-life balance (73%)
  • No commute cost (72%)
  • Not having to “get dressed” for work in more formal office clothes (62%)
  • More time to take care of myself (cook healthier, exercise, meditation, etc.) (62%)
  • Save money on eating out, making my own coffee, etc. (62%)
  • More time with my family/children (46%)
  • More time with my partner/spouse (42%)
  • Easier to take care of my pet(s) (37%)

Top Things People Miss About Being in an Office During COVID-19:

Roughly 1 in 4 say they don’t miss anything about the office, but missing camaraderie with colleagues has been observed. Only a fifth struggle with unplugging after working hours.

  • Miss seeing my colleagues (49%)
  • Stronger relationships with colleagues when in person (44%)
  • Nothing (37%)
  • In-person meetings are more effective (26%)
  • Unplugging is too difficult while working from home (20%)
  • More stimulating environment (14%)
  • Miss water cooler talk (14%)
  • Worried about remote work’s impact on my career (12%)
  • Too lonely working from home (11%)
  • Too distracted working from home (7%)

Insights for Employers to Consider:

  • 81% say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options
  • 30% have already made a request and been approved by their employers to continue working remotely post-pandemic. 13% say their companies have already requested they continue to work from home. 13% have made a request but been denied.
  • 27% would take a 10-20% cut in pay in exchange for the option to work from home as much as they wanted
  • Less than 4% worry a lot that working from home will hurt their career progression

FlexJobs is a premium online job service for professionals seeking flexible work, specializing in full-time and part-time remote jobs, employee and freelance jobs, and on-site jobs with flexible, part-time, and alternative schedules. Since its start in 2007, FlexJobs has helped more than 4 million people in their job searches and has created the largest vetted database of legitimate flexible job opportunities in over 50 career categories.

*FlexJobs created the survey, which was promoted to general audiences and its subscribers/members primarily through social media and newsletters. We used a multiple choice and multi-select question format via Survey Monkey’s online platform. The survey ran from August 19, 2020 – September 7, 2020. 

 **Demographic breakdown of the 4,000 respondents: Location: United States (73%), Canada (4%) Outside US & Canada (23%) ; Gender: women (69%), men (31%); Ages: 20-39 (37%), 40-59 (51%), 60+ (11%); Education: high school degree or equivalent (4%), some college but no degree (12%), associate or bachelor’s degree (50%), graduate degree (33%); Career level: entry-level (10%), experienced (55%), manager (21%), senior level or higher (14%). Income: 11% earn over $100,000, 12% earn between $75,000-$99,999, 20% earn between $50,000-$74,999, 28% earn between $25,000-$49,999, and 29% earn less than $25,000. 62% had children 18 or younger living at home with them. 

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