More people are working remotely and in most cases they are doing it alone. This is responsible for 20% of remote workers saying they struggle with loneliness. This according to the 2020 State of Remote Work Report by Buffer and AngelList.
As more people work remotely, it is important to ask what trends are growing across the remote work landscape? Finding the answers to the issues remote workers face now is especially important because more of the workforce is going to be working this way.
For small businesses that are also increasingly using remote workers, this report provides valuable insights into remote workers. Beyond loneliness these workers are facing other struggles. Finding out what they are can help a business better support their remote hires.
The data comes from three previous annual reports as well as the more than 3,500 remote workers from around the world that took part in the survey for the 2020 edition.
The State of Remote Work
When it comes to remote work respondents in the past three years have agreed on one thing; they want to continue to work remotely. Even though it is not everyone, 98% say they want to continue working this way in the survey. And an almost equal number (97%) will also recommend remote work to other people.
As to the amount of time they work remotely, 57% say it is full time, 27% work remotely more than half the time and 18% less than half the time. And when they do work, 80% work primarily from home. The rest work at the company office (9%), coworking spaces (7%), and coffee shops (3%) as well as libraries and other places at 0.5% each.
Regarding the benefits of working remotely, a flexible schedule (32%) and work from anywhere (26%) are the top two reasons respectively. Some of the other benefits are not having to commute (21%), the ability to spend time with family (11%) and work from home (7%).
Challenges of Remote Work
The challenges of remote work are communication, collaboration, and loneliness in that order. The report says it is important for companies to acknowledge these issues because they encompass key components of remote work.
Collaboration and communication are extremely important for remote workers. And the fact they are still a problem is still puzzling considering all of the available tools. Amir Salihefendi, CEO of Doist, explains the problem in the report.
Salihefendi? says, “Communication and collaboration are still the core struggles as they affect every team, and [these are] things that we haven’t fully figured out, even for non-remote teams.”
He goes on to say, the problem is more on how people are working with the available tools for remote and office teams. “In the upcoming years, I am sure we will see tools that are made from first-principles thinking and that challenge the status quo, and we’ll see tools that highly optimize for remote-first teams.”
Remote Workers are Lonely
The issue of loneliness receives the same number of respondents at 20%. And according to the report it has consistently been selected as the top struggle in these reports for the past three years. But it goes on to say it is an accurate reflection of a larger-scale societal struggle with loneliness.
So, working alone for an extended period can lead to loneliness and mental health struggles. According to Viking, freelancers should talk to someone if the stress and strains of the job become difficult.
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Definitely agree, Michael! Human-to-human interaction should take place whenever possible in order to combat feeling so alone in your work world.
I agree. Sometimes I like to work from a Starbucks just to feel part of society, maybe do some people-watching. It’s okay to want some face-to-face interaction. Also look for networking groups in your area and industry. If one doesn’t exist, start one up.
This is true. This is the reason why coworking spaces are on the rise. It allows for workers to communicate with like minded individuals in shared spaces.