If one was to capture 2020 in a single word, “unprecedented” would be a fairly solid pick. The rippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic have transformed all aspects of life, with how we work being one of the most salient.
Case in point: at the start of the year, 4.7 million Americans (3.4% of the working population) worked remotely
. Just three months later, at the height of lockdown, 34% of Americans who previously went into the office every day were now working from home
The Overnight Shift to WFH
This unprecedented shift is remarkable for its incredible pace, not so much the direction. Even before the pandemic accelerated the move from the office, remote work was on an upward trajectory with 159% growth since 2005
. It’s estimated that by 2025, the majority of the workforce (at least 70%) will work remotely for at least one full business week each month.
At all levels of the corporate hierarchy, from admins up to CEO's, 2020 has represented a massive work-from-home experiment. As much of a rollercoaster as these last few months have been, the rapid shift to WFH offers a unique glimpse into the future of work, and to better prepare companies and their employees for life after the office.
The overnight shift to WFH marks the first time many employees have had to find ongoing and sustainable ways to work together while apart - and as a whole, teams are not doing too badly: according to a global survey
of office employees during the pandemic, 68% said they’ve been “very successful” working from home. Employees are equally satisfied with their work activity performance at home compared to the office, and 70% of leaders say their teams are performing the same or better from home.
The Future of Remote Work
These positive assessments of remote work are quite remarkable given that workplaces were forced to transform themselves overnight and without much warning. Sentiments about working from home have likely improved as teams adapted to working remotely and refined the processes and tools by which they do so.
Given that remote work is here to stay, it’s worth looking at the experiences of the last few months to evaluate what we’ve learned about remote work so far as well as find ways to make remote work even better moving forward.
Without further ado, here are five lessons we’ve learned about remote work in 2020.