8 Remote Work Facts You Should Know in 2021 

Learn How to Make Remote and Hybrid Environments Work for You!

Remote and hybrid work environments are here to stay and may continue to increase. CNP provides some of the most pertinent facts about remote working and how you can boost productivity through cloud-based solutions.

While remote and hybrid work environments were already increasing before 2020, the pandemic forced companies to allow remote work so they could continue operating in the face of a global disaster. Though Covid remains a threat with the Delta variant wreaking havoc, many companies are struggling with determining their workforce structure and employee expectations.

The statistics around remote work continue to fluctuate, but here are some key facts and figures you may need to know to determine the best path forward for your workforce:

58.6% of the American workforce is working remotely currently

Over half of the American population works remotely at least part of the time and 41% of those workers are fully remote. This is quite an increase from the 17% of American employees who worked remotely 5 days or more per week before the pandemic hit.

5.7 million U.S. employees work from home half of the time or more

According to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics, 5.7 million US employees are working from home at least half of the time. These 2019 statistics show a significant increase from 3.9 million in 2015. While remote and hybrid work models were on the rise before the pandemic, Covid-19 created a global shift no one could have predicted.

92% of employees now expect to work from home
at least 1 day a week

And in the same survey from Owl Labs, 80% expect to work from home at least 3 days a week. Plus Bloomberg learned that 39% of 1,000 employees surveyed would jump ship if their boss wasn’t flexible about their working remotely. Furthermore, 65% of respondents in one survey report wanting to be full-time remote employees post-pandemic, while 31% of current remote employees want a hybrid remote work environment moving forward.

Since 2020, people have been meeting by video calls 60% more

Videoconferencing became “the new normal," a term which we may have exhausted at this point. This has required companies to determine the best software to keep communication and productivity high as people became spread out across the globe.

74% of companies plan to permanently shift to some percentage of remote work

According to Gartner, of that 74%, approximately a quarter of them say that 20% or more of their workforce will remain remote. Meanwhile, only 26% say that none of their team will remain permanently remote after Covid.

Employers save an average of $11,000 per
half-time remote employee

Statistics from a 2019 study by Global Analytics found that employers saved an average of $11,000 per half-time remote employee. Looking at a full-time remote employee? It’s estimated that every full-time remote worker is reducing company costs by $22,000. a term which we may have exhausted at this point. This has required companies to determine the best software to keep communication and productivity high as people became
spread out across the globe.

Employees save an estimated $4,000 to $6,000
a year working remotely

Due to savings in expenses from gas and coffee to lunches and other work-related expenditures, remote employees are seeing a yearly savings of $4,000 a year and in some instances, $6,000. Remote employees also save an average of 40 minutes daily from commuting.

Remote working reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 600,000 cars

Finally, remote working is good for the environment by cutting down on commuting pollution. If 3.9 million people work from home at least half-time, that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an amount of 600,000 cars, according to the State of Telecommuting. That amount of reduction is akin to planting 91 million trees to offset the same level of emissions, according to 2017 data from Global Workplace Analytics.

Remote Workforce Concerns

We’ve established that some sort of remote or hybrid work environment is expected from employees and acceptable to most CEOs, and there are many pros to continuing to work remotely. However, there are a few issues that can arise from migrating to a permanently remote or hybrid work environment:

  • Cost: One of the biggest concerns around remote work is the cost to onboard software and solutions to enable remote workers. Cloud spending exploded in the second quarter of 2020, up 11% from the previous quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, global cloud services infrastructure spending grew to $41.8 billion, a 35% year-on-year (YoY) increase. With the number of remote workers increasing rapidly, companies need to invest more in cloud solutions to ensure seamless productivity. While there are some initial costs to migrating to the cloud, remote work and cloud solutions have typically saved money overall (see above fact on employer savings).
  • Collaboration and Communication needs: In a 2021 Buffer report, up to 20% of remote workers said that communication and collaboration were one of the biggest issues they faced not being in the office. In 2021, people are using video meetings 60% more than pre-COVID-19, but there can still be issues with communication - making the right videoconferencing and collaboration solutions critical to keeping a remote workforce in sync.
  • Lack of engagement: In remote settings, managers typically communicate via email, which can feel disconnected when creating relationships with their employees. Giving adequate feedback and praise without voice or facial cues can feel impersonal, so it’s imperative that video tools are used for checking in with your team. Virtual events and even in-person meetups or team building happy hours can be crucial to keeping enthusiasm and productivity high while combating loneliness, which was found to be a problem among 17% of those surveyed.  
  • Security: In Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report, 85% of all respondents reported that cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than before the pandemic. Remote workforces create a larger attack surface as employees spread out and can be exposed to unsafe WIFI networks and personal device usage. Having a multi-pronged security solution including antivirus, endpoint security, and email security software is critical - especially as remote work continues. Moving some or a majority of services to the cloud can also improve your security stance.

How to make a remote workforce work for you

With the option of a remote or hybrid work environment being so important to employees, it makes sense that companies will want to determine a solution to keep productivity high, employees happy, and reduce any security risk. If you are looking to adopt a permanent remote workforce, here are a few steps to make sure it works for your team:

  • Discussion: Before you jump into making a decision, open up the floor to your team to share what they would prefer. Employees want to feel like an integral part of the team and like their voices are heard. Some may prefer to work from home half the time, while others want to be remote more often. First, listen to their interests and concerns and then determine what might be best for your company’s needs.  
  • Clear Expectations: Once you have determined a remote working policy, make sure the expectations are clear. If certain employees need to be in the office more often, make sure they know and understand the policy. Miscommunication can lead to disruptive issues that can be easily avoided with a clearly set remote working policy.
  • Resources and Tools: For both in-office and remote employees, you should strive to provide the right tools and resources for them to achieve success. In a classic office setting, that might have been an attractive office space with ergonomic chairs, advanced on-premises phone system, espresso machine, and the necessary printers and software. In the new remote environment, the right cloud communications technologies including UCaaS solutions for collaboration, file sharing, and videoconferencing will make all the difference to encourage seamless productivity from anywhere. If you have contact center agents, a cloud-based contact center solution available across multiple channels can empower your team to rapidly answer client concerns from wherever they might be.
  • Cloud Communications from CNP: As mentioned throughout this article, adopting new cloud solutions or migrating from on-premises UCaaS to cloud-based tools is a must-have for companies looking to enable a remote or hybrid workforce. As we’ve seen, remote workplace policies can help ensure employee satisfaction and save your company $22,000 a year per remote employee. While there can be some initial growing pains, adopting cloud-based communications is critical to modernizing and growing your business as we move past the pandemic into a new era.

If you’d like a free assessment of your current communications solutions or would like more information on CNP solutions from preferred UCaaS vendors such as Mitel or Ring Central and Network Infrastructure vendors like Microsoft Azure, please reach out to info@cnp.net or call us at 888.973.3737.