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Half of America just started working from home. So, how's it going?

By Zapier Editorial Team · April 6, 2020
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A few months ago, remote work was niche. In the past month, just over half of employed Americans have transitioned to working from home—at least, for the time being. It's a massive experiment.

Remote work isn't a perk anymore: it's temporarily mandatory for millions of employees. We wanted to find out how everyone is feeling about this change, so we recently commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct a survey on our behalf among over 1,200 employed U.S. adults.

About Zapier: Zapier helps customers grow their businesses with the power of automation by connecting over 2,000 apps. Founded in 2011, Zapier has always operated as an entirely remote company, and today has 300+ employees working in 28 countries around the world.

Americans feel more productive working from home...but miss the office

Over half of all employed Americans (51 percent) transitioned to working from home last month. Our findings suggest they feel good about the change in some ways, but still miss the office.

Three quarters of knowledge workers are willing to quit their job to go remote

Among those who have transitioned to working from home in the past month:

  • 65 percent feel their productivity has increased now that they work from home.

  • 80 percent say they can better manage interruptions from coworkers now that they work from home.

  • 80 percent enjoy being able to see their family during the day now that they work from home.

  • 77 percent say they're finding new times to be productive outside of the normal 9–5 hours.

  • And yet, even with all of those seeming advantages, 66 percent prefer working in the office or workplace over working from home.

Need to adjust to remote work in a hurry? You're not alone. We're a company of 300+ employees that's been entirely remote from the beginning, and we're sharing what we've learned. Check out The ultimate guide to remote work to get started.

Work doesn't take longer from home...and might be faster

Adjusting to remote work takes a while, but millions of Americans are having to do it essentially overnight. What changes are they noticing?

Three quarters of knowledge workers are willing to quit their job to go remote

Despite common conceptions of remote work making it hard to track accountability, Americans don't feel pressure to be more productive or prove they're working.

  • 74 percent don't feel pressure to be more productive.

  • 71 percent don't feel pressure to prove they're working.

  • 77 percent say their manager doesn't expect them to respond instantly.

  • 72 percent say they're not checking in any more than usual with their team.

People don't miss their coworkers.

  • Only 42 percent miss socializing with coworkers.

People generally don't feel like work takes longer to complete while working remotely

  • 73 percent say that none of their tasks take longer to complete when working from home.

  • 26 percent say that parts of their job are being executed more quickly.

  • 29 percent say non-essential meetings have been pared down to emails.

Schedules are changing, but not consistently.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 (31 percent) say they are working fewer hours.

  • Just over 1 in 4 (27 percent) say they're working more hours.

  • Only 29 percent say their schedule is unpredictable as their family is also home.

Workers are using video and team chat more often

Working from home doesn't work without the right tools. Which tools are Americans using more often now that they work from home?

Three quarters of knowledge workers are willing to quit their job to go remote
  • Video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts) 49 percent

  • Team chat tools (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack) 43 percent

  • Online/cloud-based drives (e.g, Dropbox, Google Drive, Sharepoint) 41 percent

  • Software automation tools (e.g., Zapier, IFTTT) 24 percent

  • Productivity tools (e.g., Basecamp, Asana, Trello) 20 percent

Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zapier** **from March 26-30, 2020 among 1,241 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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