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What American professionals really think about remote working

Image of Carl Ronander
Carl Ronander20 of April, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing much of the American workforce to operate from home for the first time, video calls have become an essential part of continuing professional life. Millions of people are now relying upon Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts for the first time.

To explore the implications of this unprecedented professional shift, this month, we commissioned a study of 1,500 newly housebound American workers, to understand their experiences in this new era of virtual meetings and video conferences.

Read on to find out what we found.

Productivity and feeling engaged

  • 56% of American workers consider their opinions and ideas are heard less in remote meetings than in face-to-face equivalents. This experience is slightly more common for women (57%) than for men (54%)
  • A quarter of workers (25%) feel significantly more marginalized now they are working remotely, and that their contributions are receiving less acknowledgment
  • 30% of workers cited family members, partners, or housemates as an impediment to productivity during remote working. Internet or technology issues (28%) proved the second most-cited cause of distraction, and distractions in the home (e.g. TV) was third (16%)

Keeping up appearances

  • 16% of workers have customized their backgrounds (through rearranging visible items or choosing a particular location) in order to impress colleagues or clients on video calls
  • 11% have noticed something that they considered unprofessional in the background of a colleague’s video call
  • 12% of workers have avoided switching on their cameras for a video call because they were naked or partially clothed
  • Nearly half of workers (44%) choose different clothes for days in which they have video calls
  • 46% admit to spending more time on their personal appearance (hair, makeup etc.) in anticipation of video calls

Life away from the office

  • When asked about what they missed (or did not miss) about office life:
  • 23% of professionals at home missed their colleagues, whereas 22% did not miss co-workers
  • 6% missed their commute, whereas 36% did not
  • 6% of Americans missed the structure of the working day, whereas 14% did not
  • Americans also missed the efficiency of communication in an office (5%) and workplace technology (2%)
  • Americans did not miss the battle over the temperature in the office (15%), and office furniture (14%)
  • 31% of workers don’t feel equipped with the necessary technology tools to conduct efficient remote video meetings.

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