A Report on the Current State of Remote Work Reveals a Big Problem
Each year since 2017, Owl Labs has surveyed thousands of remote workers around the world to produce a State of Remote Work report, which offers insights on all things remote work: its latest trends and challenges, its impact on employee satisfaction and quality of life, the benefits it offers companies, and more. Needless to say, 2020 — a year that will go down in history as the moment the world made the fortuitous and abrupt switch to working from home — provided a lot of data to sift through. In partnership with the leading remote analytics firm, Global Workplace Analytics, Owl Labs has unveiled their State of Remote Work 2020 report, a 26-page document that provides a full picture of where telecommuting is at, and where it could be heading.
For us, this was by far the most interesting thing it revealed: “...when it comes to home office setups, only 20-25% of companies pay or share the cost of home office equipment and furniture.”
Here at GroWrk, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Remote work is a mutually beneficial set-up, if and when companies take an active role in caring for their team’s health, safety, and happiness. And look, we get it — the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the world seemingly from one day to the next, leaving no time for companies to plan their switch to working from home. It came as a surprise, then, to see that this unexpected turn of events didn’t seem to hurt employee productivity. But sending everyone home and setting up a couple of Zoom check-ins is not a strategy that will work in the long term.
“For the first couple of months in quarantine, my husband and I worked from our dining table, thinking we would be back in our offices soon,” Lucia Barron, a computer science researcher and tenured professor, told us. “Soon, we were both having back pain, and struggling to keep focused without a real workspace.” Eventually, Barron and her husband dressed up in full PPE and visited the campus they work at, taking their chairs, monitors, and a projector which helps them better visualize their virtual classrooms. They ordered desks, and converted a guest room into a shared office space. “We wouldn’t have made it this far without doing that,” she said, adding that “just that first period without a proper set-up took a toll.”
Though the pair’s proactive approach to working from home is commendable, it shouldn’t have been necessary. According to the Owl Labs report, “companies seeking to recruit top candidates and retain top performers will need to start to offer home office setups [...].” Companies have been providing their workers with the tools they need to carry out their tasks comfortably and safely for decades. Ergonomics and industrial design geared towards productivity is now more sophisticated than ever. Why wouldn’t this be an aspect to consider when workers are logging on for the day from their homes?
Another insight offered in the Owl Labs report is that “COVID-19 has introduced a new set of priorities for today’s employee when job seeking, #1 being healthcare benefits.” It’s understandable that the pandemic has made people acutely aware of the importance that health and wellness play in our lives, and this doesn’t only apply to health insurance. Ergonomics-related injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back issues, are the most common form of workplace injuries, representing 33% of all worker injury and illness cases — and a staggering $15-20 billion annually that businesses end up having to absorb, even though these problems are preventable.
If your workers rose to the challenge of keeping productive during a global pandemic, it’s time you set them up with everything they need to really thrive.
With your team’s health, safety and wellness in mind, our team takes care of anything they need — from premium ergonomic equipment to ergonomics coaching and other perks — through an easy-to-use team management dashboard and a flexible subscription that saves you time and money compared to direct-to-consumer channels or wasteful use of stipends.
Learn more about what GroWrk can do for your remote team now!