The ZipRecruiter work-from-home survey highlights broad acceptance of remote work as the new normal
Employers and job seekers broadly agree: the remote work experiment of 2020 has been a success. If it were put to a vote, continuing remote work after the pandemic would win a large majority of employers and a super-majority of job seekers.
Both sides of the labor market largely view remote work positively, with older job seekers and women most likely to favor working from home now and in the future.
The findings come from a new survey of more than 4,000 job seekers and 150 employers by leading online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.
Highlights of the 2020 survey
1. Remote work has productivity benefits
80% of employers and 85% of job seekers described remote work as either enhancing or having no impact on their productivity. Employers were slightly more likely to say they saw productivity gains than losses, whereas job seekers were more than twice as likely to say they experienced gains.
2. Remote work saves workers and employers money
Around the world, executives are exploring remote work as a way to cut business costs.
30% of employers surveyed by ZipRecruiter identified reduced real estate and overhead costs as important benefits to their organizations.
But the results of the survey suggest that the cost savings associated with remote work may be even more important to workers.
Large shares of job seekers identified saving money (71%) and time (64%) that would be spent commuting or saving money on work clothing (39%) as important benefits. 23% of job seekers said an important benefit of remote work was that it would allow them to live in areas with lower housing costs.
3. Remote work boosts morale, mental health, and retention
Social isolation, loneliness and difficulty staying motivated have received considerable attention in the media as potential downsides of remote work. But only relatively small shares of job seekers identified loneliness (10%) or staying motivated (8%) as their biggest remote-work challenges.
When asked how remote work affected their happiness, more than three times as many said it had made them happier (38%) rather than sadder (11%), and almost four times as many said it had made them less stressed (41%) rather than more stressed (11%).
Employers also saw better retention (32%) and reduced employee absences (40%) as important benefits of remote work.
4. Relatively few employers and workers perceive downsides
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But remote work might be as close as it gets—at least, in the short term. Only one-in-three employers worries about potential loss of innovation and collaboration, and only one-in-three job seekers worries about interruptions from children and other family members. Other potential drawbacks were of concern to even fewer respondents.
That said, half of respondents would prefer splitting the week between home and office over working full-time in one or the other, if they had the choice.
5. Remote work could cause larger changes over the long term
About half of workers are concerned about the possibility that remote work could weaken the bonds between employers and employees in the long run. The technologies that support remote work also support distributed work—a model in which the physical locations of workers and employers do not matter and workers can be located anywhere around the globe.
Could greater physical distance lead to more tenuous employment relationships? Or will new remote work technologies evolve and become as good as, or better than, physical office spaces at fostering connection?
Roughly one-in-two workers are concerned that if companies expand their reliance on remote work, they might replace salaried full-time staff with contractors, favor those who do come to the office in promotions, or outsource work to places with cheaper housing costs and lower wages.
ZipRecruiter surveyed 4,167 active job seekers and 150 active employers in the United States between June 23 and June 29, 2020. Active users are defined as logged in, registered users who visited ZipRecruiter’s job marketplace during that time period.
38% of the employers surveyed have 10 or fewer employees, 45% have between 10 and 250 employees, and 18% have 250 or more employees. The sample of employers spanned every major industry. 14% of the job seekers surveyed were from Generation Z, 38% were Millennials, 34% were from Generation X, and 14% were Baby Boomers. (Totals may not add up to one due to rounding.)