Over half of employed U.S. adults (57%) have been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 95% ideally want to keep it that way, according to the latest data released today.
The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS), questioned more than 2,000 Americans and revealed that among remote workers, 43% ideally don’t want to return to the office at all, while 51% percent would prefer a mix of remote and in-office working.
Per the study, 35% of employed Americans are strictly remote, while 22% have also been working in an office part-time.
Nearly four in five remote workers (78%) believe they would be most productive if they could choose to work remotely or in an office as needed, including roughly two in five (41%) who strongly agree. Their feelings are so strong that 56% would take less money if it meant they could work from any location full-time.
“Remote work was becoming more commonplace before the pandemic, but it quickly switched from a luxury to a necessity, sending global shockwaves to businesses that never expected – or planned – to be in this position. Now that the genie’s out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in,” said Chris Fielding, Chief Information Officer, Sungard AS. “As employees place greater stock in flexible working, organizations must adapt or risk losing talent. This involves everything from a top-down cultural shift to ensuring workers have the tools and resources they need to be productive and secure from anywhere.”
When thinking about working remotely, 88% of employed adults have at least one item they feel is “absolutely essential” to working from home.
Most important is high-speed internet (54%), followed by software that keeps work devices secure while working remotely (45%) and an easy-to-use system for securely sharing files with co-workers (41%). Thirty-seven percent also believe that IT support that specializes in remote workers is a must-have.
The data shows that just under seven in 10 working Americans (68%) feel their company offers the right technology for them to work remotely, but less than half of employed adults (48%) believe their company is culturally prepared to offer remote work to everyone.
“As companies scrambled to get their newly dispersed workforce hardware and software to do their jobs effectively, security took a backseat. And hackers quickly took advantage,” Fielding added. “Ransomware and phishing attacks are now on the rise, and too many organizations are playing catch up. You must become more vigilant about cybersecurity awareness. Make sure your employees are all using multi-factor authentication, secure your VPNs and shore up any vulnerabilities before they get exploited. The desire for this work environment is real, yet so is the security risk it poses if not maintained correctly.”
The survey also discovered:
- Most Americans want a remote option. Overall, 74% of respondents, regardless of their current employment status, want to work remotely, either exclusively (37%) or in combination with an office (36%). Among employed adults, 66% would prefer to work remotely in some capacity.
- Older adults are ready to leave the office behind. Nearly 40% percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 want to work strictly remotely. That figure jumps to 44% for adults 65 and older.
- Younger adults aren’t finished with the office just yet. Meanwhile, younger adults still see value in the office experience: 43% of those in the 35-44 age range desire a mix of remote and in-office working, and 29% of those 18-34 want to work solely in the office.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sungard AS from June 17-21, 2021, among 2,083 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,043 are employed and 572 have been working remotely (“remote workers”). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Nora.Hahn@sungardas.com.
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