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After COVID-19 Remote Work to become Expected Benefit

After COVID-19 Remote Work to become Expected Benefit

In the new State of Remote Work study from Owl Labs, your future employees will expect that you offer remote work as a standard benefit. Aimed at helping management and leadership teams better understand their employees' expectations and requirements heading into the next wave of work coming off COVID-19, the report compiled data from more than 2,025 full-time workers across the United States.

The report analyzes employees working remotely, how COVID-19 has changed their sentiment around remote work, what they expect from their employers, and their biggest concerns as they look ahead. It also focused on the past year's experience and economic impact and how the 2019 State of Remote Work report compares to new sentiments.

According to the findings, U.S. employees that want to work remote in the future list the following reasons as key factors:

  • Afraid of getting COVID-19: 79%
  • Avoid the commute: 79%
  • Reduce stress: 74%
  • More time with family / better work-life balance: 72%
  • Increased productivity / better focus: 70%


  • 31% of employees willing to take a pay cut of up to 5% to work remotely
  • 26% of employee willing to take a pay cut of up to 10% to work remotely
  • 23% of employee willing to take a pay cut of over 10% to work remotely

Almost 1 in 2 employees are worried staying remote could negatively affect their career. When asked how worried they are that working remotely would impede their career and/or salary progression, the following data was received:

  • 57% are not worried
  • 32% somewhat worried
  • 11% very worried

When managers were asked what their biggest concerns are around keeping a remote work policy or hybrid work policy) post-COVID, they listed the following reasons:

  • Reduced team cohesiveness: 68%
  • Employee engagement: 68%
  • A lack of engagement with co-workers: 68%
  • Team communication: 66%
  • IT support issues: 66%
  • Reduced focus: 65%

Employees want remote options or will look elsewhere; almost 50% of employees would quit or look for another job. After COVID-19, if no longer allowed to work remotely, employees said:

  • 54% would stay, but be less willing to go the extra mile
  • 46% would look for another job
  • Out of employees who said they would stay, 44% would expect a pay increase to make up for the additional costs

Work attire or pajamas? How remote work could affect the retail industry. Employees were asked if they believe you should dress up for a video meeting (including make-up/hair):

  • Yes - 56%
  • No - 44%

Health insurance is becoming a major focus when employees are considering an employer. They were asked which benefits and perks they consider to be very and critically important.

  • Health Insurance: 88% very and critically important
  • Total Compensation: 87% very and critically important
  • Vacation Policy: 76% very and critically important
  • Flexibility in when I work: 55% very and critically important
  • Flexibility in where I work: 49% very and critically important
  • Employee Wellness Programs: 44% very and critically important
  • Education & Training Reimbursement: 37% very and critically important
  • Student Loan Repayment: 19% very and critically important
  • Onsite or subsidized child care: 18% very and critically important

Pre-COVID-19 or generally, how does your productivity at home compare to when you are at the office? (Q25)

  • 75% feel same or more productive (8% say much more)

Other notable findings included:

  • 50% of employees that live in an urban area (city) said they would move if they were allowed to work from home all or most of the time
  • 10% said they almost always work from their closet, with an extra 5% saying they sometimes or frequently work from this very new (and odd) home office location.
  • Ranking the biggest concerns for remote employees:
    • Interruptions/being talked over: 62%
    • Background distractions from people who are participating remotely: 59%
    • Staying focused: 57%
  • 80% of employees agree/strongly agree there should be one day a week with no meetings

This year's study was created in partnership with Kate Lister, a recognized authority on the future of work. Kate is president of Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), a research and consulting firm that helps employers understand and prepare for the future of work. Her expertise is focused on the workplace, workforce, technology, and other trends that are changing the who, what, when, where, and how of work.

To review the full report and detailed findings, please visit