Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become the new normal for many professionals. The workplace has shifted from open floor plans to kitchen tables; video calls have replaced meetings in conference rooms; and wearing sweats has become the business casual uniform of choice.
How well are businesses executing their remote work approach? That was what ZDNet's sister site, TechRepublic Premium, wanted to find out.
TechRepublic Premium conducted a survey to learn more about how organizations are managing their remote workforces. The survey, which was conducted online in January and February 2021, recorded 857 respondents' views on what their company has executed well or poorly as part of its remote work approach. Respondents also answered questions about remote work policies, the platforms they depend on the most, and the connectivity changes they incorporated to make working from home possible.
As a result of COVID-19, a majority (61%) of businesses have gone out of their way to make remote work possible for most employees. More than three-quarters (78%) indicated that they are working from home five days a week. Five percent work remotely for four or three days a week, 4% work remotely two days a week, and 2% of respondents work remotely one day a week.
Not everyone works remotely: 6% of survey respondents said they do not work remotely, although 61% of them would work remotely if given the opportunity.
The majority (96%) of respondents said their company either very successfully or successfully executed its remote work approach. Among the top ways employers make it easier for employees to work remotely are by providing conferencing tools (81%), computer hardware (74%), and connectivity tools such as VPN or cellular devices (73%).
This is a good thing since 80% of respondents reported depending on video conferencing platforms (such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams) for remote work. Cloud-based office suites for collaboration (such as Google Workspace or Office 365) are necessary for 63% of respondents to work remotely, while VPN is essential for 57%. Cloud storage follows as a necessity for 46% of respondents, with 33% listing team tools such as Slack. Fewer respondents required project management tools (13%), private cloud solutions (7%), and team management tools (5%).
Where employers fell short, according to respondents, is supplying hardware (56%) and providing equipment to help employees create an effective remote workspace (52%). In addition, 37% of respondents reported that their company has done a poor job with their remote work approach with video conferencing tools, virtual collaboration tools, manager training, and HR resources.
Interestingly, 75% of respondents reported not needing to change their connectivity to make working from home possible. However, 7% of respondents have added a mesh network or purchased a Wi-Fi hotspot to use as a backup, and 5% either switched providers or replaced consumer-grade network hardware with something more secure.