Nearly two-thirds of respondents said instant messaging and email are the most effective tools to support a remote workforce
Modern tools and technologies are important to support a remote workforce long-term, according to PubNub’s survey. The survey, which involved one thousand employed remote workers, highlighted that nearly two-thirds of respondents said instant messaging and email are the most effective tools to support a remote workforce. 64% of respondents also feel confident their organizations can succeed in a long-term remote workforce with current technologies in place or by making some improvements.
Remote work during lockdown has affected the time we spend online. The research shows employees are now working more, but also have more tools on hand to be successful. When asked how remote work affected the amount of working hours, 65% spend more time online, with nearly one-third of respondents saying they are also responding to incoming inquiries outside of regular working hours.
“COVID-19 has forced dramatic changes in the workplace, and many of these changes will undoubtedly stay in place long after the pandemic passes,” said Todd Greene, CEO and founder, PubNub. “Companies are accelerating the transformation of their operations and cultures to enable permanent, widespread remote work. It’s critical that organizations adopt best practices during this transition, and this survey is helping shine the light on what’s working.”
The survey aimed to discover what tools and technologies are needed to enable long term remote working, how employees have evaluated their own success and productivity during lockdown, and how professional tools make way into everyday life.
Addressing Industry Readiness for Long-term Remote Working Trends
The outlook is optimistic for most workers surveyed when asked if their company can be successful working remotely in the long-term.
37% thought their workplace can be successful and already have the right tools in place to do so, while another 27% believe their workplace can be successful with the improvements being made to tools already in place. Only 8% say that even with the right tools in place they could not stay remote long-term and be successful as a company.
The top changes that have been implemented in the workplace that employees surveyed think will stick included more flexible schedules, working from home, and video calls instead of phone only meetings. While many believed work from home policies would be included as part of new office policies, 34% predicted their office would “go back to normal” with a stricter/more limited work from home policy than during the lockdown.
Getting the Right Tools in Place is Critical
The clear winners of helpful technology and tools have emerged as they have been put to the test for months during shutdowns. When asked how workers are getting the best responses from co-workers, 33% said chat and instant messaging are the most helpful, with email a close second at 32%. 38% required more collaboration or project management tools to stay successful working remotely long-term.
While many new tech and tools have been helpful, the barrage of services at our disposal can clearly hinder our productivity when they don’t work as needed.
42% of workers said the technology that annoys them the most were laggy video calls and 30% said lack of security and protection of personal information. 25% of those surveyed said the most distracting form of communication during remote work is having more scheduled calls or video conferences, above getting more emails and unscheduled audio phone calls.
Professional Technology Crossing Over to Personal Life
As more remote technology tools become available in both personal and professional lives, workers reported the most commonly used remote technologies they had not used before the lockdown.
Over half said they attended a personal Zoom meeting (not for work), showing the crossover between corporate tools bleeding into everyday life benefits. 16% had their first Tele-health visit, and 14% had first time grocery or meal kit delivery. Post-lockdown, 37% said texting and calling will remain the preferred way to stay in touch with friends/family, but 18% said they will continue use of professional video call apps and 16% use chat and instant messaging as their communication tools.
Key technologies have especially proven their importance with the shutdown of critical services like medical care and classrooms, and will have a benefit well beyond our current environment. Over half of respondents surveyed agreed the top changes to various industries that will stick include broader e-learning options/virtual classrooms, tele-health as a first line of medical care, and also fewer large-scale events.
Other Key Takeaways
Of those surveyed, 64% were ages 25-44 and 55% women and 45% men. Some digital “firsts” included attending an online fitness class, attending a religious or spiritual service, watched an online concert, joined an online gaming community or signed up for a contactless payment system.
“Workplaces should leverage tools and services that embrace an array of features like notifications, organic interactions, and responsive chat to provide effective real-time experiences,” continued Greene. “We’re fortunate that many of these new technologies were available when this pandemic hit, allowing us to live our lives, build our careers, and develop future plans.”