We would like to thank our partner Asana for providing us with this study on the topic of remote work. Because the Sastrify team works entirely remotely, we consider the following insights to be extremely exciting and worth sharing.
In 2020, an unprecedented global event fundamentally changed the way we work. Governments and businesses around the world instituted mandatory remote work protocols nearly overnight. This new work paradigm has changed the office construct as we know it. The dramatic, rapid shift has accelerated digital transformations as teams now grapple with navigating the transition from remote to distributed teams, many for the first time. As organizations look beyond these short-term adjustments, many are left wondering what’s next. What’s clear is that this unique moment in time is an undeniable catalyst for a massive transformation of where and how we work. At Asana, we wanted to understand how habits changed during mandatory remote work protocols and how these transformations will continue to shape our future — from distributed teams to new norms and processes. The Anatomy of Work: Remote Teams survey evaluated the behaviors and attitudes of 5,140 full-time employees currently working beyond the office in Australia, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. Conducted by Censuswide, the findings underscore the impacts of remote work for employees and organizations while providing a window into what’s needed for teams to flourish in the new era of distributed work.
An overview of global findings
Shifting schedules, more breaks, and fewer meetings
The rapid shift from in-person to completely remote teams had a significant impact on employees across the world, and many found that their day looked very different than before:
- 59% of global employees were working different hours than their “normal” working day
- 53% took more breaks throughout the day; 23% took the same; 22% took fewer breaks
- 34% had fewer meetings; 30% had the same amount; 26% had more meetings
Collaboration from a distance
When remote working protocols came into effect, nearly two-thirds (62%) of full-time knowledge workers increased their use of collaboration tools with one in five (18%) using them for the very first time.
From work management platforms to messaging apps and video conferencing tools, companies across the world quickly embraced the potential of technology to keep teams connected and aligned while physically distant. Those that adopted work management tools, in particular, saw the benefits. Nearly twice as many employees using a work management tool felt more connected and supported by their manager (30%) than those who didn’t use them (17%). Additionally, 55% of those using work management software felt more productive, compared to those that didn’t (35%). They also benefited from fewer meetings, freeing up time for skilled work. While many teams were quick to adopt new technologies, the majority of respondents were ill-equipped to navigate the rapid shift to working from home with many lacking the basic tools to be successful. In fact, over half of the respondents (53%) didn’t have a dedicated desk, PC/laptop, or reliable internet connection with 43% admitting to logging on from their kitchen tables, sofas, and even beds.
Diving deep: How Germany adapted to remote working protocols
More collaboration, a better work-life balance
During the remote working period, German workers modified their schedules the most of any country surveyed, with only 29% maintaining their previous schedule. This compares to 41% in the U.K., 46% in Australia and the U.S., and 47% in Japan. Additionally, more family time and a better work-life balance are positives that many German employees benefited from while working remotely. Only 35% found it difficult to switch off in the evenings - the second-lowest of all countries surveyed following the U.S.
In addition, German workers also found more time during the day to spend with their loved ones, with 62% blocking off time for family activities - the highest number of any country surveyed. The increased flexibility correlates with the fact that 65% of German workers increased their reliance on collaboration tools since transitioning to remote work, the highest of all countries surveyed.
Remote work challenges and a return to the office
The data also suggests that the transition to remote work was socially challenging for many German workers with 73% missing physical interactions and in-person conversations with their colleagues. While all countries surveyed experienced some level of difficulty disconnecting from work at the end of the day, German workers found it to be one of their greatest challenges of remote work, in addition to a lack of self-motivation and stress about the current health/economic situation. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that out of all countries surveyed, German workers were the most eager to get back to the office, with only 36% expressing a desire to continue remote work.