Despite the perks, WFH has come with it’s own unique set of challenges

A survey of 2,000 Americans were asked their opinions about working from home and the struggles they’ve faced during their transition. Photo by Jose Vazquez on Unsplash

As if the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t caused enough headaches, the average remote worker has experienced 230 tech problems trying to do their job from home over the past year, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 Americans were asked their opinions about working from home and the struggles they’ve faced during their transition.

As Americans are dealing with an average of four tech problems a week, it’s no surprise then that the top five struggles of working from home are all tech related.

The top WFH struggle was having to use a personal computer for work (38%), followed by having software crash in the middle of a task (27%). Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents also said they’ve struggled over the past year because they didn’t have the proper equipment or software they needed to do their job.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of document automation software, PandaDoc, the survey found 63% said they’ve had to completely reorganize their homes to have a workspace leading to 61% stating they miss their office setup back in the pre-pandemic days.

The top thing they missed about the workplace was having easy access to the software they needed — 62% said this lack of access initially made remote work difficult and 57% stated that the lack of adequate technology and software negatively impacted their productivity in their work from home environment.

Over the course of the past year, however, 72% of respondents have tried out some new software in the hopes of solving these issues.

Of these respondents, 45% said the adoption of electronic signatures has helped them save time during the workday, closely followed by digital document process (39%) and workflow management tools (35%).

Seventy-two percent of those who’ve tried new software while working from home plan on pitching them to be implemented to the entire office when they return in-person once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“Working from home can be stressful, whether it’s juggling homeschooling or sharing a workspace with a partner,” said Shawn Herring, VP of Marketing for PandaDoc. “The results show one thing that has made this organized chaos easier to navigate are software products that enable document sharing, collaboration and workflow automation, with 70% of respondents agreeing these tools are necessary to maintain productivity.”

Working from home isn’t all bad though; the results found that over half (55%) of respondents said having a flexible schedule was by far the best part of the new normal during the pandemic.

Other top WFH perks for respondents included snacking on whatever they want, whenever they want (38%), cutting their commute (36%) and rolling out of bed five minutes before signing on (35%). Having the ability to work out in the middle of the workday rounded out the top five benefits of working from home for 25% of respondents.

Additional benefits of working from home included more comfortable and non-disruptive working setups — like not being distracted with side conversations and not wearing pants if they don’t want to.

The results showed companies are keen to make working from home more manageable for employees as well, with 38% of respondents sharing their companies have added virtual social events and activities to the mix, 35% have extended or rewarded time off and even 23% have received care packages.

“The past year has naturally come with challenges; however, the results are clear that despite the initial trials and tribulations of remote working, it’s going to be the new normal in varying degrees for many companies,” added Herring. “The dramatic shift toward remote working this year has accelerated the need for workflow and collaboration software and companies and employees that are set up with the right tools will be set for success moving forward.”

Despite the ups and downs of remote working, 69% of respondents said they’d much rather stay at home than return to the office, with 41% in strong agreement. This may be due to 57% of respondents also sharing that their job has become much easier since they started working remotely.

TOP WFH STRUGGLES

  1. Having to use my personal computer for work — 38%
  2. Having a software crash in the middle of a task — 27%
  3. Not having the equipment or software needed to do my job — 24%
  4. Being stuck on hold with tech support during the workday — 24%
  5. Having to start a task over from scratch because of a software crash — 22%
  6. Not having access to update the software on my work computer — 20%
  7. Difficulty staying on-task / too many distractions — 19%
  8. Miscommunication between coworkers — 18%
  9. Back pain from not having a desk — 17%
  10. Not being able to get a hold of a coworker — 16%
  11. Juggling schedules and sharing workspace with a significant other or roommate — 16%
  12. Juggling childcare/remote learning with children — 15%
  13. Difficulty maintaining a work/life balance — 14%

TOP THINGS MISS ABOUT THE OFFICE/WORKPLACE

  1. Easy access to the software/technology I need — 35%
  2. My desk/work area/set-up as a whole — 33%
  3. Being able to talk with my coworkers in-person — 32%
  4. My desk chair — 30%
  5. My work-life balance — 30%
  6. Having a set routine — 30%
  7. Easy access to office equipment (printer, scanner, fax, etc.) — 29%
  8. Easy access to local restaurants/cafes/coffee shops — 17%

TOP PERKS OF WFH

  1. Setting my own schedule/never really running late — 55%
  2. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want during the workday — 38%
  3. Not having to commute — 36%
  4. Rolling out of bed 5 minutes before I sign on — 35%
  5. Working out in the middle of the day — 25%
  6. Not having to talk to coworkers if I don’t have to — 24%
  7. Not having to wear pants if I don’t want to — 24%
  8. Less office gossip/politics — 20%
  9. Not being judged for my coffee habits/consumption — 19%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

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SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

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