New and Experienced Remote Employees Struggle With Motivation

A survey also found remote work has employees desiring different perks from their employers and remote work dress codes have changed since before the pandemic.

TalentLMS surveyed 500 employees in 2019 who were all working remotely by choice. But as remote work became the norm and not the exception because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions of employees started working remotely out of necessity, it decided to take another look at how remote work training and work habits have changed.

The company recently surveyed 1,000 respondents across the U.S. While all of them are working remotely, half have received training from their employers in the past 12 months and the other half have not.

The survey found 78% of employees would like training from their employers—80% would like hard skills training, 53% soft skills training, 39% COVID-19 training and 32% compliance training. Hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge while soft skills are personality traits such as leadership, communication or time management.

TalentLMS asked all 1,000 respondents to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 on points such as productivity, time management, communication and work/life balance. It found that remote employees who had received training rated themselves a 4 or 5 at consistently higher rates than those who received no training. Employees who’ve received training also rate themselves higher than their counterparts without training when it comes to feeling happy while working from home and feeling valued by their companies.

Respondents were asked if they’d be willing to take a 10% pay cut in exchange for being allowed to continue working remotely full time, even after the pandemic has passed. Sixty-two percent said they would not.

The company then attempted to find out how working remotely has changed from its 2019 survey. Eighty-eight percent of current survey respondents transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic.

Staying motivated throughout the day when working remotely is a challenge for new and experienced remote workers alike, according to the survey. When asked what can help boost their motivation throughout the day, the top answers were:

  • Listening to music (66%);
  • Chatting with a colleague (49%); and
  • Exercising (46%).

“Employers can leverage these findings when it comes time to return to the office,” TalentLMS says. “That means focusing on apps or platforms designed to help keep communication open between employees and across departments, and even creating a dedicated space in the office for employees to take light exercise breaks.”

The 2019 survey revealed that 31% of people worked from their home office, and 27% from their living room. The more recent survey finds 36% work from a home office and 30% work from their living room. As more employees have been forced to work remotely, the survey also found 17% work from their bedroom, 11% work from their dining room, 6% work from their kitchen and 1% work from their yard.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents have rearranged some area of their home to have a dedicated workspace, and 50% have bought furniture—such as a desk, chair or laptop stand—to help them work more productively. Sixteen percent reported they have found somewhere else to work outside of their homes, and 6% have changed homes.

Thus, working remotely has changed employees’ desired perks. When asked to choose top perks from a list, three-quarters of employees said they would like a stipend to cover new office furniture for their home, and nearly two-thirds (65%) selected a meal allowance to order lunch. Fifty-eight percent chose “a training course of my choice,” while 53% selected “a subscription to a streaming service—Spotify, Netflix, etc.” and nearly half (49%) said they would like a gift basket of office supplies.

In addition, the survey found 40% of respondents report being most productive between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thirty-one percent say they reach their productivity peak between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., 22% between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and only 8% from 7 p.m. or later.

Office wear is out among remote employees, with 46% saying they wear something comfortable while working from home. Eighteen percent have adopted the new, professional on top, comfortable on the bottom look. Only 17% still wear the same clothes they’d normally wear to work, while another 15% have opted for pajamas, and 4% for even less.