SURVEY SAYS: How Working Remotely Is Affecting You

PLANSPONSOR NEWSDash readers share information about their experience working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many employees have transitioned to working remotely from home because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Last week, I asked NEWSDash readers, “Do you work remotely and in what ways has it affected your work?”

Nearly six in 10 (58.7%) of responding readers work in a plan sponsor role; 30.4% are recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants; 6.5% are advisers/consultants; and 2.2% each are attorneys and CPAs.

The vast majority of responding readers (91.3%) have transitioned to working remotely. Around one-third (34.8%) are balancing work with child care/teaching responsibilities.

Approximately 46% reported their productivity is about the same while working remotely. Four in 10 (39.5%) said they are more productive, and 13.9% said they are less productive. Six in 10 reported they are working about the same number of hours since transitioning to remote working, while 35% are working more hours and 4.6% are working less.

Asked if they would like to work remotely all the time, only 19.6% said yes, 23.9% said no, and the majority (56.5%) indicated they would like to work remotely more than they used to but not all the time.

I also asked respondents to share what they like or dislike about working remotely. Responses from those who chose to answer are below. A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!

What do you like or dislike about working remotely?

I work part in the office and part at home. I prefer going in but miss the people I work with.

I love the lack of commuting time. I miss the interaction with people, saying the hellos, truly collaborating with others side by side. I also don’t feel like I really have a scheduled break/lunch time.

Dislike not having access to hard copy research materials and files.

I started out working from home, but it became almost impossible. So now I’m back in the office full time.

Leveraging my (non-existent!) commute time to start work earlier and get off earlier while working the same number of hours. It’s a dream to be done with work and home by 6pm!

love being able to get more sleep, no commute & being in comfortable clothing all day! miss face-to-face interactions with co-workers & the casual chatter in the office.

I like the commute and owning that time for personal use rather than work. I dislike the reliance on technology and inability to spontaneously get coffee or hit happy hour with colleagues and friends.

Working remotely is good for the removal of commuting time and gas savings. Am able to work longer hours, if needed and there is more family time. What I miss about going to the office is just the human contact with colleagues. Other negatives include the inability to meet with clients and prospects face-to-face and/or to conduct physical meetings. Company team building events where we get together has also been hampered.

The furry coworkers are too noisy when the mail truck and the trash trucks go by!

I like the additional sleep I am getting and the short commute is great. I dislike not seeing my colleagues – many of whom are also good friends.

Likes: no commute, no traffic, getting more sleep, don’t have to dress up, more time with family, less stressful. Dislikes: less face-to-face social interaction, some technology issues but getting better, can be challenging to get documents signed in a timely manner

I don’t have a commute, which allows me to focus in the morning right away. I get back 2-3 hours of productivity or family time since there is no commute or getting ready to go into the office. Meetings that are now conference calls are much more productive. There are less of them as people transition from “face time” to producing.

I miss the office supplies that were so readily available

I don’t miss traffic and the flexibility is great, but stopping by a co-worker’s desk with a quick question isn’t possible while working from home. While communication might take a little longer, it’s still functional.

Totally hate it. Miss my coworkers and the ability to meet other people in the company. Don’t like being in my house 24/7. I have pets, but they are more of a distraction than a comfort.

I love that I can save wear and tear on my car, save money with lack of gas and tolls and don’t have to drive an hour each way. While I miss some of my colleagues in the office, I am okay being remote full-time. It would save me the company a LOT of money with leasing space.

I would actually work longer hours if remote because I could, and because that would be a way to stay connected to other humans. My company is in health care, however, so we are onsite.

It is difficult to be employee, mom (or dad), teacher, chef, maid, etc. all at once all day every day.

The largest benefit for me is no commute. I’m able to add that time to my workday and has allowed me to better manage the pace of the day and make me feel less rushed and more productive.

I’m at my desk more than at work which means more productivity for things on my to-do list. However, I’m sure there are things that I’m not in the loop on that I otherwise would be (hence the reason I’m up and down from my desk when in the office). There have been pros and cons and overall ok with it for now.

Also self-isolating. Miss people. But thankful for my husband and cats. 🙂

I transitioned to working remotely back in 2001 – now that everyone else has joined me, it’s nice to have dogs barking in the background that are not mine!

Work is life, and life is work, from stress to success, we will adapt.

After 40+ years in an office environment, I miss the interaction with my friends and colleagues. However, I do not miss the commute into the city every day!

I am fortunate to have a home office with a door that shuts. My teenage sons are very independent. I LOVE being home and hope that once things go back to “normal” we can be trusted to work from home regularly. Not only does it make my home life richer, I am overjoyed to see a difference in the environment – smog clearing, air quality improving. Humans need to take note of this and make permanent changes!

The domino effect from this virus and the needs of plan sponsors have skyrocketed…this sometimes makes it more difficult to provide that “white glove service” considering things are constantly changing, no one knows what is going on and people are in “desperate” need of money. I’m fielding all kinds of phone calls and feel like a ninja slicing fruit! Hee-yah!

I get more sleep, because the commute (walk) to my office is much shorter than before!!

Collaboration is challenging and I’m confident there are issues that are not discussed because it’s more difficult (from multiple times a day to nearly zero, I’m in a support role).

Technology issues can be frustrating. Also, sometimes it is just easier to be in the office to access files and have quick conversations with co-workers on the fly. Although my normal commute isn’t long, it is even shorter working from home! I also enjoy taking a real lunch break, with my husband!

I like waking up later and do not miss my 45 minute each way commute. I miss being in the office and interacting with my co-workers face to face.

Like – no commute. Dislike – no people to talk with, no cafeteria to make me a nutritious lunch.

I love to cook and have spent more time in the kitchen than I would have anticipated. Have also been able to keep physically active when the weather is nice by cycling.

I miss the personal contact with my co-workers, things like no watercooler chats or impromptu stand up meetings. Still getting lots of work done, just miss the people interactions!

Fewer interruptions for every little stupid thing. Now co-workers stock up on the stupid little things and set up a meeting to review them in a more effective, less disruptive way!!

This is my first time working remotely and I love it. Normally, I work in a cube farm which I find to be noisy and disruptive. What’s not to love about working remotely? No commute, casual dress, quiet environment, flexible schedule, and I can get laundry done while I work.

Takes me 20 minutes to get ready in the morning instead of an hour! No makeup or blow drying or jewelry or high heels. Love it!

I miss the daily in person connections with my team. We have a daily call, but it is just not the same and I am not able to easily connect with the rest of the team members in our department.

I am glad I do not have to work from home. Since much of my work is face to face (mask to mask), it is difficult to be better than 50% effective at home. Although, a few of our employees are more effective at home without the distraction of co-workers’ water cooler talk.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.