NEW YORK — As if the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t caused enough headaches, it turns out working from home has not been glitch-free either. The average remote worker has experienced 230 tech problems while doing their job from home over the past year, according to a new study.
A survey of 2,000 Americans asked people their opinions about working from home and the struggles they’ve faced during their transition. With remote employees 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.
At the top of the list, 38 percent of Americans say they don’t like using a personal computer for work. Having software crash in the middle of a task (27%) came in second place. 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 to do their job.
Home office woes
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of document automation software, PandaDoc, the survey also finds 63 percent say they’ve had to completely reorganize their homes to create a proper workspace. This issue has 61 percent saying they miss their office setup back in the pre-pandemic days.
The top thing remote workers miss about the workplace is having easy access to the software they need. In fact, 62 percent said this lack of access initially made remote work difficult and 57 percent stated that the lack of adequate technology and software negatively impacted their productivity while working from home.
Over the course of the past year, however, 72 percent of respondents have tried out some new software in the hopes of solving these issues. Of these respondents, 45 percent said using electronic signatures has helped them save time during the workday. Digital document process (39%) and workflow management tools (35%) followed closely behind. Seventy-two percent of those who’ve tried new software while working from home plan on pitching them to their entire office when they return to in-person working after COVID.
“Working from home can be stressful, whether it’s juggling homeschooling or sharing a workspace with a partner,” says Shawn Herring, VP of Marketing for PandaDoc, in a statement. “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 percent of respondents agreeing these tools are necessary to maintain productivity.”
There are some benefits to remote work
Working from home isn’t all bad though, as over half the poll (55%) says having a flexible schedule is by far the best part of the “new normal” during COVID. Other popular perks include 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 (25%) rounded out the top five benefits of working from home.
Additional benefits remote workers added range from working in more comfortable and non-disruptive setups, to not being distracted with side conversations, to not having to wear pants if they don’t want to.
The results reveal companies are also keen to make working from home more manageable for employees. Thirty-eight percent of respondents say their companies have added virtual social events and activities to the mix, 35 percent have extended or rewarded time off, and 23 percent have even sent out 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,” Herring adds. “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 percent of respondents said they’d much rather stay at home than return to the office, with 41 percent in strong agreement. This may be due to 57 percent of Americans adding that their job has become much easier since they started working remotely.