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Give up remote work? No way say employees

One of the motivations for remote working is a reduction in stress levels.

Laptop in a meeting room.
Image by Tim Sandle of a computer being used at work.
Image by Tim Sandle of a computer being used at work.

Nitro Software has announced the results of a survey it conducted in partnership with Qualtrics. The survey was to understand how the pandemic has reshaped productivity, workflows and digital initiatives, as well as the trends and technologies driving transformation in 2022.

The findings, summarized in a report titled, “2021 Nitro Productivity Report,” confirm that the pandemic dramatically accelerated work from home (WFH) trends, as well as reveal shifting priorities and demands in regard to workflows and productivity.

The survey polled 600 full- and part-time knowledge workers and 140 business leaders across the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, inquiring into the top challenges faced during the pandemic, changing workflows and digital needs. The report follows on from an earlier report issued in 2020 and between the two reports some interesting comparisons can be made.

The research shows that while there is some desire to return to the office, most employees want to continue working from home in some capacity and workers are expecting employers to offer remote work options post-pandemic.

According to the report, 46 percent of knowledge workers plan to work remotely more frequently even after the pandemic ends, and 71 percent feel extremely or very prepared to work from home long-term.

One of the motivations for remote working is a reduction in stress levels. The survey found that working from home did not offer more flexibility during the pandemic, and also it appeared to lower stress levels and improve overall employee happiness. The Nitro report found that in 2020, the number of workers feeling moderately stressed dropped by 12 percent, and job satisfaction increased by 6 percent. Additionally, those who reported no stress at all rose by 66 percent. This was despite the amount of work that now takes place outside the traditional 6:00 am – 6:00 pm window doubling to 20 percent.

Another trend apparent in the report is where remote work has paved the way for paperless. In early 2020, global printing declined by 52 percent and that trend continued into 2021. Fifty percent of respondents say they’re using physical documents and paper-based processes less since the start of the pandemic.

In tandem with this, digital transformation plans have accelerated. 86 percent of business leaders say COVID-19 accelerated the need for digital transformation. Plans for digital initiatives are now expected to take place within the next two years.

Consequently. IT budgets are increasing. Eight out of 10 business leaders say IT budgets increased between 10 percent and 14 percent from 2020, and two in 10 say it increased more than 25 percent. The investment in IT is partly because digital document workflows are more important than ever. More workers today are using an eSignature solution than they were pre-pandemic in 2019, which at the time was only 12 percent.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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