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A year into remote work, Upwork findings show the experiment is working

We now have enough empirical evidence to support the benefits of working remotely, according to Upwork’s new The Future of Remote Work report.

A year into remote work, Upwork findings show the experiment is working
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What a long, strange year it’s been.

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Although the pandemic is far from over, there is enough empirical evidence to support the argument that remote work has actually worked well despite the ad hoc way many of us were forced to take it on.

Upwork just released key findings and trends from polling hiring managers over the past year. Among the noteworthy observations:

  • Productivity is still higher than it was in the office. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed say productivity had gone up and 68% agreed that they now work better remotely than they did a year ago.
  • Relocation, relocation, relocation. An estimated 23 million people are planning to relocate. The survey found that more than half (52.5%) were looking to move to a more affordable place.
  • More work for freelancers. Managers who like working remotely are up to 16% more likely to work with freelancers and more than a third (36%) are planning to work with independent talent this year.
  • Time and money saved. On average, over the course of the year, people saved nine full days of commuting time, and those who were driving saved around $4,350.
  • Ranks of remote workers will still dwindle. It was an experiment, and at its height it was estimated that nearly two-thirds of office workers went remote. Upwork estimates that over the next five years, that number will be closer to 20% to 25%.

“Although COVID-19 was the catalyst for the change in the way we work, the benefits of remote work for businesses and professionals is why many will continue to operate this way even in a post-pandemic world,” Upwork’s Chief Economist Adam Ozimek wrote in the report. “Many constraints of the old ways of work have been removed and this has led businesses to rethink how they find, source, and work with professionals, regardless of their geographic location.”

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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