The report builds on findings from the 2020 Nitro Productivity Report, which was published in late 2019, and explores how pre-pandemic working habits have evolved over the past year and a half. Nitro partnered with Qualtrics in April 2021 to survey 600 full- and part-time knowledge workers and 140 business leaders across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia on the top challenges faced during the pandemic, changing workflows and digital needs.
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 expect employers to offer remote work options post-pandemic. According to the report, 46% of knowledge workers plan to work remotely more frequently even after the pandemic ends, and 71% feel extremely or very prepared to work from home long-term.
"Working remotely over an extended period has given employees more control over their workdays and more flexibility generally over their lives than ever before," said Nitro COO Gina O'Reilly.
"Without commutes and the need to be in an office 9-to-5/Monday-Friday, employees can now largely dictate their own schedules – adapting to the needs of their families, taking time out for self-care, managing life's day-to-day task list, etc. – all while getting their work done. At Nitro, we announced a Flexible Forever policy last year that we think offers the best of both worlds – virtual-first with in-person time where and when it's most valuable and we believe this kind of approach is what employees will most appreciate in a post-pandemic world."
Working from home not only offered more flexibility during the pandemic, but also lowered stress levels and improved overall employee happiness. The Nitro report found that in 2020, the number of workers feeling moderately stressed dropped by 12%, and job satisfaction increased by 6%. Additionally, those who reported no stress at all rose by 66%. This was despite the amount of work that now takes place outside the traditional 6:00 am – 6:00 pm window doubling to 20%.
Additional highlights from the report include several findings around the evolution of how we work and the importance of having access to the most appropriate tools and solutions to be as productive and efficient as possible:
• Remote work paved the way for paperless. In early 2020, global printing declined by 52% and that trend continued into 2021. 50% of respondents say they're using physical documents and paper-based processes less since the start of the pandemic.
• Document processes are still inefficient in 2021. 44% of respondents say they are collaborating on documents more since the start of COVID-19. However, 83% say the way their company handled documents had not improved significantly during the pandemic.
• Digital transformation plans have accelerated. 86% 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.
• IT budgets are increasing. Eight out of 10 business leaders say IT budgets increased between 10% and 14% from 2020, and two in 10 say it increased more than 25%.
• 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%. And nearly half of workers say they would be somewhat or much more productive with either an eSignature or PDF solution.
"If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that people can do their jobs and be productive from anywhere and the companies that evaluate and value productivity and outcomes over hours worked will ultimately be the ones that attract and retain the world's best talent," said O'Reilly.
"Employees will also need the right remote work environments and optimised digital tools and support to be successful and productive over the long-term, but we believe this is an exciting opportunity for companies to tackle this head-on and transform the way they work for good."
To read the full 2022 Nitro Productivity Report, please visit https://www.gonitro.com/library/productivity-report-2022.