Even before COVID-19, remote work was a growing trend in the United States. We even ranked the top cities for remote work (pre-COVID). Remote work offers flexibility for employees and potential cost-savings for employers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many workers have been working remotely for the first time. Hundreds of companies have switched to a fully remote schedule and many plan to stay that way for the foreseeable future, some longer.

While there are many positive aspects to working remotely, there are drawbacks as well. With that in mind, we asked over 3,200 Americans about favorite and least favorite aspects of working remotely. Read on for our full findings.

U.S. Map of Each State's Favorite Thing About Remote Work

Let’s start with the positives. Our first question was on respondents’ favorite part about remote work. We asked from a list of 9 options and then analyzed by state. Six of those choices were the top aspect in at least one state. 

What we found is that being able to work in a space that’s your own dominated the map. Second by count of states is the ability or freedom to take short breaks for little things like walks, doing laundry, tidying up, etc. Interestingly, only five states said that the reduced or zero commute time was their favorite. 

Here’s the breakdown by count of states. A chart of our full results is at the bottom of this report.

  • 27 states – Working in a space that’s your own
  • 13 states – Freedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, etc.
  • 5 states – No or reduced commute time
  • 2 states – Monetary savings (from gas, car maintenance, lunches out, professional wardrobe, etc.)
  • 2 states – Able to be with pets
  • 1 state – More flexible work hours
Bar graph of the favorite aspect of remote work in the U.S.

Above is a chart of the results when analyzed overall and nationally. While not as dominate as the map, working in your own space remains the options with the highest amount of responses at 25% — a quarter of Americans.

Second is freedom for short breaks (18%) and no or reduced commute time is third (14%).

The three options which did not make the map did have some responses. Coming in last at 1% is having the room temperate at the precise setting you want. 

Now let’s take a look at Americans’ least favorite part about remote work.

U.S. Map of the Least Favorite Aspect of Remote Work in Each State

Unfortunately while there are many benefits to remote work, there are also drawbacks. Reduced human interaction, especially on top of the COVID-19 situation, can lead to feelings of isolation. Our survey found this aspects is the most common response for least favorite aspect.

Coming in second by count of states is reduced of blurred lines of work-life balance. It’s much easier to either start work earlier, work later, or “just check a few emails” when your workplace is also where you live. 

Here’s the breakdown by count of states:

  • 21 states – Feeling isolated
  • 14 states – Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
  • 5 states – Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
  • 5 states – Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers
  • 4 states – Video calls / video conference calls
  • 1 state – Feeling less motivated

Now let’s see the overall results.

 

Bar chart of the least favorite aspects of remote work in the U.S.

The above chart is the overall, national analysis of Americans’ least favorite aspect of remote work. The order follows fairly similarly to the count of states. However, the percentages for each response are varied from the state count.

First is still feeling isolated at 21%. Second is reduced or blurred work-life balance at 16% followed by increased distractions (15%). 

From there, video calls is the clear number four overall at 13% but fourth by count of states. Boredom from lack of social interaction (5%), waiting for replies to messages (4%), and increased difficultly showcasing achievements (4%) took the last three positions. 

Finally, we wanted to dig into the question so many ask: Are we more productive while working from home?

Productivity while working remotely can be quantified in many ways, but our question was more nuanced: Do you feel more productive working remotely?

The response was an overwhelming yes. Nearly 80% — or 4 out of 5 — of Americans say they feel more productive while working remote.

Here’s a chart of every state’s most-common response:

StateFavorite AspectLeast Favorite Aspect
AlabamaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
AlaskaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
ArizonaAble to be with petsFeeling isolated
ArkansasWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
CaliforniaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
ColoradoNo or reduced commute time
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
ConnecticutWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
DelawareMonetary savings (from gas, car maintenance, lunches out, professional wardrobe, etc.)
Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
FloridaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
GeorgiaFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
HawaiiMonetary savings (from gas, car maintenance, lunches out, professional wardrobe, etc.)
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
IdahoWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
IllinoisFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etcFeeling isolated
IndianaWorking in a space that’s your own
Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
IowaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
KansasWorking in a space that’s your own
Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
KentuckyFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
LouisianaWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
MaineWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
MarylandFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etcFeeling isolated
MassachusettsNo or reduced commute time
Video calls / video conference calls
MichiganFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etcFeeling isolated
MinnesotaNo or reduced commute time
Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers
MississippiFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
MissouriFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
MontanaWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
NebraskaWorking in a space that’s your own
Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers
NevadaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
New HampshireFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
New JerseyNo or reduced commute timeFeeling isolated
New MexicoWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
New YorkWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
North CarolinaFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Increased distraction (from pets, kids, etc)
North DakotaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
OhioWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
OklahomaFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Feeling less motivated
OregonFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Video calls / video conference calls
PennsylvaniaNo or reduced commute time
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
Rhode IslandMore flexible work hours
Video calls / video conference calls
South CarolinaWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
South DakotaWorking in a space that’s your own
Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers
TennesseeWorking in a space that’s your own
Reduced or blurred lines of work-life balance
TexasWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
UtahFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etcFeeling isolated
VermontAble to be with petsFeeling isolated
VirginiaWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
WashingtonWorking in a space that’s your ownFeeling isolated
West VirginiaFreedom to take short breaks for a walk, start laundry, tidy up, make a snack, etc
Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers
WisconsinWorking in a space that’s your own
Video calls / video conference calls
WyomingWorking in a space that’s your own
Feeling less connected (less of a bond) to coworkers

Final Thoughts

All signs point to remote work being a significant part of worklife now and in the future. Tech giants have announced remote work through the end of 2020 and well into 2021. Twitter announced a policy for permanent remote work.

Remote work can be an amazing thing for many employees. It allows for job opportunities previously not open, flexibility in multiple areas, and usually no commute time. However, it can lead to feeling isolated or less connected to coworkers.

Ultimately, we believe it’s good to have options (especially during the pandemic) so that people are able to work in the way that best suites them.

Methodology

We surveyed 3,272 adults in the United States in August 2020. The survey has a 3% margin of error with a 90% confidence level. 

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David Cusick

David Cusick is the executive editor for Overheard on Conference Calls. He comes from a strong news background and currently works in digital marketing in Raleigh, NC. His work has won multiple awards, including Interactive Content Marketing's award for Best Use of Content Marketing and the US Search Award for Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign. Additionally, his work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, CNN, ABC, Business Insider, and more.