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Remote working trends: Job search is skyrocketing and happiness is a key asset

Businesses are luring employees back to the office, but employees increasingly want to work remotely full-time, and searches for remote jobs have increased significantly, according to two reports.

Young freelancer traveler wearing hat everywhere working online with laptop and enjoying mountain view
Image: Goffkein/Adobe Stock

Two recently published reports show that the desire to work from home has increased enormously. From July 2021 to July 2022, remote job searches increased by 300%, according to a job survey compiled by Semrush. A vast majority of workers also report that working remotely would make them happier, the Remote Working Status Report from Owls Lab and Global Workplace Analytics.

According to Semrush, a SaaS platform provider for visibility management, searches such as “remote jobs near me,” “part-time remote jobs,” and “remote start jobs” have more than quadrupled in popularity. Meanwhile, the median share of remote jobs offered by job search websites is only 6.8%, indicating that the demand for remote work is likely much greater than the supply.

This comes as the US labor market remains strong and US unemployment drops to 3.5%based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that employers may need to continue to offer benefits such as remote work to attract talent.

More people want to work remotely and hybrid, and employers are trying to catch up

Some companies have been trying to lure employees back into the office this fall, but employees want the flexibility they’ve grown accustomed to in recent years, according to the report from Global Workplace Analytics, a consulting firm, and Owl Labs. a video conferencing provider.

The percentage of employees who want to work remotely full-time has increased by 8% points to 42% since last year, and 36% of employees now want to be hybrid, up 5% points, based on the Owl Labs/Global Workplace Analytics Survey . The vast majority (86%) said working remotely would make them happier, and 62% feel more productive when working remotely.

TO SEE: The COVID-19 Gender Gap: Why Women Quit Their Jobs and How to Get Back to Work (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The call to come back to the office is loudest among smaller companies: 41% of small businesses (between 10 and 50 employees) require people to return to the office, compared to 27% of companies (10,000+ employees), according to the Owl Labs/Global Workplace Analytics report.

The flexibility employees want is slowly becoming the norm – workers reported that before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 8% of their companies had flexible policies compared to now, with nearly two-thirds (62%) saying their company was adopting policies. compared to now. some degree of flexible work.

Mid-sized companies (between 501 and 5,000 employees) lead the way with 70% offering flexible benefits — more than any other company, according to the Owl Labs/Global Workplace Analytics report. Still, some employers remain unprepared, with only half training managers to lead remote and hybrid teams, and 54% teaching employees how to conduct effective and inclusive hybrid meetings.

Remote Employee Concerns About Proximity Bias

Because employees now have more choices than ever in how they work, many are concerned that in-person colleagues may progress faster and gain advantages over remote team members because of the bias of proximity — meaning physical proximity to the boss in the office — according to the Owl. Labs/Global Workplace Analytics report.

More than half of employees (51%) said they think the office is the best place to advance their career, compared to 31% who think remote locations are the best. Nearly half of employees (49%) believe they cannot build relationships with leadership team members while working remotely.

“These fears are justified, as more than half of employees (51%) admit to prefer directing others personally rather than remotely (25%) and almost half (49%) are more likely to take their colleagues’ opinions personally. questions about their remote team members,” according to the Owl Labs/Global Workplace Analytics report.

“This new data shows that successful companies need to present a range of hybrid options and technologies to keep employees happy and productive, as one-size-fits-all policies remotely or in person don’t allow everyone to do their best work,” Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs, said in a statement. “Listening to employees is critical as companies iterate on policies, practices and product solutions to align with the needs of team members.”

Employee thoughts on productivity, stress, costs and more

The enduring popularity of remote working wasn’t the only potentially surprising search trend. Despite reports of widespread tech layoffs, major employers such as Amazon, Meta, Google, Netflix and Apple are still popular, according to the Semrush report.

Additional findings from the Owl Labs/Global Workplace Analytics report include the following.

  • Nearly half of employees (49%) said they are better at meeting deadlines when they are remote, versus 31% who like to meet deadlines in the office.
  • More than half of employees (51%) said team meetings are more productive in the office, while a quarter (25%) prefer to participate in team meetings remotely.
  • Office design is changing, with coworking spaces becoming a popular ‘third place’ between the office and home.
  • Going to the office costs employees twice as much as working remotely.
  • Employee stress has increased, mainly due to fears of a recession and the return to office demands. As a result, 80% of employees indicated that they wanted to try out a four-day workweek model.
  • Businesses erode trust with employee tracking and policy exaggeration software.
  • The big layoff isn’t over yet, and workers set limits by “quitting quietly” and then actually quitting when they don’t have the flexibility they want.


Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics surveyed more than 2,300 full-time employees in the United States to discover the latest trends and perspectives around remote and hybrid work.

Semrush relied on internal tools to analyze traffic from the largest job boards and also analyzed Google searches related to jobs and careers.

Whether you have employees who return to the office completely remotely, hybrid and/or full-time, TechRepublic Premium has downloadable policies that will make your life and work easier. Additionally, here are 250+ tips for telecommuters and telecommuter managers.

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