Most HR Professionals Say They Can Effectively Work from Home

June 11, 2020

Photo of man sitting on couch with laptop

Not everybody has been able to shift to telework, and some of those who are working remotely still struggle with the technology, isolation, and distractions of work from home (WFH). But 66% of all employed U.S. workers say they can be effective when working remotely, according to the most recent LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index survey, our biweekly check-in on the attitudes and anxieties of the U.S. workforce. 

Impressive? Yes. But check this out: The same survey found that 85% of HR professionals say they can be effective with work from home (WFH).

  • HR + WFH = an effective match Percentage of U.S. workers who say they can be effective working remotely  HR Professionals: 85% Other workers: 66%  Source: LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index survey

In some ways, HR professionals are fortunate: Their roles don’t demand physical work that can only be done on-site like construction or manufacturing production, and their work doesn’t require the physical presence of other people, like it does for a film crew or professional soccer or basketball players.

But the nimble embrace of remote work also comes about because successful HR professionals are adaptable, forward-thinking, and highly organized.

Their comfort with WFH is also encouraging news given the critical role HR teams will play in developing policies and practices that will support remote work as companies begin making it a permanent fixture for some or even all of their workforce.

HR pros are also much more likely than the rest of the workforce to want training for well-being and leadership

In most respects, HR professionals share the same sentiments as the rest of the workforce. Some 70% are confident in their ability to get or hold a job — almost the same percentage as the overall U.S. workforce (69%). More than half of HR pros (57%) are also confident that they can make progress in their career over the next year, just one point above the 56% reported by all other employees.

But on two other points, HR professionals differed significantly from the rest of the  workforce in the recent survey. For one, 34% of HR professionals said they would like online learning to help them improve their emotional well-being, substantially more than the 27% of the overall workforce who said so.

  • Emotional well-being is top of mind right now Percentage of U.S. workers who say they want online learning to help improve their emotional well-being  HR Professionals: 34% Other workers: 27%  Source: LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index survey

One way to read that result is that HR pros are finding their work during COVID — managing hiring freezes, conducting layoffs, helping employees cope with personal and professional challenges —particularly stressful and want some guidance managing it.

But another take is that HR professionals want to understand emotional well-being in order to help others as much as to help themselves. That would be a reasonable response to headlines such as this one from a blog post on SHRM: “Pandemic Takes a Toll on Employees’ Emotional Well-Being: HR and People Managers Can Take Steps to Address Employees’ Anxiety.”

One other survey finding may bear out the notion that HR professionals are looking to take the lead on remote work and employee well-being: 26% of HR folks, compared to 20% of their colleagues, said they want online learning to help them become a leader.

  • Looking to become leaders through tough times Percentage of U.S. workers who say they want online learning to help them become leaders  HR Professionals: 26% Other workers: 20%  Source: LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index survey

Final thoughts: HR professionals are ready to lead through critical changes

All employees are facing tough challenges right now, and HR professionals in particular are grappling with things like hiring freezes at some companies, layoffs at others, employees struggling with their new realities at most. Working from home, however, doesn’t seem to be part of that mix — HR folks know they can handle it and seem poised to help the rest of their companies with it too.

And that’s great news because a lot is riding on how well companies adapt. “Done right,” a McKinsey report says, “remote working can boost productivity and morale.” And HR professionals stand by to make sure it’s “done right.” They can help shape the policies, practices, and planning that will make long-term remote work effective and help ensure the well-being of everyone on their teams.

Workforce Confidence Index Methodology

LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index is based on a quantitative online survey that is distributed to members via email every two weeks. Roughly 5,000+ U.S.-based members respond to each wave. Members are randomly sampled and must be opted into research to participate. Students, stay-at-home partners, and retirees are excluded from analysis so that we’re able to get an accurate representation of those currently active in the workforce. We analyze data in aggregate and with respect for member privacy.

Data is weighted by engagement level, to ensure fair representation of various activity levels on the platform. The results represent the world as seen through the lens of LinkedIn’s membership.

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