Meet the people behind the numbers: What remote workers expect from employers

As told by startup workers.

Three remote workers on their laptops

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted not just the way we work, but also our relationship to work and the workplace.

Oyster’s Employee Expectations Report, published in March 2022, was an attempt to understand how employee expectations have evolved in the two years since the pandemic. Based on a survey of over 2,000 knowledge workers, it was clear that employees now prioritize work-life balance, remote work, and location flexibility:

  • 80% said work-life balance had become more important since the pandemic
  • 81% said remote work had become more important since the pandemic
  • 59% expect the ability to work from anywhere

While the data clearly makes the case for remote work and the work-life balance and flexibility it enables, what’s sometimes lost in the numbers is the real people they represent. After all, each data point is a real human being with a story to tell. 

So we teamed up with our partner UpStack to tell the human stories behind the numbers. As a remote talent company, UpStack helps connect companies to remote pre-vetted software engineering talent. And as a global employment platform, Oyster enables companies to engage remote talent from anywhere in the world. Both UpStack and Oyster believe in a remote and distributed future of work where people can strike a balance between work and well-being.

UpStack interviewed team members about their experiences with working remotely to see how it compares with the findings of the Employee Expectations Report. Those firsthand stories are at the heart of UpStack’s latest report, which we’re delighted to share with you.

Maintaining Balance in a Remote World: As Told by Startup Workers offers insights into the real lives and experiences of remote workers around the world. Let’s meet them and hear their stories.

For Nicole, remote work enables a healthy work-life balance

80% of employees say work-life balance is more important since the pandemic.
—Employee Expectations Report 2022

Nicole is a social media specialist based in Lisbon, Portugal. Thanks to her fully remote job, she’s able to set her own schedule and avoid burnout by prioritizing a healthy work-life balance. 

“I am starting new habits like going to the gym, drinking green tea in the morning, and trying new vegan recipes,” says Nicole. These healthy routines have increased her energy and clarity. She also loves the freedom to take breaks as needed, or even go for a walk if she’s stuck on something and needs to return to it with a fresh perspective.

For Nicole, working remotely allows her to enjoy every part of her life, including her job. Being able to work from different places, such as coworking spaces and even beach bars, means work never gets boring. She can get her work done and then relax at the end of the day.

Thanks to remote work, Rafael can work where he feels most inspired

81% of respondents said remote working had become more important since the pandemic.
—Employee Expectations Report 2022

Rafael is a digital marketing specialist in Veracruz, Mexico. He’s been working from home for 7 years, long before the pandemic. Thanks to remote work, Rafael is able to choose his own work environment—which means he can work wherever he feels most creatively inspired.

Having previously worked in an office, he says it leads to burnout because it’s like being stuck in a rut—it’s uninspiring and hampers his creative personality. “We spend most of our lives working,” he says, “so we should find a space that will make us happy at work and really feel inspired.”

For Rafael, that means living within a hundred meters of the beach, so he can end his workday by the water. “It makes every day fulfilling,” he says. If he needs a change of scenery, or to disconnect from work, he can visit nearby towns like Catemaco and Roca Partida that offer beautiful lagoons, wildlife, and stunning landscapes.

But remote work is not just about beautiful locations. Working from home has also enabled Rafael to look after his grandparents, spend more time with his pets, and pursue passion projects like brewing beer. Ultimately, the work-life balance he’s achieved has improved the quality of both his work and his mental health.

As a remote worker, Himanshu can work and travel at the same time

59% of respondents expect the ability to work from anywhere from their employer.
—Employee Expectations Report 2022

Himanshu is a Python developer in Delhi, India. Before he started working remotely in 2019, he often experienced burnout, and once had to take 6 weeks off to recover. But with the flexibility to work remotely on his own terms, he no longer gets burned out.

For Himanshu, the best part of remote work is the ability to work from anywhere. In fact, he has worked from 30 different cities in India, sometimes spending up to a month at each place. “I’ve worked on Goa’s beaches, historical places like Udaipur and Jaipur, forts, and 400-year-old castles,” he says. Traveling and working from different places helps keep his mind energized—he’s more productive and less prone to burnout.

Besides the freedom of travel, remote work also enables Himanshu to maintain a better work-life balance. He often begins his day with yoga or a swim, so he can start work feeling refreshed. He works async with blocks of focus time, and takes breaks as needed. And thanks to flexible hours, he’s able to spend more time connecting with friends and family.

“There is nothing better than remote work for anyone’s professional life,” he says. “It’s the best thing that can happen to you.”

The new world of work

It’s clear from Nicole, Rafael, and Himanshu that remote work has been transformative for them. It has enabled them to achieve improved well-being and work-life balance while also being happier and more productive at work. 

And yet, these stories are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the remote work revolution. Companies like Oyster and UpStack are helping to build the future of work by enabling employers to find and engage the best remote talent anywhere in the world. If you feel inspired by these stories like we do, we invite you to join us in building the workforce of the future.

Want more insights into remote work, maintaining balance, and employee expectations? Download Maintaining Balance in a Remote World: As Told by Startup Workers.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

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