Data collected by Nitro Software found that nearly all remote workers—90%—feel stressed while working from home, and 41% feel either very or extremely stressed. That stress, Nitro said, is largely due to problems with accessing and using documents.

Nitro also found that three-quarters of workers plan to work from home more frequently after pandemic restrictions lift, which should be a clear message to businesses that better access to productivity tools will be a necessary part of keeping remote workforces happy in 2021 and beyond.

Nitro COO Gina O’Reilly said that remote workers are facing a variety of stressors: Financial worries, job security concerns, health, child care and others, O’Reilly said, make working from home a stressful experience. “For that reason, even the slightest disruption to completing a task—slow internet connection, lack of access to tools to perform simple tasks like opening a PDF or signing a document—can cause unnecessary frustration and more stress,” O’Reilly said.

SEE: Working from home: The future of business is remote (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Working from home: How to get remote right (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Sixty-three percent of remote workers, Nitro found, work with more than six documents a day.

Issues like the ones O’Reilly mentioned are stressors for workers, 55% of whom said better document productivity tools (which Nitro makes) would save them time, while 51% said such software would make their jobs easier.

Nitro’s data is backed up by other industry reports that have found productivity levels have decreased due to remote work, and not necessarily because employees are spending less time focusing on business. A lack of IT support, slow VPN connections and less access to powerful computing resources have all been cited as reasons, according to data gathered by Aternity, productivity among remote workers has dropped by 14%.

Additional data on remote worker productivity collected by Nintex suggests that lack of access to necessary hardware and software, blamed by 44% and 37%, respectively, has contributed to a decline in productivity due to pandemic-induced remote work policies.

Nitro’s data is just one more report in a continuing line of research that finds remote workers are having their productivity curtailed by a lack of access to required tools, both physical and digital, to accomplish their work without interruption due to latency, security requirements and other factors.

COVID-19 has forced the business world to embrace a new model of work, and it’s unlikely that remote work policies will change once the pandemic ends. Business leaders should be sure to put the right strategies in place to ensure remote workers are happy and productive, O’Reilly said.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“Our teams [at Nitro] will have the flexibility to continue to work remotely and optimize their work environment for their own personal situations, while we provide opportunities for in-person time and collaboration as required and where it makes most sense.”