In 2020, over 16% of companies planned to return to the office full-time. This shrunk to 6.6% in 2022, showing a global shift towards flexible work.
Women and femme-aligned people made up the slight majority (51.6%) of Managers. However, this changed with higher seniority. Men and masc-aligned people made up the majority of Directors, VPs, and CXOs.
This grew from 2021 and nearly doubled since 2020.
Over 63% of respondents said they had experienced burnout or mental health issues. Burnout was highest among CXOs (78%) and VPs (81%).
Over 85% of the tech companies included in this study were growing or hiring within the last six months. This is a 13% increase from last year.
We asked leaders to rank the most important factors when assessing a new job opportunity. Workplace flexibility was prioritized first and company culture came second. These were ranked above compensation or benefits!
Building relationships and trust was the biggest struggle for remote managers. The second was burnout.
Managers who led for the first time in the pandemic have an easier time with remote-based leadership than those who had experience before the pandemic.
We've entered a new normal in 2022. As vaccines became more widely spread, tech companies reopened offices to hybrid work and organized company retreats. Many teams traveled hundreds of miles to meet coworkers face-to-face. For a vast majority, this was their first time meeting teammates in two years!
While these milestones have given leaders the confidence to plan beyond the pandemic, we still had significant questions about the Future of Work. Where are remote and hybrid leaders struggling most? How has the Great Resignation affected hiring and employee priorities? How did the shift to remote two years ago forever change how we work today?
This report tackles these questions head on. We included interview and survey data from over 350 remote leaders from 175+ of the best tech companies in the world.
Our 2022 Remote Manager Report was a labor of love from a small but passionate team. It represents over 250 hours of manager interviews, research, writing, and design. It also represents the generosity of leaders in tech. Every interview started with a cold LinkedIn connection request and a question, "What's been the hardest part of leading remote teams?"
In our 2020 Report, we observed how empathetic leadership could bridge the gap during a time of great change. In the 2021 Report, we saw leaders prioritize team wellbeing and long-term remote strategy as a form of resilience. This year, we watched companies endure the Great Resignation and prepare for a future beyond the pandemic. These factors have created a Future of Work that not only demands location flexibility, but also a leadership philosophy that puts people first.
This is our report on the state of remote management for 2022.
Made with love
by the team at Kona.
We focused on a variety of tech companies and startups. Similar to our previous reports, we contacted managers through thousands of LinkedIn connection requests. By January 2022, most companies had been remote for at least two years. This allowed for a larger interview pool and even distribution in company sizes. We see a slight skew towards 51-200 person companies because they’re often fast-growing startups with more managers and less red tape.
With the widespread adoption of the COVID-19 vaccine, we saw many companies return to the office. However, very few companies made office-first their long-term plan. This is likely due to worker demands for location flexibility and fears of another COVID-19 variant. More than 50% of the companies continue to be remote-first while 41.7% opted for a hybrid model. Only 6.6% of the companies are office-first, demonstrating the success of work from home.
We looked to understand management across various experience levels. For the most part, we found a relatively even spread in manager tenure. The majority of our interviewees were experienced leaders, with over 80% of interviewees leading teams for over 3 years. Less than 20% had never led teams prior to the pandemic.
In order to account for functional differences, we reached out to leaders across 12 departments. We defined departments by job title and recognize that some job descriptions may intersect multiple departments. We collected the highest response rates from Engineering (18.2%), Human Resources (16.8%), and Sales (15.1%).
The majority of our respondents came from the United States (80.3%). This was followed by Canada (5.7%), the UK (3.8%), France (1.9%), the Netherlands (1.51%), India (1.13%), and Australia (1.13%). We also had a handful of interviewees from Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland. Given the geographic bias of our interviews, we acknowledge that the trends shown here will be skewed towards this cultural bias.
We define “Manager” as a person managing individual contributors (ICs) and “Director” as a person managing both ICs and other Managers. Our interview sample is skewed toward Directors (44.2%) and Managers (36.8%). CXOs made up the smallest group interviewed.