New Year 2020 survey - Virtual Vocations remote jobs

New Year 2020 Survey Results — Remote Jobseekers Answer

Virtual Vocations releases New Year 2020 Survey results outlining how remote jobseekers intend to plan for professional success in 2020 as well as what they hope to achieve from their remote job searches and careers.

For your convenience and ease of sharing, the findings of our New Year 2020 Survey Results report are available in the following PDF.

This PDF details key survey respondent data from the more than 1,400 telecommuters and remote jobseekers who participated in our survey. Additionally, we have provided a statement from Virtual Vocations CEO Laura Spawn about the survey’s purpose, the impact of the results, and how this data can inspire future Virtual Vocations services.

Click the report cover image to the left to view and download this PDF resource.


2020 New Year, New Focus Survey

From January 6–10, 2020, registered Virtual Vocations members were invited to take a voluntary survey on professional goal-setting habits for remote jobseekers in the new year. The New Year, New Focus Survey contained questions designed to gauge remote jobseeker interests and preferences related to how they will plan for professional success and what they hope to achieve in their remote job searches and careers. During the week, 1,438 respondents took the survey.


CEO’s Statement on the New Year 2020 Survey

January 2020 was not only the start of a new year but also the beginning of a new decade, so Virtual Vocations was especially curious about how remote jobseekers would approach this season of renewal in relation to their remote job searches and career goals.

Laura Spawn, CEO Virtual Vocations“We felt a New Year, New Focus survey about 2020 goal-setting and organization would be the perfect way to engage with our registered members as well as gain valuable insights into what these remote jobseekers hope to achieve on a professional level in the year ahead. More than 1,400 members responded to the survey and many of their answers were surprising.

While remote jobseekers are as diverse as the virtual career fields to which they apply, noting trends in jobseeker preferences and habits related to professional productivity and remote job searching gives us a better understanding of how to meet the needs of Virtual Vocations members as well as how home-based workers view themselves and their career trajectories.”

—Laura Spawn, CEO & Co-Founder, Virtual Vocations, Inc.


Complete New Year 2020 Survey Results

The following sections address key findings from the 2020 New Year, New Focus Survey, the survey’s questions and answers, analysis of the responses from remote jobseekers, and charts of the questions and responses which can be downloaded and shared.

Key Findings from the 2020 New Year, New Focus Survey

  • Goal planning is important to remote jobseekers, with more than 60% of respondents saying they take it seriously.
  • The majority of remote jobseekers focus their energies on big-picture goal planning to ensure their goals align with their longterm career ambitions.
  • 80% of respondents want to find a remote job in 2020 and they hope that the job will turn out to be a dream career.
  • More than 40% of respondents are not willing to choose between a job they love and a remote career; they want both.
  • The biggest productivity distraction for remote professionals is personal life demands, with respondents saying they find work-life balance difficult.
  • Most remote jobseekers hope to improve their productivity through strategies like breaking their to-do lists into smaller tasks so that they feel more accomplished, or blocking out their schedules for specific activities like taking phone calls, having meetings, and answering emails.
  • 54% of respondents still prefer paper planning rather than digital productivity or organization apps.
  • In order to stay more focused and energized during the workday, 49% of respondents prefer to take a work break every hour rather than relying on caffeine to get them through the day.


Goal Planning for 2020, Career Ambitions, and Remote Job Search Targets—New Year 2020 Survey Results

The following questions and answers from our New Year 2020 Survey provide insights into how telecommuters and remote jobseekers set goals for their careers, plan for their futures, and apply to remote jobs.


QUESTION: How do you approach setting goals or making resolutions for your career in the new year?

  • 62.66% – Very seriously. I review my previous year of wins and losses and then use that to help me set new goals for the upcoming year.
  • 31.92% – Meh…I don’t worry about it too much. I know where I’m headed and what I need to do to get there.
  • 5.42% – Resolutions, schmesolutions. Who even does that anymore?!

Conclusion: The majority of remote jobseekers practice strategic goal setting to evaluate their career goals and improve the likelihood that they will achieve their goals throughout the year.

QUESTION: When you set yearly career goals, do you take a big picture view of your career or do you focus on day-to-day goals?

  • 62.73% – I always focus on the big picture. My day-to-day details are pretty well set and work well for me. It’s making sure my career is aligned with my goals that’s more important.
  • 32.48% – The day-to-day! I like my work, so now I prioritize improving my productivity and effectiveness in my job.
  • 4.80% – Didn’t I just say I don’t do resolutions? It’s all good…I got this.

Conclusion: Long-term planning is more important to remote jobseekers than setting goals on a day-to-day basis. Most remote jobseekers focus on big-picture plans for their careers.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about those remote work goals! Where do you stand in 2020?

  • 55.49% – I have neither a remote job nor a dream career. Help meeee!
  • 24.76% – I have the career of my dreams, but my job isn’t a remote role like I want it to be. I want a remote job in 2020.
  • 14.33% – I have a great remote job, but it’s not the career of my dreams. I hope to transition to a new career this year.
  • 5.42% – I have the remote career of my dreams!

Conclusion: Landing a remote job is the number one goal for four-fifths of respondents. Another 14% of respondents already work remotely and want to find their ideal remote job.

QUESTION: Is having a career you love more important than working remotely in 2020, or would you rather have a remote job that isn’t as professionally satisfying as you might want?

  • 41.79% – I need both, and I’m not willing to choose! In 2020, I am going to focus on having both a career that I love and one that allows me to work remotely.
  • 33.73% – I need the freedom and flexibility of remote work above all else, so I would always choose that over an office-based dream career.
  • 24.48% – Professional fulfillment! I need to do work that I love and know that I’m having an impact. If I have to go to an office to do that, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

Conclusion: Professionals do not want to choose between remote work and professional fulfillment. 42% of respondents are not willing to sacrifice flexibility for a seemingly ideal role.


Finding a good remote job in 2020 is the number one goal for 2020 among New Year 2020 Survey respondents. Remote jobseekers can maximize their potential as job candidates and professionals with these five actionable steps.

Further Reading: Explaining Gaps in Employment: A Guide for Remote Workers


Workday Distractions, Organization Solutions, and Staying Energized at Work—New Year 2020 Survey Results

Part two of our New Year 2020 Survey includes questions and answers on the ways remote workers and telecommute jobseekers identify and mitigate workplace distractions as well as boost their energy during the workday to remain productive.


QUESTION: What are your biggest distractions during the workday that keep you from being as productive as you could be?

  • 29.83% – Personal life demands. I try to maintain work-life balance, but it isn’t easy.
  • 24.06% – Chatter from people around me—whether from co-workers in the office, a flood of texts and IMs, or family members in the other room.
  • 21.42% – Meetings. WHY do there have to be so many meetings?
  • 19.82% – So. Much. Email.
  • 4.87% – Social media. The cat memes, recipes, and funny videos pull me down the rabbit hole every time!

Conclusion: Distractions cited as most harmful to productivity arise in the struggle for work-life balance. When unchecked, personal life demands impact remote jobseekers’ professional success.

QUESTION: Which distraction busting strategy do you use—or would you be most likely to use in 2020—to help you be more productive?

  • 31.50% – Breaking my To-Do list down into smaller tasks so that I feel like I’m accomplishing more.
  • 30.25% – Blocking out my calendar for specific tasks throughout the day like checking emails, responding to calls, and having meetings.
  • 19.54% – Putting on headphones! I can drown out everything around me and put on just the right jams that help me be more productive.
  • 15.86% – Decluttering my work environment. I need a calmer, more soothing space.
  • 2.85% – Using an app to prevent me from accessing social media while working, or at least shutting off all my notifications while I work.

Conclusion: Remote jobseekers are more productive when they take control of their schedules. Micro-organizing to-do lists and calendar blocking are the most popular strategies.

QUESTION: What about organization during your workday? Which of these options sounds most like your organization method?

  • 54.24% – I’m old school and prefer paper planning using a favorite planner, a bullet journal, or just a basic To-Do list. I have to write everything down!
  • 41.79% – Organization apps are where it’s at. I couldn’t get by without tech tools and reminders on my phone or computer.
  • 3.96% – Who needs organization? I thrive in chaos!

Conclusion: Nearly all respondents need organization methods and tools to stay on task, whether utilizing traditional planners or modern tech resources for productivity.

QUESTION: Keeping your energy up helps with staying focused and productive at work. Which of these options are you more likely to use to maintain energy levels?

  • 49.30% – Taking a break every hour – whether it’s just a bathroom break, a quick snack, or some deep breathing.
  • 24.13% – Exercising! You may even find me doing jumping jacks between projects or walking around during a conference call.
  • 16.62% – Changing up where I work. Sometimes, at a desk; sometimes, at a coffee shop; sometimes, on my couch with my feet up!
  • 9.94% – Caffeine. Boatloads of caffeine.

Conclusion: Taking breaks during the workday helps respondents remain more energized and productive. Only 10% rely on caffeine for energy, which shows health prioritization.


New Year 2020 Survey respondents overwhelmingly value organization in their professional and personal lives and seek ways to improve their efficiency and time management. These expert tips and features from Virtual Vocations provide actionable steps telecommuters and remote jobseekers can take to continue developing organizational skills and successful telework habits.

Further Reading: 18 Ways to Reduce Distractions While Working from Home


About Virtual Vocations

Virtual Vocations, Inc. was co-founded by Laura Spawn, CEO, and Adam Stevenson, CTO. The company is one of the leading online job boards posting only remote job openings. It is a 100% virtual business with an objective to help jobseekers find high-quality telecommuting job leads safely, easily, and quickly. All remote jobs posted to the Virtual Vocations job board have been reviewed by a minimum of three staff members to ensure the job postings are from reputable companies in a wide range of industries.

During 2019, Virtual Vocations added a record-breaking 301,903 remote job postings to the Virtual Vocations job board and searched 15,252 total companies for remote job openings. Since 2015, the size of the job board has grown by 197%.

In addition to its job board, Virtual Vocations offers a suite of remote job search services including the following:

  • Curated Telecommute Companies Database featuring more than 20,000 researched profiles of businesses and organizations known for hiring remote workers.
  • Career Services like resume assessments and rewrites, career coaching, cover letter writing, and LinkedIn profile writing.
  • Employer Partner Program, which grew by 66% in 2019, for remote-enabled businesses to post vacancies to the Virtual Vocations job board.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual Vocations recognized the urgency for remote work resources, telecommuting job leads, and telework job search advice in the wake of sudden income instability and job insecurity. The Virtual Vocations COVID-19: Telecommuting Resources for Employees and Businesses page is the hub for remote jobseekers and entrepreneurs in search of tools and resources for remote work. 


Contact Information for 2020 New Year Remote Jobseeker Survey Results

Inquires about the Virtual Vocations 2020 New Year Remote Jobseeker Survey Results can be made to Michelle Rawlings, Public Relations Specialist, via email at michelle (at) virtualvocations (dot) com or via phone at 1-800-379-5092 EXT. 703.

Please visit Virtual Vocations social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube for additional remote work content and conversations.

Image credits: Kimberly Back


Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background. Register for free or contact us for more information on our service guarantee.

Check out our menu of Career Services, including resume and career coaching for remote jobseekers, provided by our team of certified professionals. Resume assessments and writing, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and cover letter writing are available to maximize the success of your remote job applications. Discounts on all services are available to Virtual Vocations Subscribers; become one now.

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