A new report by digital services major Infosys shows that American employees like working remotely, employers cite greater workforce productivity but how to increase diversity remains a top concern.

The Milken Institute and Infosys report titled 'Future of Work: Insights for 2021 and Beyond' highlights insights about remote work based on original research. It examines the pandemic's impact on the workforce and offers recommendations for employers and employees moving forward.

The report, based upon surveys of employees and managers of large US-based companies, found that 80 percent of respondents are very or somewhat satisfied with remote work despite higher workloads and a lack of social interactions with colleagues. Nearly 82 percent of managers said their employees are working more than they were before the pandemic with over half saying employees were working a lot more.

However, access to remote work options remains inequitable across income brackets with lower-income employees seeing fewer remote job roles. Specifically, 69 percent of those with an income below 50,000 dollars a year said they saw increased remote working opportunities compared to 86 percent of those making over 75,000 dollars a year.

The report finds that the shift to remote work has allowed employers to hire talent beyond where they physically operate. Some firms have used this opportunity to double down on diversity and inclusion. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed employment forecasts for different sectors. Although utility companies experienced the smallest decline in employment during Covid-19, it is projected to have the largest decline of any sector over the next decade.

By contrast, while leisure and hospitality have been hardest hit, the industry nonetheless expects strong employment growth. "While the full impact of the pandemic remains unknown, it is clear that the shift towards digitalization has altered the shape, focus, and geographical dispersion of the American workforce," said Michael Klowden, CEO of Milken Institute.

Ravi Kumar, President of Infosys, said the pandemic has accelerated trends already seen and provided a rare opportunity to clearly envision the future of work in a way that benefits the largest number of people.

"As training and re-skilling become increasingly important, companies that provide their employees with the greatest advancement opportunities will continue to have a competitive edge. They will also be able to meet the diversity, equity and inclusivity challenge the world is facing with greater impact," he said.