How are employees who are new to remote working finding working from home?

By May 14, 2020July 28th, 2020employee benefits
working from home

Are you now working from home? If you are then you have joined the 57% of UK workers who are working remotely due to the Coronavirus crisis. 

There was little time to prepare, even for businesses with long-established working from home policies and guidelines.  And, while some companies and employees have been making a success of flexible working for years, newly remote workers have had little to time to adjust to the sudden reality of  juggling work, home schooling and childcare. 

The past few weeks have been a very steep learning curve and as Gartner reports from a technology viewpoint organisations were quick to adapt.  But, what about the people behind the screens. How are they finding it? Let’s take a look at what early research can tell us.

What do employees think about the way their employers handled the transition?

More than three-quarters of employees (77%) thought that their employers, who had to act almost overnight, handled a difficult situation well, according to research commissioned by Visier.  As the company’s co-founder Jan Schwarz told Personnel Today: “It reflects positively on the UK’s HR industry that workers think companies who are new to remote working have handled a tough situation so well.”  Just 9% of respondents thought that their employer had done a poor job.

What’s been the impact on productivity?

68% of respondents in the Visier poll thought that they were either equally as productive, or more productive, working from home.  Meanwhile, research from Atlas Cloud found that 79% of UK workers who are new to remote working thought that they have proved that they have been working productively during lockdown. 

However, the study also found that tech set-ups at home were impacting the productivity of more than a third of respondents (38%).  Poor connectivity, difficulties in accessing work files and poor quality devices to work on were three of the biggest issues.

57% of respondents in the Atlas Could survey also thought their employers should be doing more on tech support and make provisions for the long-term given that there is no end in sight for the lockdown.  A study by GlobalWebIndex adds further depth to this. The research found that 41% of remote workers thought that better home office equipment was the best way that companies could support them.

How has the transition impacted mental health?

Opinium recently surveyed 1,250 UK employees and its study found that 40% of employees felt more supported by their employers than before the crisis broke. Meanwhile, 51% said that they felt more relaxed now they were working remotely,  However, almost the same number again (46%) voiced concerns about feeling isolated and 34% felt that it had negatively impacted their mental health. 

57% of working parents with children under 18 reported higher stress levels due to trying to divide attention between work and childcare.  The study also found that managers were more negatively affected by working from home than other team members. This could be because they were working longer hours and not drawing a line between their work and home life.

The GlobalWebIndex survey found that 3 in 5 workers were finding it difficult to separate their home and work life and some employees were struggling to limit the hours they work by sticking to a regular working day.

What does the future hold?

There are few certainties in these difficult times, but without an end in sight to social distancing measures, it look like remote working in some form will be here for the long term. Hoxby research found that more than two-thirds of business owners and managers thought that remote working was ‘the future’ for their organisation. A third of leaders were considering moving to an entirely remote office and 42% were thinking about reducing office space. 

What do employees think? 

Hoxby found that 25% of office workers thought that they would continue to work remotely at least half of time after the pandemic is over. The Visier research meanwhile found that a similar number (28%) also thought that remote working was here to stay.  However, 47% of workers expected their employers to revert back to limited flexible working once the lockdown ends.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Stay safe and let’s all take care of each other. We’re here if you need our help.

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