Following months of frenzied media debate it is clear that, for many businesses, remote working is here to stay in some capacity. Whether this means working from home permanently, or in a hybrid fashion for a couple of days each week, the way we work will look very different to how it did in years past.
While workers will see a great many benefits to this more flexible world of work, this cannot come at the expense of worker productivity or, more importantly, wellbeing. Unfortunately, our recent Global Working From Home Survey indicates that, unless action is taken, this may very well come to pass.
Specifically, our research indicates that UK workers overwhelmingly believe that they are not equipped to work from home permanently, with workers scoring only 1.6/10 – a significantly low reading – for the affirmation “I have the tools I need to do my job from home”. What’s more, there appears to be a disconnect between how the public responded to our survey, and how they actually feel.
In our survey, our respondents actually responded positively to the affirmation around being adequately equipped to work from home, scoring this at 8.4/10 – more than five times higher than the score above when you take into account the unique Implicit Reaction Time (IRT)* scale we have used for this research.
This is a concerning finding, given it indicates that staff surveys across the country may be susceptible to similar “false positives” and, subsequently, a significant shortfall in equipment provision may be going unnoticed. Moreover, it may indicate that, while employees want to work from home, they may be struggling with aspects of the remote working environment such as limited work space and childcare, signalling that employers may need to rethink their benefits provision in favour of solutions that better fit the needs of their workforce.
Looking at the knock-on effect of this shortfall, whether this be in terms of equipment or environment, there is a clear correlation with (remote) workplace stress. In our survey, UK workers scored substantially lower than their counterparts across the globe when it came to managing stress levels, with UK workers rating their capacity to manage stress while working from home at 5.1/10, compared with the global reading of 7.2/10.
Given that the national rate of work-related stress, anxiety and depression has skyrocketed in recent years according to the HSE, employers would do well to pinpoint elements of the job that may be causal factors, and look to better support their staff in these areas wherever possible. Investing in the tools and platforms staff need to do their jobs effectively and (where possible) stress-free is a clear step towards this, which is highly likely to pay for itself many times over in the long run.
Simply enough,while it is encouraging to see that businesses are increasingly adopting more flexible approaches to working patterns, such as hybrid working, employers must now ensure that these changes amount to more than just lip service.
If businesses are to make the permanent leap to remote working in any kind of meaningful way, they must provide realistic employee provisions to ensure that they support their staff with the tools and technology they need to work from home effectively. After all, a business is only as strong as its people, and staff morale and wellbeing are paramount.
Interested in finding out more about how the team at WRKIT can help your business to provide world-class support to its remote staff? Visit https://wrkit.com