Since the outbreak, most businesses have enforced home working to protect their people from the virus. Whilst working from home has caused increased pressures, we’ve also seen positive outcomes as a result of our new found flexibility.
In our latest piece of research, the Divided Together report, we asked people about their recent experiences of working from home, including what they expect future workplaces to look like.
Those currently working from home have enjoyed the experience overall, being the most likely to have had a mental health boost as a result. They expect long-term changes to the way we work and are the least eager to get back to their normal working environment.
People have seen positive life changes
Whilst spending more time at home has been a divided experience for our workforces, people have seen positive impacts as a result.
Many have enjoyed working from home because of more time spent with their families (45%). With restaurants, bars and entertainment centres being inaccessible, 58% have also said they’re saving money.
More time at home has also given us time to develop old hobbies and even pick up new ones. 32% of people have said they’ve been more productive and 28% have said they’ve learned new skills.
For those where home working has had a positive impact, consider if you can be adaptable to their preferred ways of working by providing them with the same flexibility in the future.
Home workers are the least keen to return to normal
With home working having a positive impact on people, workforces are keen to maintain their new working environment.
Whilst many are missing normality and some are looking forward to seeing colleagues again (47%), home workers are the lowest of any group keen to return to normal (64%), with 51% saying they’ll miss their current ways of working.
Consider offering the same flexibility to your people as workplaces reopen, particularly where it has had a positive impact on employee wellbeing. Prioritising employee wellbeing saves you money in the long run and optimises productivity.
Employers have reacted well - but people still need support
Over the past few months, the pressure on employers to deliver has been significant. Yet the vast majority of workplaces are pleased with how their employer has handled the situation (86%), with only 11% feeling unsupported.
Whilst it seems businesses have adapted well, 40% of people are still worried about losing their jobs and 34% think their employer should be doing more to reassure them.
Continuing to support your people during the crisis is as paramount now as it was before. Consider how you can provide them further reassurance by outlining your plans to protect profits in the coming months.
People are anxious about going back
As offices start to reopen, employers are having to consider how they protect the health of their workforces now more than ever.
Many don’t think it’s safe to return from a health point of view (65%) and are worried about their personal safety (55%). Those currently working from home are the most worried about spreading the virus (40%).
Proactively outline to your employees how you're going to minimise health risks in the workplace to reduce anxiety, checking in with those most vulnerable to see how you can best protect them.
Physical health has declined
With gyms and corporate fitness centres shut, people haven’t had access to the same facilities to support healthy habits.
Maintaining good physical health has been a struggle for some home workers, with 32% saying it’s got worse. This is predominantly due to lack of exercise (60%), missing their usual routines (47%) and being unable to access a gym (32%).
Consider using your internal communications to promote access to virtual fitness programmes and maybe even set a company-wide fitness challenge. Something as simple as a step competition will improve employee morale and promote a healthier and happier workforce.
Many expect long-term changes from their employer
Whilst we consider what the ‘new world’ might look like following the pandemic, many employees are anticipating long-term changes to the way we work.
Those currently at home are the most likely to expect long-term changes (42%), with 32% expecting more working from home.
As we look to the future, consider current changes you can maintain. By putting ways of working in the hands of your employees, not only do you position yourself as a flexible employer, but you support recruitment and retention for your business in the long run.
For more insight about how those working from home are feeling about heading back to work, take a look at our Divided Together report.