Almost half of UK workers expect a return to limited or non-existent flexible work policies after Covid-19
Research commissioned by people analytics provider Visier reveals the vast majority of UK workers (77 percent) forced to work remotely due to Covid-19 feel their employers have done a good job of handling the urgent transition to remote working, but fear a return to the status quo. The poll analysed the remote working experiences of more than 1,000 people who are either not normally allowed to work from home or who do so no more than once per week on average.
A major factor for their satisfaction is the degree of trust they have from their employers. As many as 75 percent reported they believe their manager trusts them to be productive from home, and just three in ten (31 percent) said their employer has enforced new processes to check up on their output. Overall, only 9 percent said their employer has handled rolling out remote working poorly – an impressive show from companies who had previously resisted flexible work.
Results also indicate that remote working has had a positive impact on staff working remotely for the first time. Nearly seven in ten workers (68 percent) feel they are either more productive or equally productive from home – which is particularly significant given the unique challenges many workers face with handling childcare and homeschooling. Interestingly, 31 percent said their work-life balance has become easier since isolation began.
However, workers do not have confidence that the experience will convince their company to change their flexible work policies long-term. Almost half (47 percent) said their employer would ditch widespread remote working once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, instead reverting to their previous policies. Just 28 percent said they don’t think their employer would go back to inflexible working.
“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. These companies have had to transform themselves overnight and tackle major cultural and technological obstacles. They deserve real credit for their adaptability under real pressure,” said Jan Schwarz, co-founder of Visier. “There are of course work activities and roles that are best served by face-to-face interaction, and some workers simply have a preference for it. But it’s still disappointing to hear so many respondents predict their employers will walk away from the change they have created once the worst of the crisis is over.”
“Covid-19 has prompted the world’s biggest home working experiment. It has rapidly sped up the future of work, and will impact the way we think about work in the years to come. The worst thing that companies can do is ignore what they have learned about their workforce and how they like to operate. Companies who have resisted the new world of work until now have had their worlds turned upside down but there is a real opportunity for HR leaders to help them continue their digital transformation. Whatever stage a business is at, understanding your employees is essential. Only through data can organisations understand the impact of their digital transformation and foster the right culture to support it.” Schwarz continued.
Methodology: online survey conducted by Censuswide and polled 1,000 UK workers who are currently working from home but who are either not normally allowed to work from home or who do so no more than once per week on average.