Remote working is on the rise – in part necessitated by Covid-19 – but what does the future hold for the UK workplace and is this the death of the office? Our ‘Get Hybrid Working Done’ survey sets out to investigate.
The research findings are based on a survey of 2,533 randomly selected respondents, consisting of UK employees over the age of 17 that had worked from home during the Coronavirus lockdown. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points, giving a confidence level of 95%. Where scaling/ranking were not used, all responses were randomised to minimise bias.
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Unsurprisingly the number of normally office-based workers operating fully remotely rose significantly during lockdown. With lockdown easing, the majority are still working fully remotely, however, our research suggests that the overwhelming preference for post-Covid working is for a more hybrid approach (i.e. working partly from home and partly in the office). Worryingly some people were required to work exclusively from the office even at the height of lockdown, showing an inflexibility in some employers’ approaches. The majority of UK office workers expect to be able to work their preference in terms of their work location mix. However, a substantial number may yet be disappointed in their employer’s approach to post-Covid working.
Office workers who are working from home are regaining a significant amount of time in their day by not having to commute. Not only will this be a tremendous boost for their work-life balance but the survey results show that, on average, employees are willing to give back a substantial proportion of their time saved as additional work hours. This is evidence that remote working could massively benefit employee satisfaction, mental health, and productivity, ultimately driving increased profits for organisations that embrace the ‘new normal’.
With Covid-19 forcing companies to rapidly embrace home working it’s not surprising that many made changes to their IT setup during lockdown. User satisfaction increased marginally for companies where investments were made in software or hardware while thankfully it only decreased slightly where companies made no changes. It seems the UK has been able to work reasonably productively from home during the pandemic and the majority of survey respondents were happy with their employer’s response to Covid-19 in terms of enabling remote working.
With Covid-19 creating significant disruption to the UK job market (and indeed the worldwide job market) we wanted to find out what the most important factors are for UK job seekers when looking for a job. Pre-lockdown the 3 most important factors considered when looking for a new job were salary, flexible hours, and commute time. Since Covid-19 hit our shores priorities have shifted slightly, with salary still being the most important factor, then remote working making a debut as the 2nd most important, and then flexible working. So the ability to work from home will be a big part of the decision process when people consider job opportunities. It would be fair to deduce from this that companies that don’t allow remote working will find it harder to attract new talent and, by the same token, will put themselves at risk of losing their top talent.
The survey also looked into the preparedness of the UK workforce for working from home from a cyber security perspective. The results showed that companies could perhaps do better in educating their employees about cyber security threats, with very few respondents classing their training in such matters as being comprehensive. While many remote workers did take some steps to mitigate cyber security threats such as changing passwords, keeping anti-virus up-to-date etc. there was still a worrying amount of people who took not mitigating steps at all. Cyber security awareness training is seen as an incredibly important step in mitigating cyber security threats, along with implementing specialist software, for example, email and web security solutions such as Mimecast. Working from home can pose additional threats on top of those experienced when working in the office.
The ‘Get Hybrid Working Done’ survey is published by Atlas Cloud.
Atlas Cloud is an award-winning IT service provider, offering managed services for SMEs and bespoke cloud solutions for larger companies.
As one of the leading managed service providers in the UK specialising in digital workspaces, we believe in office-standard working experiences, regardless of location or device used. Just as effective; just as secure. Employees benefit from flexible lifestyles; employers benefit from greater productivity.
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