With the Covid-19 pandemic requiring us to social distance, more of us than ever are working from home. But how are people coping with this change? In collaboration with Utility Bidder, we polled 1,000 UK workers who have recently had to make the switch. Keep reading to discover what they said, and for tips on how to better support your employees over what may be a difficult time.
Has your company been providing support for your wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown?
Support wasn’t provided – 13%
Some support was provided, but not enough – 32%
Yes, they have provided enough support – 42%
Yes, they have provided a lot of support – 13%
Tip: Create a wellbeing strategy for your staff
Put measures in place that are specifically designed to support your remote workers’ emotional wellbeing. This could include anything from a buddy scheme for mental health to online yoga sessions. You could also share good practice for working from home.
How much has your workplace communicated to you the impact of Covid-19 on the business?
Frequent communication – 34%
Some communication – 48%
Little communication – 15%
No communication – 3%
Tip: Send regular updates to staff, for example through newsletters
Honest and regular communication with employees is key during this period of uncertainty. Sending regular email or newsletter updates to workers on the impact of the pandemic, and the steps being taken by the business in response can give employees a greater sense of control.
On a scale of 0-10, how anxious are you about job uncertainties?
(with 0 being not anxious at all and 10 being highly anxious)
Tip: Offer remote counselling and ensure managers are available to employees
Managers should ensure they are available to employees who have concerns over job uncertainties. It may also be useful to offer a remote counselling and advice service to those whose jobs may be at risk.
Are you worried about striking a good work-life balance?
Haven’t thought about it – 8%
Not worried – 38%
Neutral – 16%
Slightly worried – 28%
Very worried – 10%
Tip: Promote dedicated workspaces
Encourage employees to create dedicated workspaces at home that are separate from general living areas. This can help them to create a mental separation between work and relaxation – and make it easier for them to switch off at the end of the working day.
- 37% of respondents are worried that their employer doesn’t think they are working hard enough.
- 34% of people are worried that they may end up working longer hours.
- 40% of respondents are worried that they won’t be able to stay focused.
Tip: Establish clear, reasonable targets and set up regular manager check-ins
Setting clear and fair targets for your employees to meet while working at home and arranging regular manager check-ins so that progress can be monitored, will help to keep your team focussed and reduce the risk of people under or over-working.
Which of the following has improved since remote working started?
% of respondents:
Time management – 100%
Team productivity – 22%
Personal productivity – 45%
Client satisfaction – 12%
Health and wellbeing – 38%
Tip: Provide employees with all relevant training and technical support
Give workers access to all relevant remote working tools (such as collaboration apps) to help them be as productive as possible – and provide training in how to use these tools if necessary. If you’re working with developers and product engineers, utilizing software development tools will help them get updates with each others’ tasks even without having regular physical meetings.
Missing the work environment
On a scale of 0-10, how much have you missed the office work environment?
(0 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘very much’)
Which of the following have you missed the most?
Colleagues – 31%
Work environment – 20%
Communication – 14%
Productivity – 10%
Routine – 23%
Other – 2%
Tip: Encourage non-work interactions among employees
Encourage and facilitate workers to use communication tools like WhatsApp or Slack to connect and chat with each other about non-work issues. Giving your team the time and space they need to talk about hobbies, news and other topics (just as they would in the office) can help them to relieve stress and feel more connected.
Remote working set up
Do you have stable WiFi or internet for remote working at home?
I had this ready prior to the lockdown – 76%
This was arranged after the lockdown was announced – 20%
I still don’t have access to this – 3%
I don’t plan to or cannot arrange to get access to this – 1%
Do you have all relevant software for remote working at home?
I had this ready prior to the lockdown – 48%
This was arranged after the lockdown was announced – 41%
I still don’t have access to this – 9%
I don’t plan to or cannot arrange to get access to this – 2%
Tip: Make sure your team are equipped with all the necessary tech
From project management tracking apps like Asana and Trello to communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts, make sure your workers have all the tools they need. Where possible, ensure they have access to good quality, reliable equipment too, such as laptops and computer monitors.
Working from home can have a range of benefits, and given the ongoing pandemic, it is necessary for many people. However, it can also be associated with certain practical and emotional difficulties. By being aware of what these problems are, and taking steps to mitigate them, you can help to improve worker wellbeing.