Working from home presents many challenges and there are scores of articles looking into the technical aspects. But what do employees themselves really think about the process and the impact on work-life balance?
An insight into the trials and challenges faces by employees as the attempt to make remote working effective are drawn out in a survey of the population in three different countries undertaken by Sykes Enterprises. The company surveyed 3,000 adults in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to uncover their experiences with and perceptions of their employers’ preparedness in coping with the switch to work-at-home. Such findings are important given that for many office workers the home office is likely to be the ‘new normal’ for a considerable period of time, extending into 2021.
The Sykes report is titled “Perceptions of the COVID-19 Work-at-Home Transition.” The report focuses on perceptions relating to business continuity tactics and the stresses associated with home working. The report also considered employed adults’ perceptions of company preparedness during this global pandemic, to determine whether companies were responding in a good way or a bad way.
The survey reveals that close to 70 percent of employees have been asked to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the three countries, remote working rates are highest in the U.K. and lowest in the U.S. In terms of how fast a company was to put in place remote working, Canada has the edge in the fastest response time, moving 44 percent of employees to remote working within 24 hours of the policy being agreed.
Most employees were satisfied with the way working from home was handled, with the highest satisfaction ratings befalling U.K. workers. However, with technology, Canadians are the most satisfied with the hardware and software issued by their firm and the way they can carry out their tasks and stay in communication with their bosses.
However, to ease the transition, the greatest level of training and support to hep employees to deal with their new work environment has come from the U.S., with 54 percent of employers offering some kind of training package. The lowest level of support was afforded to U.K. workers. Measures taken by employers are not wholly philanthropic; another factor to weigh up is the risk from employees taking out a legal claim against their firm for not putting appropriate measures in place. One way to safeguard the firm is with encouraging home working.