New study to track UK home workers’ experiences

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Seven in ten (73 per cent) of us would prefer to work from home some of the time according to a new report on home workers’ experiences during lockdown.

Nine out of ten (88.5 per cent) employees felt that they had got more work done than in the office, or as much done. Six out of ten (64 per cent) workers rated the ability to work flexibly as the best feature of working from home.

On the negative side, eight out of ten workers (82 per cent) miss the informal contact with their colleagues.

Many of the 1,035 employees polled also reported experiencing worse symptoms of musculoskeletal pain, higher levels of fatigue and eye strain than previously.

Only 40 per cent of home workers said that their employer had conducted a health and safety assessment.

Nine out of ten (88.5 per cent) employees felt that they had got more work done than in the office, or as much done. Photograph: iStock

The research will follow four ‘case study’ organisations throughout the year; two local authorities and two law firms.

The study is a collaboration between Southampton Business School, the Institute for Employment Studies and workplace flexibility and inclusion consultancy, Half the Sky. It aims to track the lasting impacts of pandemic-driven working from home and will release more research in 2021.

Stephen Bevan, head of HR research development at the IES, said: “Employers need to focus on wellbeing so that the high level of performance sustained through lockdown is not at the expense of the longer-term health of employees or their organisations.”

Dr Zoe Young, founder of Half the Sky, said: “Jobs that were once considered office-only can now be performed successfully at home. Lockdown has given the opportunity to rethink what a job entails and where and how it needs to be done”.

Research also revealed the pivotal role of the line manager. The report says organisations should develop standards for good line management, prioritising social skills and the ability to support, motivate and engage people.

Working from Home under COVID-19 lockdown: Transitions and Tensions


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