With the hybrid workforce a reality facing firms as they enter the second lockdown of 2020, a study from RingCentral UK has revealed that employees working for companies that foster a connected culture are twice as likely (34% compared with 15%) to be productive when working from anywhere than those that don’t.
The study conducted by CITE Research in partnership with Kaleido Insights, on behalf of the provider of global enterprise cloud communications, collaboration and contact centre solutions provider, surveyed 4,000 knowledge workers across four countries, including 1,000 from across the UK, about how they have adapted and adjusted to this extended period of remote working with the onset of the pandemic.
The Connected culture report defined companies that foster a connected culture as those that blend effective technology that helps teams stay connected with a commitment to supporting work/life balance, and frequent opportunities for people to interact with one another. The survey findings reiterate the important role employers play in building a culture that encourages employee productivity and well-being – key factors for an engaged remote and hybrid workforce working from anywhere.
The study also revealed other impacts stemming from the sudden shift to remote working that need to be addressed by businesses. Men in the UK are handling remote work better than women during the pandemic. British women reported lower levels of happiness (36% vs. 43%) and motivation (32% vs. 44%) in comparison with their male counterparts.
One of the reasons for the disparity may be rooted in the differences in working space at home. Almost half of all UK male respondents stated that they have a dedicated office space with a closed-door; while just over a third of women noted having the same professional set-up at home. Unsurprisingly, only 34% of women are keen to continue working from home post-pandemic.
Despite a majority of the demographic having a dedicated workspace at home, almost half of those under 25 said they would prefer to work from the company office post-pandemic. This was in stark contrast to Generation Xers: less than a third want to go back to the office post-pandemic, with two-fifths wanting to work from home going forward.
Fear and loneliness seemed to be the factors are pushing Gen Z back to the office. Three-fifths cited a lack of human connection being the biggest downside to working remotely, and just over a third (32%) believe long-term home working will lead to a lack of progression or career advancement.
In a bid to level the playing field during the pandemic, many UK companies have been taking a hybrid approach, allowing workers to split their time between home and office during the working week. Yet, according to the study, only 23% of all office workers surveyed showed any interest in working this way post-pandemic.
Assessing what was revealed by the survey, Steve Rafferty, country manager for the UK and Ireland at RingCentral, said the results of this study show that an employee’s level of productivity is highly dependent on how far a company has gone to build a culture of connection, despite being separated physically.
“Since the pandemic hit the UK last March, forcing the nation into their homes, we have seen the debate over productivity while working remotely rage on,” he said.
“For companies that were not ready for remote working before March, and have done very little to adapt subsequently, employee productivity and wellbeing will almost certainly have suffered as a result. As remote working looks to continue, businesses must stop resisting change and make the move to digital – bringing what made the company great offline, online through technology and social behaviour.”