Voice of the Employee

Despite a growing number of organisations offering more hybrid working solutions, new research by architecture and furniture company Steelcase has suggested not all staff are happy being remote workers. According to a survey among 32,000 employees in 10 different countries, nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said they felt less engaged working from their home environment, while just 3% said they wanted to work away from the office all of the time.

Unsatisfactory factors the research identified included frustration with at-home speeds of decision-making, with 22% of respondents saying it now took longer for decisions to be arrived at, as well as a growing sense of isolation. It found two-fifths (40%) experienced a rise in loneliness. Also revealed were worries that home working worsened people’s work-life balance (from 17% of respondents), and that 18% experienced reductions in productivity due to having to juggle other at-home demands.

Commenting on the findings, Gale Moutrey, Steelcase vice president of workplace innovation, said: “It’s clear that people’s experiences working from home will influence what they want and expect to see in the workplace going forward. We suspect employees’ work from home experiences will provide the guidance for what a new, better work experience should look like.”

The study revealed 97% want to return to the office for ‘some’ or ‘most’ of the time. Some 77% of UK employees said they would prefer to adopt a hybrid work model after the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, with 54% wanting to work from home for two days a week or more.

But even though staff still do not totally buy into the idea of being remote workers, the survey also found 42% of employees embraced no longer having a commute.

Moutrey said: “As the future of work seems so unpredictable, organisations must take a holistic approach to ensure that employees are supported and engaged wherever they are.”

She added: “On the plus side, one-third (29%) also reported enjoying the lack of office distractions while working from home, suggesting that pre-Coronavirus workspaces were not supporting employees for individual, focused work.”

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