Whilst employees and employers battle another lockdown, the latest research from Techscheme by Blackhawk Network looks at the biggest frustrations employees face while working from home, and what can be changed to help them adapt to yet another new normal.
Across the board, the biggest frustration from employees with working from home is the lack of face-to-face communications (41%), which increases to 58% amongst boomers, but decreases when compared to Gen Z (32%). This lack of interaction also translates into the personal lives for many boomers, with 37% finding the lack of social interaction with friends and family hard to deal with — 10% more than in other age groups.
Issues with technology (29%) is the second most frustrating aspect of remote working for all age groups, but this increases to 36% when looking solely at Gen X. This is likely due to the sudden switch to a purely digital work environment and struggling to get to grips with new technologies. While these issues are universal, the various generations have felt the impact differently. Gen Z struggled the most to achieve a work life balance when remote working (31%), with only 12% of boomers facing the same issue. This is most likely down to the ‘always-on’ work culture many young professionals find themselves facing. In addition, millennials found it the hardest out of all age groups to juggle working and childcare commitments (22%).
Many of these frustrations are out of businesses hands, but the new way of working has meant nearly a third of employees (30%) consequently feel unsupported by their employers. As a result, only 32% of employees believe that their current workplace benefits are appropriate for working at home and 54% believe they need changing. Employers are no longer hitting the mark when it comes to workplace benefits — it’s now therefore, time for a reset.
The need for new technology is growing
Lockdown has also highlighted the inadequate tech set up of employees. In fact, 33% of employees believe their next tech purchase is more important than going on holiday next year, having a gym membership (47%) or going to restaurants (38%). This showcases how valuable technology is to employees. Yet with tightened purse strings and so much uncertainty, 50% believe the biggest restriction to buying new technology is the price, leaving employees likely feeling like there is little solution to their technology woes.
Other key stats from the research include:
- Only 37% of women employees recall getting a Christmas gift or bonus in the past, compared to 46% of men
- Women are also less likely to receive workplace benefits (10% of men don’t have any workplace benefits, vs 19% of women)
- In previous years, 26% of Gen Zs were given a day off work for Christmas by employers, compared to just 7% of boomers. This shows the ways different generations want to be rewarded and highlights why rewards and benefits should be tailored
- A quarter of respondents think their next big tech purchase will be a smartphone, while 19% plan to buy a laptop
- Employees’ next big tech purchase is also more important the following; going on spa days (48%), buying new jewellery (48%), buying new clothes (39%) or buying a car (35%)
Chris Ronald, VP EMEA, Incentives & Benefits said, “Whilst many business execs have felt powerless to help their employees during difficult times of economic uncertainty, there are simple solutions that already exist. Our research has shown that people have been battling to keep up with the demands for technology, which we know are a necessity for our remote working and home lives.
“Businesses can help by providing access to salary sacrifice schemes that can spread out the costs of new equipment. Be under no illusion, tough economic and social times are going to be with us longer than Coronavirus. As a nation, we need to test ourselves to find creative responses and drive innovation as part of the recovery. However, employers can play a big part in making life a little easier in 2021 for their employees, sometimes we just need to leverage and promote what exists today.”