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Younger generations confess to struggling in home office environments

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The first phase of a quantitative study looking into the pros and cons of home working suggests that learning & development is at risk, while younger workers are more likely to report feeling disconnected from their colleagues.

The insight gleaned from the data amassed so far aims to provide organisations with the information they need to design both workplace and home working strategies that support the employee experience throughout and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Leesman, the world’s leading independent assessor of employee workplace experience, launched an ongoing quantitative study of employees’ home working experience on 30 March 2020. The first phase of data, based on a sample of 10,632 employees, has shown a significant number of younger workers are struggling with the prolonged reality of working from home.

Just over half (56%) of workers aged 25 or under report that they continue to feel connected to their colleagues whilst home working, meaning a large number are struggling. The ability to learn from others is also under threat, regardless of age, with 45% of overall respondents unable to agree that their home working experience supports knowledge sharing.

This first phase, from what is an ongoing collection of home working data, shows a variation of experience within organisations, with particular groups and functions struggling more than others, legal and marketing teams specifically. In comparison, roles which appear to be more digital and less collaborative are faring well, “89% of home workers report that they have access to the software and applications they need to work from home effectively,” report that they have access to the software and applications they need to work from home effectively.

The data also reveals that pressure is mounting on employees’ ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance – the one thing that home working was previously understood to aid. More than a third (35%) of those surveyed confess to difficulty maintaining a healthy work-life balance while working from home.

Finally, home working may have forced a mindset change when it comes to paper. While ‘printing, copying and scanning’ is important to almost 70% of workers in the office, this has dropped significantly to 45% while working from home, perhaps suggesting that organisations are making small steps towards a paper-less office when back-to-work arrives.

Tim Oldman, Leesman CEO said,  “In the world before COVID-19, immense significance was placed on the role of workplaces as beacons of an organisation’s unique culture, values and reason for being. They gave employees a daily dose of that organisational secret sauce and were integral in a sense of common purpose. Almost overnight they were ripped out of that equation.

“However, making knee-jerk reactions threatens to undo years of workplace evolution. What we need is cool headedness and a holistic approach to this initial round of data which will evolve and deliver new insight as more organisations recognise the importance of gauging employee sentiment at this crucial time.

“We must recognise that these are preliminary findings, and as the dataset grows, we will have even more insight. The data harvested over the last three months offers a first glance at the tasks that have been suffering the most, and for whom, and also those that may have improved since the government advised against going to the office.

“We need a unified international analysis that lets us learn from one another’s experiences as they unfold. Only then will we be ready for the new questions around the true value of the workplace.”




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