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The Impact of Home Working on Employee Experience – Part 1

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The way we work may never be the same again. Over the past few months during the COVID-19 outbreak, most office based employees have been required to work from home, at some point, where possible. For some, this has worked well, and for others, it has been challenging.

The Leesman Review, a quarterly journal produced using ideologies from industry leaders and experts, has investigated the employee experience of working from home, and compared it to the employee experience of working in a traditional office setting.  The research showed that the following activities are just some of the things employees stated as a benefit of working from home:

  • The ability to hold a private conversation without any disruptions
  • Being able to have confidential telephone calls knowing colleagues are not listening in
  • Virtual meetings and video calls rather than face-to-face meetings

The research also showed that some work activities are more accessible and better supported in an office environment. Below are just some of the thing’s employees have been unable to compensate for whilst working from home:

  • The opportunity to host visitors, clients and customers in person
  • The chance to interact with colleagues in a social capacity
  • Being able to learn from and support your co-workers

Some employees have also found a lack of technical and specialist equipment or business materials a challenge, which has prevented them to fulfil their roles fully.

The Leesman Review noted that while working from home, access to mobile computing equipment is imperative, as well as the need for suitable Wi-Fi network connectivity.  Some employees also need access to company work files, intranets, or the company network which, proves a challenge for many IT departments.  The use of a telephone is also very important to be able to communicate with colleagues,  clients and customers the research has shown.

At the office, employees have better access to IT equipment, especially printers, photocopiers, and scanners which many employees do not have access to at home.  The Leesman Review also found that traditional office furniture, such as chairs and desks were favoured ‘at work’, compared to  home based office furniture.  From the Leesman Review and other data collated on the same topic, employee opinion on working from home has been relatively positive. The largest benefits seem to surround the flexibility working from home provides, and also around the different types of communication tools being used to stay connected with colleagues. While the main challenges are in social interaction and feeling connected, many people felt this could be overcome using technology.  Homeworking experiences differ based largely on demographics and an individual’s job role. The data also suggests the main predictor of home working experience depends on the overall environment each person is working in.

As lockdown rules ease and workplaces start to re-open, the desire for employees to return to the office will be impacted by the experience provided in the workplace, as well as the practicality to continue working from home.  The Leesman Review concludes that ways in which we work and employee expectations are likely to have changed after a long period of working from home.  Something employers will undoubtedly need to address.

Contact Us to discuss how we can help you improve your employee experience, where ever they need to be based.

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