National Survey Highlights That Over 50% Want To Change The Way They Work Post-Pandemic

Business Insights

The global Covid-19 pandemic has unquestionably forced changes in the way people work. M365, Teams and SharePoint specialists Silicon Reef took a deep dive into employee attitudes to how they are working – both now and in the future – and uncovered a widespread appetite for greater flexibility. Alongside, however, is a worrying indication that the tools needed to support remote working in the long term are seriously lacking.

As an agency specialising in Microsoft-based transformation solutions, Silicon Reef have long supported companies as they transition into more flexible, more productive and happier ways of working. Conscious of how traditional ways of working have been holding back most UK businesses from achieving optimum engagement and results, they saw the positive opportunity that the pandemic created for fundamental, widespread change to working practices. But they wanted to find out, was this change sustainable, and what was the appetite for making flexible, remote working a long-term proposition?

Silicon Reef commissioned a UK-wide survey of 1,000 respondents across a broad spectrum of age and income levels and asked 15 simple but probing questions based on attitudes and tools to work pre- and post- pandemic.

The survey returned a vital insight into the attitudes and capacities of UK businesses to working remotely or from home.

Results showed that, before the pandemic took hold, just 8% of the workforce had the flexibility to work remotely or from home when they wished and a staggering 61% was either not allowed to work from home at all, or rarely permitted. Since lockdown measures came into play, and employers were forced to support their workforce carrying out their roles from home, the respondents have welcomed the change with 70% claiming that it has been like normal or (62%) saying it has been good or even better than before.

As massive advocators of flexible working, and of businesses providing employees with the tools and support to create their own work/life balance, maximise engagement and increasing productivity – a concept they have termed ‘Work Happy’ - Silicon Reef were pleased to finally see a step change in this area, although the reason for the immediate shift due to the pandemic was terrible. Now, 73% of respondents feel supported by their company in working from home and 80% are maintaining positive relationships with their manager or colleagues.

“This is all excellent news”
says Silicon Reef Co-Founder and Managing Director Alex Graves,
‘but we were interested in how sustainable this new way of working was for the majority.”

“Most significantly in our survey 55% of respondents state that they don’t want to return to previous ways of working, and 87% overall want to continue with the flexibility to work from home. Our experience tells us that organisations need to adapt fully to enable this change and empower their workforce - transformation is required across tech, training, communication, visibility and employee recognition.”

To measure this readiness the survey looked at the practical side of working remotely, finding that 33% of employees did not have the tools or technology in place to work effectively and a further 38% were claiming they were merely ‘just about ok’. That’s 71% needing an improvement in tools and tech to enable sustained, effective remote working in the long term.

“2020 has been a year of immense change - across the world, and in all aspects of our lives”
Alex continues.
“Our research shows us that there is a tremendous opportunity to make that a change for the better in the way that we all work, as long as businesses are willing to acknowledge that they need to provide a different, more sustainable infrastructure.”

“Silicon Reef truly believe that businesses willing to adapt and embrace a Work Happy culture will reap the benefits of improved employee engagement, and unlimited productivity. Our work with SharePoint and M365 tools has shown us that this change can be relatively painless and is highly rewarding. Most importantly, by transitioning to a new way of working, businesses are also preparing themselves to imbed flexibility and resilience for whatever the future has in store for us all!”

Read the full survey results in detail:

As Britain’s workforce cautiously prepares to get back to the office, new research has revealed eight post lockdown faux-pas returning workers must avoid.

A study by Utility Bidder highlighted Britain’s changed office etiquette with once-common practices such as making coffee for workmates now frowned upon as the world continues to face Covid-19.

Managers across the country are already implementing new rules to minimise the possible transmission of the virus in offices across the land.

But workers are also being told they must take personal responsibility for their own actions and adopt new practices to keep themselves and their colleagues as safe as possible at work.

James Longley, Managing Director at Utility Bidder, said:

“We recently conducted a study where we asked office workers about their experience of working from home, and 62% admitted to missing the company of their colleagues.

“With many UK workers looking forward to returning to the office, it’s natural for some to still have some concerns about their safety as the pandemic continues.

“The vast majority of organisations are taking steps to minimise risks to their returning teams but it’s essential that individual workers also do their bit to stay alert and control the virus. Our research highlighted eight post lockdown office practises which should be avoided.”

Eight post lockdown office sins:

  1. Touching colleagues. It should go without saying but some returning workers will still need to be told that it’s no longer acceptable to hold out a hand when greeting colleagues. It means that once supportive slap on the shoulder is no longer welcome and sales teams who once high-fived one another when reaching targets will have to find other ways to celebrate.
  1. Not having a facemask at work. It might not be necessary to wear a mask at the office during the entire working day – although the situation could quickly change. But each worker should at least have a mask on their person in case it is needed. Just like keys, phones and wallets/purses, a face mask has become an essential item and workers who head to the office without one could very well find themselves sent home.
  1. Sharing a telephone or headset. Phones are likely to be hotspots in the transmission of the virus as they spend hours each day clamped to mouths. Pre-lockdown many office workers still shared handsets but this is something which is likely changed when workers return.
  1. Sharing pens and other items. Anyone who has ever worked in a busy office knows that some items become communal with dozens of employees sharing one stapler for example. But in the post lockdown world sharing items can no longer be normal practice. Pens, in particular, can spread infection as workers still tend to stick tips in their mouths, usually without realising. The new reality will mean workers must use their own pens and must try not to carry them around the office and forgetfully deposit them elsewhere.
  1. Standing too close to colleagues. It isn’t just touching co-workers which has to stop post lockdown it’s also standing too close to them. Returning workers must try to maintain at least a 1m space between themselves and others. This will be more challenging in enclosed spaces such as lifts and will be more difficult in large packed office environments, but workers who wilfully breach this fundamental rule could find themselves being asked to go home.
  1. Fiddling with switches. Controls for lighting, heating, air-con systems or electrical sockets can all become hotspots for virus transmission. Organisations should seek to minimise staff fiddling with switches as much as possible post lockdown and will be trying to automate as many of these systems as possible.
  1. Making coffee for others. Pre-lockdown anyone who made themselves a coffee and didn’t offer to make one for colleagues was considered something of a social pariah but the new reality sees this flipped on its head with making drinks for others definitely frowned upon. The colleague who brings you a cuppa may think they’re being nice but the reality is they may be shedding their virus infection all over that mug so think twice before taking a sip. There’s no shame in saying a polite no thanks.
  1. Gathering outside work. Most office workers enjoy a get together for a few drinks outside of work but as the pandemic continues it’s probably best to put those social plans on hold for now.

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