The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic shift to remote working over the past year, with a large number of people working from home and many organisations making digital infrastructure investments to successfully support remote operations and embrace new ways of working.
This collective shift has changed the nature of work. Flexible working has taken on a whole new meaning, with remote work suddenly feeling “the norm”.
But how do employees feel about this new working reality? According to a recent research by Microsoft Surface and YouGov, entitled Work Smarter to live Better, employees in the UK are happier working from home, but also feel more pressure to be always available to bosses and work longer hours.
The report has found that almost nine out of 10 (87%) employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid working.
It clearly shows that over half (56%) of workers surveyed are happier working from home and a similar proportion say they have a better work-life balance (57%). Furthermore, not having to commute has freed up personal time for many people, who have used it to focus more on what matters to them.
Yet, many report being stretched further than before, and more than half (53%) feel they have to be available at all times, and work longer hours and take fewer breaks (52%).
“The findings do suggest a disconnect between employee experience and employee expectation. Whilst staff are generally feeling healthier and happier working from home, and would like to maintain this new working rhythm, many report longer working hours and are looking for employers to provide more resources to support mental health”, said Howard Lewis, Surface Business Group Lead, Microsoft UK.
Ben Willmott, CIPD Head of Public Policy wrote in the report: “It is therefore crucial that line managers are ensuring that workers are not over-working and that organisations are supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of all employees. This will require senior leaders to model the behaviours they expect of others and for businesses to focus more on equipping managers with the people management skills they need to manage and support more home and remote workers”.