Research commissioned by Velocity Smart reveals workers feel improvements in mental health since working from home
While nice in theory, some businesses thought working from home might create more headaches than it was worth and viewed remote work with suspicion. The common misconception is that if employees could pick and choose the hours they worked, they would simply choose to do less work.
But has it been the unproductive mess many feared? Quite the opposite. Employees proved not only that they could be trusted to remain productive working remotely and out-of-sight but that it has had hugely positive effects on their mental health and well-being.
From walking the lock-down dog to managing side jobs and the new or rediscovered joys of taking time to be outside during the working day, substantial numbers of individuals now recognise the nonsensical nature of the old nine-to-five.
We researched this very issue in our ‘Changing behaviours of a flexible workforce in 2022 and beyond’ report. The research investigated how offices will change in 2022 and how business leaders can support more diverse and asynchronous working practices in order to keep pace with competition and retain employees.
Using an independent research house, the results revealed that UK workers are happier with their mental state as a result of the new way of working. Despite the well-publicised pandemic related mental health concerns, over a third of UK workers (34%) insist their mental health has improved.
The improvements are even more pronounced in those aged between 18 and 34, where over half (56%) have seen an improvement.
The ability to better juggle work and family life is likely to play a key part in this generation’s preference for a more flexible approach to work. Certainly, those who have returned to the office confirm commuting (23%) and loss of flexibility during the working day (20%) are the main challenges – especially for younger people.
And whilst businesses should definitely be giving themselves a pat on the back at how they have managed to adapt and support their workforces. They by no means should be kicking back and getting complacent.
Many businesses still need to catch up at supporting remote workers outside of the standard office hours, with only 28% providing out-of-hours IT support.
With more people working from home, this is becoming a much bigger problem. More than a third of employees said they’ve experienced more prolonged IT issues since they stopped working exclusively from an office.
As we all know, employees have more power than ever to turn around and walk out the door if they don’t feel happy, fulfilled and supported. Whether through mental health support, IT support, or, even better - both. Businesses need to be focussed on enhancing employee experience overall.
The biggest problem with most IT resolutions is that it’s a convoluted and time-consuming process, especially now with employees spread out because of remote working. And this is only exacerbated when it involves a problem that can’t be resolved quickly.
Adopting new technology like cloud, mobile, machine learning and newer technology like smart lockers will all combine in the future to create a more modern, productive and profitable workplace that also increases employee engagement.
And it’s the business that acts first which will see the biggest benefits.