Employee Productivity During COVID: The Truth Behind the Remote Working Shift

Drewberry’s brand new 2021 Employee Benefits Survey questioned 2,000 workers at UK SMEs. This found that 56.3% of SME employees who normally work in an office now work remotely due to the pandemic.

Employees report their productivity has increased as a result. Almost half (49.7%) of workers said they were more productive at home than when they were in the office.

Have Employers Seen Better Staff Productivity Due to Remote Working?

While workers self-report higher productivity working from home, is this the experience for employers? Most surveys since the outbreak of the pandemic focus on workers’ feelings about their own productivity. This leaves somewhat of a gap for employers’ opinions.

However, we’ve found a few employer responses that stand out.

What Challenges Do Staff Face Working Remotely?

While productivity appears to be on the rise among those working remotely, with both employers and employees reporting this, workers still face challenges.

Staff struggling with these challenges risk being unable to hit their full potential. That makes it important to get oversight of them and address them as soon as possible.

Major challenges staff face working from home include:

  • Feeling less connected to colleagues / the organisation (37.1%)
  • Difficulties communicating with colleagues (33.9%)
  • Distractions from family members (32.3%).

To really make a productive success of remote working, employers must address these points. A better communication strategy for the remote working age is clearly necessary.

Employers could also make better use of technology to allow easier interactions between colleagues, achieving those ‘water cooler’ moments employees seem to miss.

This is important because, although 45.7% of workers were keen to return to the office, many don’t want to go back full-time. While vaccination is on the horizon and an end to the pandemic hopefully in sight, just 13.5% of staff wanted to return to the traditional 9-5 in an office 5 days per week.

Instead, the most popular split workers wanted between remote and office work post-pandemic was 3 days in the office and 2 at home.

This was evident in our survey results. 50.8% of workers wanted their employer to introduce flexible hours. Meanwhile, 33.6% wanted work-from-home options. From this, it’s clear employers will have to consider a shift to hybrid working if they’re to maintain a happy workforce.

If that’s the case, it’s important to get the rollout right. Doing so means benefits not just for you as an employer, but also for your staff as well.

Tom Conner, Director at Drewberry

Like many other businesses during the pandemic, we also now work remotely.

While it’s true there was an initial adjustment period, the technology we have in place meant our shift to home working was practically instant, with no disruption for our clients.

All our team now safely work at home and don’t have to face their commute!

Tom Conner
Director

Really good service: prompt, efficient and helpful. Would definitely use Drewberry again.

Mark Bevan
16/05/2021
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