working from home in a cluttered home workspace

Experiences working from home during lockdown.

An Analysis Of Peoples Experiences Working From Home During Lockdown.

What We Did:

In April and May 2020 we surveyed employees from a cross section of different organisations who were working from home during lockdown, in order to glean new insights on the changes that leaders and HR teams will face as workers return to a new normal.

We received 112 responses from employees from over 20 companies. The majority of employees are based in the North of England and all able to work from home, split 50/50 with child dependents and those without.

Headline Results:

Above all, and most importantly people feel their organisation responded well to the lockdown. 76% of respondents feel that their organisation has responded very well to the lockdown. Whilst, positively only 4% said their organisation should do more.

Consequently the crisis is forcing people to learn new skills; with the most stated new skills being:

  • 25% learning to use new technology
  • 20% using various relaxation techniques to manage stress
  • 19% finding more effective communication styles
  • 17% working on their time management.

Learning and development has not stopped whilst working from home, in many cases it has increased:

  • 64% reporting that they received key functional training through increased provision of personal development opportunities.

Employees feel more trusted and expect more freedom to work from home in future.

  • Over 75% of respondents felt that they would work up to a third more from home once the lockdown is lifted – with half feeling that they now felt “more trusted” than before by their managers.

Other Findings:

Interestingly, despite increases in video conferencing and online socials:

  • 40% of people reported that they missed the social aspects of their role a lot, and over
  • 43% missed it a little, whilst only
  • 16% didn’t miss it one little bit.

When it came to peoples thoughts on their organisations communication:

  • 50% said communication was outstanding by keeping employees fully in the loop
  • 38% saying communication had been good
  • Only 8% of respondents said communication had been basic.

For those working from home for the first time:

  • 40% of people were “comfortable from day one”
  • 33% saw it as an opportunity to do things differently
  • Almost 16% got used to it after first feeling a little uncomfortable.

For many people ‘working from home’ has little impact in the way they perceive being managed. Many senior people remark that they have a great deal of autonomy anyway, and this continues throughout the lockdown.

However, others remark that their usual place of work was ‘remote,’ or worked from home a few days a week and they too hadn’t noticed much difference either. On the other-hand people we aware of more “checking-in on people’s well-being.”

Where working from home was a novel experience people remarked that more communication; ‘compassion,’ ‘empathy,’ ‘supported,’ ‘work-life-balance,’ ‘engaging,’ ‘reaching out,’ ‘checking-in,’ had helped create a better understanding that people have lives ‘outside of work’.

What Can We Learn From These Findings?

As coaching and leadership development practitioners we believe in asking better questions, to better prepare people for leading in uncertain times and highly ambiguous environments.

We used the survey findings to pose five new questions to help leaders prepare for a new future.

You can read the New Questions To Ask In Preparation For A New Future by clicking to view the full report here.