British office workers surveyed on how they’re adjusting to the ‘new normal’

April 27, 2020 @ 12:34 by Richard Dawson

The first large-scale survey of the working habits of British office workers was published last week (April 23), marking one month since the UK’s nationwide lockdown was brought into effect.

The research, which surveyed more than 3000 people, found that 79 per cent of office workers said that the lockdown had proven they can work effectively from home.

However, more than half of those surveyed (57 per cent) believe their company should be doing more to help them work productively at home.

Just two in five office workers said their employer had helped them make adequate provisions and 19 per cent said they needed their company to act urgently to enable them to work productively from home.

A further 38 per cent of workers said they need their company to invest in longer-term solutions so that they can continue remote working, should there be a second wave of infections in the future.

The research has been collected by Atlas Cloud, an IT provider which delivers services on behalf of Experian, HS2, Magnox Ltd and the Environment Agency.

It provides insights into the working lives of Britain’s office workers as millions around the country are required to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mains problems encountered by those struggling to adapt to home-working were:

–       Poor performance of their home internet connection (34 per cent)

–       Having to log in to too many software packages and apps (24 per cent)

–       Unable to access the files they needed to work (22 per cent)

–       Quality of laptops, desktops and tablets not good enough to work effectively (20 per cent)

The living room was cited as the most common place for people to work from home, while 19 per cent said they were working in their bedroom, 18 per cent in the dining room and 8 per cent in the kitchen.

Storing business information on personal devices was also associated with increased risk of security breaches as information held on poorly protected personal devices is particularly vulnerable.

7 per cent of respondents, for example, said they had no protection on the computer they are now using while working from home.

Pete Watson, CEO of Atlas Cloud, said: “We are living through the largest overnight change in British working habits since the outbreak of the Second World War.

“Our research shows that the majority of office workers believe they need more help from their employers to cope with the technological challenges of working from home.

“However, the research also shows that office workers may not be working from home as safely from a business and cyber security perspective as they could be.

“This should not at all be a blame game. Businesses and office workers face a national emergency of the kind we have never seen before and the aim for all of us is to help British businesses perform as well as they can do during this time.

“We anticipate that among the largest changes we’ll see to our working lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is a much larger proportion of Britain’s workforce working from home more often and a change in how British businesses manage their IT and handle business information.

“While there is a huge need for businesses to think and invest long-term now is the time for short-term solutions to solve the problems facing office-based staff, many of whom have been turned into homeworkers overnight.

“Business should then take stock and then start planning to invest in longer-term remote and home-working solutions in the coming weeks.

“So far, countries in Asia and Europe which are lifting their lockdown are only doing it in a very limited fashion and there are several experts warning of a second wave of infections which means that the shift to home-working is set to be sustained and prolonged.

“To adapt a well-known phrase – Britain needs to get home-working done.”

Full details of the survey can be found here: https://www.atlascloud.co.uk/get-home-working-done-survey-results/ 

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