Thanks to home working we are craving more human contact – even if it’s speaking for longer
Over a third (37 per cent) of people are finding it increasingly difficult to embrace home working, but are prepared to carry on, according to new research published by Moneypenny, the leading outsourced communications organisation of which I am fortunate enough to be Chief Executive Officer.
The national survey, of 2,000 people, showed that a further 6 per cent said they don’t feel they can work from home any longer, while around half (52 per cent) said they have got used to home working and won’t mind a longer lockdown. Which camp are you in?
Workloads seem to be reducing for some, as after more than a month in lockdown almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents said they feel like work is drying up, while 17 per cent say they spend fewer hours on work each week compared with pre-lockdown times and admit to feeling guilty about this.
However, 12 per cent said they are actually spending more hours working than they would in the office.
Working at home also seems to have reduced communication with work colleagues for most, as 72 per cent of those surveyed admitted they don’t speak to anyone from work for a full day and of these, almost a third (32 per cent) said this lack of dialogue goes on for more than a day.
Indeed, Moneypenny has 750 personal assistants handling phone calls for thousands of businesses across the country and it’s clear people want to talk for longer. We have the data to back that statement up, too.
IT’S GOOD TO TALK – BUSINESS LEADERS MUST LISTEN
Older callers and those self-isolating alone want to stay on the line for longer when calling businesses during lockdown. One-third of UK companies are being swamped by calls and the company’s call data shows that average length of calls has increased by as much as 93 per cent during recent lockdown weeks, depending on the industry sector.
This increase seems to be due to the rise in small talk with the PAs, either because callers have more time on their hands, or because they are lonely in lockdown and crave human contact.
Furthermore, lockdown seems to have blurred the boundaries between work and free time, as 73 per cent said they are answering calls and emails after working hours. However, far from working in their pyjamas, 19 per cent said they dress up properly to feel like they are going to work.
In terms of getting ready for work, 42 per cent said they get up about an hour before their work starts, 17 per cent get up about 30 minutes before work and 5 per cent get up around 10 minutes or less before work. Talk about cutting it fine.
The experience of working from home has not be aided by many companies, as more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed said their company didn’t provide anything to help them set up their home office and only 16 per cent said they received vouchers or cash to buy what they need for this. Only 13 per cent already had a home office set up at home, while 24 per cent are using their living room as a home office, 15 per cent the dining room and 12 per cent their bedroom.
HELPING HANDS ARE NEEDED TO EASE THE NEW NORMAL
It’s clear that many companies are relying on their staff having a full home office to enable them to work from home and companies should be auditing the facilities their staff need and providing them. We also have research that shows 1 in 10 UK business are still sending staff into the office to answer phone calls which is not necessary when there are so many tech solutions available that don’t cost a fortune and can help provide efficient communications
It is now more important than ever to try and find peace with working from home. Creating a new normal for yourself and taking steps to actively make space in your home for work, can help you to tough out this storm.