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2 months ago by Helen Doughty

How Coronavirus Has Changed Working Patterns

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For the majority of employees, the Covid-19 lockdown has meant that overnight they were forced to adapt to the completely new normal of working remotely for the foreseeable future.

This brought with it a host of new challenges; maintaining clear lines of communication meant downloading and getting accustomed to new software and digital meetings, maintaining productivity meant finding a space within the home to set up a desk and for those with children, the closure of schools nationwide meant balancing the working day with childcare. And whilst the power of modern technology effectively facilitates remote working, a new study by Asana called Anatomy of Work: Remote Teams has ascertained just how radically different the working day is for the people of the UK. 

Only one month into the lockdown, some dramatic changes have occurred. For example, less than half (41%) of UK employees are working the same hours that they fulfilled in the office. Additionally, over half (57%) say they’re taking more breaks and whilst the popularity of remote meeting software is skyrocketing, surprisingly 36% are having fewer meetings.

So when are people working? Well, according to the data, 30% say they are starting their working day earlier, 27% are working later in the evening and 24% are working while juggling other priorities such as childcare.

In fact, 85% of UK employees with school-age children are balancing homeschooling with work – this is the highest percentage across all surveyed countries. A total of 16% of these parents are starting work later, 32% are starting work earlier, 41% are blocking out time over lunch to be with their family and 25% are finishing work earlier and then working into the evening. Nearly four in five (79%) say this situation is significantly impacting their work and 77% admit to finding it hard to switch off in the evenings.

The research also revealed that, when the order to work from home was given, the majority of British workers weren’t set up to do so. 67% did not have at least one of the following: a desk to work from, PC/laptop or a reliable internet connection. While 31% say they are working from a desk, the majority (35%) are working predominantly from a dining/kitchen table; 20% are getting their job done from their sofa and five per cent admitted to working from their bed.

However, many companies have found solutions to the issues they’ve come up against; one key way in which many employees and businesses have facilitated better connections with their teams is through new digital platforms. Since working from home, nearly two-thirds (62%) of full-time workers have increased their use of collaboration tools such as Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Around one in five (19%) are using these tools for the first time.

And childcare isn’t the only big challenge faced in enforced remote working. Self-discipline (45%), stress about the current health and/or economic situation (36%) and “feeling like I can’t switch off” (23%) also featured highly on the list.

Source: Executive Grapevine