By Lord Mark Price, Founder, WorkL for Business
If business owners and HR managers had been told a year ago that the majority of the British, indeed global, workforce would be spending the next year working from home, there would have been high anxiety.
The main fear being reduced productivity. But, as our data from WorkL for Business shows, working from home or rather working differently, has not been a disaster. It has instead led to a marked uptick in satisfaction.
Employees might enjoy the flexibility but a challenge HR has had to overcome is development. How do you develop employees when they are at home? It seems that whatever virtual ‘away days’ employers have implemented, it’s gone rather well. Our data shows those working from home feel more developed than those continuing to work in the office.
More than 100,000 individuals have taken the workplace survey devised by WorkL so far and we have witnessed a boost in average workplace happiness scores, going from 64% pre-covid to 72% since the pandemic hit. Of course, not everybody has decamped to the kitchen table. Many have continued in their jobs or adapted to working socially distanced and here we take a look at how people’s experiences have differed.
Our tests measure factors such as working environment, relationship with line manager, sense of purpose and career progression.
In terms of development, we have compared those working from home with those people continuing to work in their normal workplace. Our data has found those at home feel more developed, scoring almost 70% compared to 64% for those working in the office.
Overall women feel more developed than men – particularly women working from home- they score 5% more than women working in the office. There’s no difference between managers working in the office or at home in terms of career development however. They both score a good 70%. Non-management working in the office feel least developed scoring just 60%, 7 points below non-management working from home.
Other findings show white employees feel less developed than other ethnicities, with black, African / Caribbean employees feeling the most developed.
Looking across the age groups it’s clear that those working from home feel more developed than those in the office. 19-24 year olds working from home feel the most developed. Those working in the office feel markedly less developed with 45-54 year olds scoring a poor 57%.
Developing employees means not only developing skills but also their trust. When it comes to employees feeling trusted to make decisions, it’s those working from home who rate this higher than those working in the office. Working from home gives a sense of autonomy so in turn employees are feeling more trusted by those they work for.
As the country returns to work it’s more important than ever for employers to measure the happiness and wellbeing of staff and also for people to understand how happy they are in their careers. WorkL allows people to find out how companies score, with live data on the happiest sectors. Each month we also publish free reports with up-to-date analysis on how people feel about their working lives.
By understanding how happy people are, employers can learn lessons, particularly from this past year