Employees embrace their year working from home

New data marking the one-year anniversary of the UK going into lockdown has revealed that, among civil servants at least, home working has been embraced.

The research by pollster Opinium for SAP found that 57% of civil servants questioned said they now had a better work-life balance, while nearly half (49%) believe they are more productive too.

By far the majority (83%) of employees at organisations that promoted home working said that their work performance had improved, and it also discovered this linked strongly to rising engagement levels. The data showed that employees ranked having a better work-life balance as the number one factor (30%), in improving their employee engagement.

Commenting on the data, Leila Romane, head of Success Factors at SAP UK and Ireland, said: “The public sector’s ability to provide essential services during the pandemic has been outstanding.”

She added the results of the survey were particularly promising given “public sector employees are likely to be working from home for a significant part of this year”.

As well as finding rising engagement and productivity levels, the data also revealed working from home had improved employees’ physical wellbeing (from 42% of respondents polled) and their mental wellbeing (40%).

The data also showed that 43% of public sector workers now felt more creative, while 55% felt more technologically-savvy.

Commenting on the findings, Neil Sartorio, lead partner for Local Public Services (LPS), EY UK and Ireland, said: “Remote working is an opportunity for companies to change their way of working to a more sustainable approach.”

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However, he added: “This survey shows that remote working for public sector workers has had a significant increase in work-life balance but, this is reliant on ensuring that employees have the right tools, to work, communicate, onboard and train.”

The data highlighted that the sorts of tools managers felt they needed to maintain long-term engagement from staff working at home were tools for remote employee onboarding (30%) digital training (30%) and better collaboration tools (28%).