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UK employees say working from home made them less productive

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New research has revealed a greater proportion of employees would prefer to work in the office with flexible hours than work from home with structured hours.

The survey of full time office workers across the UK and Ireland to learn how their experience working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic compared to their usual work practices – with many citing negative accounts.

Two-fifths of employees noticed a decrease in support from management and team members while working from home, meanwhile slightly more said there was a lack of conversation.

For almost four in 10 employees, this resulted in loneliness. The employees worst affected by loneliness were those at organisations that employ 100 or more people and new joiners. Some employees felt the lack of social interaction was reflected in their work output, as a quarter said it made them less productive and a similar proportion said it contributed to burnout.

Concerningly, one in 10 employees said working from home had a negative impact on their career progression and only 36% were asked about their preferred work environment before being told to work from home.

Anton Roe, CEO at MHR, that conducted the research, said: “What is clear from our research is the atmosphere and comradery that is present among employees in the office simply cannot be replicated in a remote working environment. Instead, HR teams will see more success from offering a flexible working framework.

“A large proportion of respondents told us working from home made them feel lonely. This has huge ramifications for employee experience and ultimately, the company’s bottom line. If employers do not address issues such as employee
engagement, they will soon see standards drop across the board.

“Instead, flexible working puts employees in control over their own hours and work environment, allowing them to tailor their ways of working to their own needs and resulting in increased engagement in the long run.”