Two thirds of employees don’t believe that working from home full-time makes them more productive, a new study has show.
Almost a third of office workers (29%) have already returned to their offices, but workplace experts cannot decide whether a full-time return to work is best for UK business productivity – and workers would appear to agree.
While nearly two thirds of employees (63%) think they’re more unproductive working from home on a permanent basis, nearly half (45%), believe they are equally productive working from home or the office.
The figures from a survey carried out by UK-based office software provider SmartWay2 also revealed that when working from home, only 36% of office workers felt they were more productive.
Around half this number (19%) felt more productive in the office, perhaps reflecting the psychological impact of missing the sociability that the office provides.
The ideal solution seems to be a blend, according to the firm. Just under half of those polled, 45%, say their productivity is the same regardless of where they work and 91% of people expressed a desire to split their time between home and the office.
Steve Vatidis, executive chairman of SmartWay2, commented: “Despite Covid disruption, workers are learning how to return to their offices. But like the ever-changing lockdown measures, these results show there is no simple ‘one size fits all’ solution.
“Employers are under pressure to grant greater autonomy to their workforce. But they still have a lot of work to do to convince their teams of the productivity benefits offered by showing up at modern workplaces which are Covid-safe.”
Looking further out, nearly one in five, 18%, also expect employees in their organisation to return to offices by autumn 2021.
However, with the current uncertainty surrounding how long a second wave could last for, office flexibility will be key for employers looking to maximise productivity from their workforce, geographically distributed forcibly or out or choice, as the situation changes.
Mr Vatidis concluded: “Organisations that can provide a Covid-safe working environment, combined with flexibility of scheduling for when workers come into the office, will be at a distinct advantage for managing the upcoming period of change.
“Employers need to be able to communicate regularly with employees and provide reassurance on safety measures and flexible working arrangements to make them feel comfortable with the environment.”