Easy Tiger Return to work Survey results
We asked over 1500 senior level executives, from Global Mobility, Immigration and across the globe to complete this survey.
We had an overwhelming response, and all announced, the impact of COVID‐19 on work, the workforce, and the workplace will persist long after this health crisis has subdued.
Hybrid working really needs a strategy
It really got us thinking about the future of work, our workplace environment, and the impact of this on new employees, young and old, to an organisation.
The office of the future, we believe, will be more focused on providing meeting spaces and facilitating collaboration.
Employees may have been able to maintain output even when they were not in the same physical location as a result of the pandemic.
Other areas, however, have suffered, including innovation, personal development, and social bonding. “You’ll require people, warm bodies, and three dimensions.”
According to the findings of our survey, 30% of our respondents believe that there is now a two-tier system of opportunities for people who work in the workplace versus those who work from home the majority of the time.
70% of respondents believe that WFH has had a negative impact on personal development opportunities.
A recent study published earlier this year by the University of Essex and the University of Chicago found that while employees spent more time in meetings with their peers, they spent less time in meetings with their managers, resulting in fewer opportunities for personal development.
Managers may face the most difficult challenge. Whereas a management role used to entail physically supervising a team, it may now entail figuring out how to make use of newfound flexibility.
Managers’ roles will change and, in the short term, potentially become more difficult as we negotiate and navigate this type of transition period.
We think the point at which companies must decide upon how they will work in the future is now upon us and putting this strategy in place will be the most difficult part of the journey.
Easy Tiger Executive Talent Management CEO and Founder, Louise Neal
IMPACT ON THE WORKPLACE
The data below shows that a lot of effort has been put into the practicalities or transactional nature of getting people set up for home working, but there is still work to be done in terms of the overall strategy.
75% of the workforce have only returned to the workplace 3 days or less a week
60% of offices have been redesigned or altered and 45% now offering high quality video areas in the office to accommodate meetings with remote staff.
50% of offices are limiting capacity in the workplace with social distancing in mind.
IMPACT ON YOUNGER WORKERS OR NEW HIRES
Only half of respondents have a mentor buddy system in place with a majority of our C suite responders worrying about the impact on peoples learning and career development.
A TWO CLASS SYSTEM – THE RISE OF THE TW&Ts
We can now add a phenomenon that seems sure to poison the world of work for the 2020s and beyond: officers versus homers.
Workers who have been back at work full-time for months have begun to refer to their hybrid-working colleagues as TW&Ts, a derogatory four-letter acronym based on the fact that they only come in on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays – TW&Ts.
Our data shows that 1 in 3 responders agree with this sentiment.
IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY
There was a general feeling that when working from home did not impact productivity but research based on hard data tells a different story.
A joint study by the University of Essex and the University of Chicago earlier this year looked at the working practices of 10,000 IT staff and found productivity fell by 20 per cent when they worked from home compared to pre-pandemic levels when they were office-based.
Dr Christoph Siemroth, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Essex who co-authored the research paper, said:
“These people were working in complex jobs that required them to work in teams, as in a lot of professions, and the data showed that they took far more hours to get through the same amount of work when they were home-based.”
One of the reasons, he said, was that workers spent much more time in meetings – held virtually, of course – because
“something that might have been sorted out in 10 seconds by talking to someone in the office now involved setting up a Zoom call, which takes much longer”.
It reflects one of the constant themes of the WFH revolution during the pandemic; the difficulty in training new staff, who simply can’t learn the job when they are sitting on the end of a bed with a laptop.
Crucially, the research was based on objective data which showed precisely how home workers were spending their time, as opposed to employee surveys that only ever provide a subjective view.
“If you ask an employee whether they are more or less productive working from home, they might not give an honest answer,” said Dr Siemroth. “
They are unlikely to admit to their employer that they are being less productive, and they may also think they are being more productive when in reality they’re not.”
Ben Harrison, director of the Work Foundation, part of Lancaster University’s management school, agrees we are at a pivotal moment for the future of the “office job”.
“We’re really in that phase now where, for the majority of organisations, they’re shifting from responding to the crisis that is unfolding and thinking more about what the new normal looks like,” he says.
But that “new normal” doesn’t have to resemble the old one, even in places like the City. While some financial sector chiefs may be keen to get their workforces back within eyeline and earshot, there are changes that experts say ought to be kept.