Despite the difficulties and devastation brought about by the pandemic, more workers felt that the pandemic had positively impacted their career rather than negatively impacted it.
New research by Citrix, a software company that provides server, application and desktop virtualisation, has shown that only a quarter of workers (25 per cent) believed that COVID-19 had a negative impact on their working life and career.
Conversely, almost three in 10 employees (28 per cent) felt that the pandemic had a positive impact on their job, citing an improvement in time management, flexibility and overall performance as a result.
It has also led to better personal relationships, work-life balance and a boost in employees’ physical health.
Just under four in 10 (39 per cent) saw improvements in their life following the shift to remote working. Around one in seven (14 per cent) stated that the lack of a daily commute gave them more time to spend with their family.
12 per cent found it gave them more time to take on a hobby whilst over a fifth (22 per cent) said it allowed them to improve their physical health through catching up on sleep.
Despite this, three-quarters of employees (75 per cent) are working the same hours as they would do if they were based full-time in an office. Over a third (35 per cent) found that they were actually working longer hours as a result of working from home.
Another area which has seemed to worsen under remote working is mental health of employees.
The research suggests that, with the overwhelming majority of employees (85 per cent) regarding a company culture that promotes mental and/or physical wellbeing as important, this must be prioritised by businesses.
This is even more apparent to tackle when considering 35 per cent of respondents stated that their mental health had worsened over the last year.
Due to the positive benefits of remote working, around two-thirds of respondents (62 per cent) felt that businesses would miss out on top talent if they failed to provide flexible work options.
The expectations of employees have changed along with the new modes of working with almost half (46 per cent) saying that if they were to change jobs, they would only accept a role which offered flexible and remote work options. Over half (54 per cent) of respondents go a step further and would like remote work policies to be regulated by the Government.
Mark Sweeney, Regional VP of UK and Ireland, Citrix, said:
For all the challenges caused by the pandemic, UK office workers are still reporting improvements to their personal lives and careers as a result of remote working. If people can find a silver lining in even these difficult circumstances, we have an opportunity to evolve work post-pandemic, and see a new generation of happier workers that stay committed to their companies longer, having been given the choice of working wherever is best for them.
In 2020, businesses were surviving, not thriving. In 2021, they need to look up from the operational side of the business and dedicate time and resource to identifying the core values of their organisation in a post-pandemic world, with a hybrid workforce which is looking to be supported and engaged by their employer. Culture is a key differentiator in attracting and retaining talent, and it is essential that businesses prioritise this to ensure that they are future-ready.
The poll – commissioned by Citrix and conducted by OnePoll – questioned 1,000 UK office workers, asking about their views on their current working situation, company culture, and the impact of the pandemic on their wellbeing, career and work/life balance. 3,750 European office based workers in total were surveyed in February 2021.
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.