WFH doesn’t improve productivity, say two-thirds of UK employees

With the UK government deciding to introduce local lockdowns due to rising Covid-19 cases, only 19% of office workers have said that the WFH model has made them feel more productive.

Participants in the SmartWay2 survey seem to prefer a hybrid approach, with 91% expressing a desire to split their time between WFH and the office, while 45% believe they are equally productive working within either situation.

Almost a third (29%) have returned to the office, but workplace experts can’t agree on the true impacts of a full-time return work on UK productivity.

Looking further out, nearly a fifth of organisations (18%) expect employees to return to the office by Autumn 2021, but flexibility is sure to be considered, with uncertainty and a second wave being present.

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“Despite Covid disruption, workers are learning how to return to their offices,” said Steve Vatidis, executive chairman of SmartWay2. “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.

“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.”

The study from UK-based software experts SmartWay2 surveyed 189 office-based workers.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.