UK businesses are finding success in home working thanks to technology-enabled solutions, according to a new study commissioned by Technology Connected.
The organisation, which represents the Welsh technology industry, commissioned an omnibus survey among decision makers in a variety of businesses across the UK, who were able to support large scale remote working, to see the initial impact of remote working measures amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The study found that the majority (65%) of businesses who have remote working policies have seen no drop off in productivity from staff since the move, with just under a fifth (18%) saying they felt staff had actually been more productive.
Another positive in the shift to remote working was staff morale. Of the businesses surveyed 63% felt that their staff were happier working from home in the circumstances.
As a result, more than two thirds (69%) of businesses said they would rate remote working as an overall success for their company. Furthermore, two fifths (40%) said that the experience would make them consider implementing more remote working policies in their business once the coronavirus crisis came to an end.
Of the businesses and decision makers surveyed, less than half (42%) felt they were fully prepared for extensive remote working when the pandemic began. However nearly all (94%) said they had been able to make the move thanks to enabling technology, stating that internet connectivity and digital software was a crucial factor in allowing them to continue working.
Top 5 tech newly adopted by businesses for remote working
• Video conferencing (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc) – 78%
• Shared documents and cloud services (e.g. G Drive, Office 365) – 72%
• File transfer software (e.g. Dropbox, WeTransfer 68%)
• Messaging apps (e.g. Slack, Whatsapp) – 61%
• Project management software (e.g. Basecamp, Trello) – 38%
Remote working and mental health
Aside from general worries around Covid-19 and workers’ physical health, employee mental health was one of the largest concerns among those surveyed.
While most (65%) respondents felt their staff were happier, nearly three quarters (71%) expressed concerns about the long-term mental health of employees working in isolation.
While only one in 10 (10%) were actively (or in the process of) introducing mental health measures for staff working from home indefinitely, just over half (52%) said this is something they would look to implement, should the crisis continue.
Of those considering or open to mental health support, three quarters (75%) said they would consider a digital solution, such as an app, online programme or web chat solution for their employees.
Avril Lewis MBE, Managing Director of Technology Connected said: “The impact of Covid-19 is beginning to be felt by business across the UK, and there will inevitably be more challenges for all companies over the next few months.
“While we are only at the beginning of the journey, it’s great to see businesses adopting a flexible, supportive and positive attitude to make the best of the situation. Employers will need to ensure they maintain the well-being of their employees with increased flexibility as many will be juggling child care, home- schooling and other family members working from home.
“Fundamental to this shift has been the innovative technology businesses who enable other sectors across markets through digital services and infrastructure. Within the technology industry we’ve experienced a tremendous amount of positivity and collaboration, with the community really starting to come together to support businesses and people impacted by covid-19.
“Naturally, not all businesses will be able to accommodate remote working, which means ensuring they have access to the right support will be absolutely fundamental in keeping Britain moving.”