The future of the World of Work

We are very excited to shared the results of our Working from Home survey with you.

We’ve had a phenomenal response, and thank you to everyone who’s taken part. The comments were incredibly candid and insightful and we hope the survey allows firms to help plan better for how they will cope with the “new normal”.

Key findings

Coronavirus & the new normal

Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20For years the working from home vs. being office based debate has been going backwards and forwards. We’d just seen some firms becoming more flexible, reconfiguring their offices to support remote working, and then overnight coronavirus forced all firms to take on the working from home challenge. Most service-based firms have surprised themselves with how easily they’ve adapted, and how productive they’ve been.

However, as the weeks have moved on we’ve sensed more and more frustration with permanently working from home and many have commented on how much they’ve missed their colleagues. That feeling has grown stronger and people have been more vocal, and therefore we created this survey, as we wanted to get a greater insight into what workers really feel about working from home. In short, what the workforce seems to want is flexibility and some autonomy over their diary. Communication with colleagues is being hindered by working from home permanently, but this is easily resolved with a hybrid model once offices are able to open again.

Whilst not all changes will be permanent, many will stick. Firms have identified huge property related cost savings, which they can divert into people, new markets, and providing a better client experience. Flexibility will greatly help working parents, will help staff save on commuting costs, and perhaps firms will utilise video conferencing to reduce their travel bills. The days of long leases, fixed costs, and rigid office hours are perhaps behind us – or at least for the short term.

Working from home

"Working from home has largely been a success as EVERYONE is working from home - this has created a level playing field. As we move back to a mix of some workers in the office and some working from home we will see a deterioration in communication and collaboration as those in the office typically benefit from close proximity to other colleagues."

Fears over productivity and efficiency has always been one of the main concerns employers have had regarding having a remote workforce.

Interestingly, we found no significant differences between the different industries surveyed, with the notable exception of the legal sector, where all respondents said they were either somewhat or a lot more efficient working from home, or felt no difference. Respondents from ‘Other’ industries were most likely to feel less efficient.

56%

Number of respondents who felt they were more efficient working from home

"Working from home is a revelation. It could create opportunities. What is stopping you getting a job with an employer that is in a different area, but you work from home? You could perhaps visit the office once a week or perhaps a couple of times a month. "

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Clearly many of the issues experienced by employees faced with sudden and unexpected home working - and with the added complications of school closures and whole household isolation - are temporary or solvable in the long run. It is telling that 75% of respondents felt home working would become easier long-term, further adding weight to the argument for providing employees with flexible working options.

Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20

Issues around compliance and risk has come up in many conversations we have had in recent weeks. However, only 6.1% of respondents cited this as a problem, with respondents in the legal, banking and asset management sectors most likely to tick this box.

Client communication is another fear frequently expressed by our contacts, and respondents in the banking and asset management sectors were most likely to tick this box, with insurance and legal respondents the least likely.

It is also important to note that many respondents cited no problems around home working.

Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20


Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20Whilst comments mainly focused on the benefits of working from home, from commuting time saved, to improved mental and physical health, many also highlighted a blurring of work and private life with less structure and less breaks.

"Having your home and work life in the same place is the biggest issue. The sense of sameness is difficult to contend with."

"I find that you end up working longer hours, as people know that you are at home so you are available 24/7. "

"I am strangely missing my commute as it provides a natural beginning and end to the end of the working day. Currently days seem to be longer as people are adopting the 'I must be more productive in the time I am no longer commuting'. "


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Interestingly, this question threw up a significant difference in the answers between employees working from home vs employees currently furloughed.

Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20Working from home survey - Fram Search June 20

Whilst the different industries surveyed were largely similar with regards to the question on whether their employer were considering offering more flexible working options, 70% of banking respondents answered ‘yes’, whilst respondents from the legal and other industries were most likely to answer ‘no’.

Job Hunting

"My employer believes because we are not in the office, he's paying us to do nothing, an ancient mentality, in fact its angered me to the point I shall quit once the economic recovery is in full swing."

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"I will be less likely to look for a new job if working from home is offered by current employer."

As our research shows, employees are more likely to look for a new role now than they were before the corona crisis. This is perhaps surprising, given the uncertain economic outlook. However, the pandemic has caused many to reevaluate their lives and their careers. Working from home has clearly provided a better work life balance for many, without affecting productivity, whilst others are reconsidering what they want from an employer.

"The lack of communication leads me to believe I am not wanted."

Furloughed

"It’s mentally challenging, but it's the unknown that makes it even more challenging."


"It’s been ok. It was the best available option for me. Initially, I was told, they had to let me go, but then furlough came about."

Unemployed

"Losing your job when the job market appears to have stalled is a scary thing. In reality there are jobs out there, but you need to work hard to find them and are competing against a lot of candidates."

"It was already hard enough trying to find any work at all after becoming redundant in June of last year, well before the pandemic. How much harder will it be now?"

"Due to the pandemic, I have lost my only source of income."

"Terrible job market, a lot of misleading ads online by headhunters (essentially recycling sometimes non-existing vacancies), those that appear "live" you hardly get any feedback on. Been in the London market for 20 years now and have never seen it so bad."

Self-Employed

Employers

Though we didn’t ask, a number of comments praised their employers’ handling of the Corona crisis, whilst a smaller number flagged issues around communication and expectations.

"My company have got kit & chairs and IT couriered. They have done an excellent job of getting us all working."


"My company has double standards. Sends emails about mindfulness, but work load has doubled. Manager keeps piling on the work."


"My company has been great and very supportive, as have our clients."


Methodology

This survey was based on a total of 700 responses. These were split between 538 responses from our candidates, and 162 responses from a ‘Working from Home’ survey marketed to our industry contacts, and across our marketing materials and social media platforms. All respondents were office workers.

For further information, please contact: Beate Oera, Head of Operations, t:01525 864 372, e:boera@framsearch.com.

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