Lockdown proving a blessing, and a burden, for North West home workers

Joanna Swash

Following the extension of the UK lockdown for a further three weeks, a new survey of 2,000 people into the experience of home working shows that 34% in the North West are finding it more and more difficult to work from home.

The survey, commissioned by Moneypenny, the outsourced communications company based in Wrexham, showed that a further five per cent said they don’t feel they can work from home any longer, although 54% said they have got used to home working and won’t mind a longer lockdown.

Workloads seem to be reducing for some, as after more than three weeks in lockdown 22% of respondents said they feel like work is drying up, while 13% say they spend fewer hours on work each week compared with pre-lockdown times and admit to feeling guilty about this.

However, 16% said they are actually spending more hours working than they would in the office.

Working at home also seems to have reduced communication with work colleagues for most, as 66% of those surveyed admitted they don’t speak to anyone from work for a full day and, of these, almost a third (32%) said this lack of dialogue goes on for more than a day.

Lockdown seems to have blurred the boundaries between work and free time, as 69% said they are answering calls and emails after working hours.

However, far from working in their pyjamas, 23% said they dress up properly to feel like they are going to work.

In terms of getting ready for work, 40% said they get up about an hour before their work starts, 19% get up about 30 minutes before work and four per cent get up around 10 minutes, or less, before work.

The experience of working from home has not be aided by many companies, as half of those surveyed said their company didn’t provide anything to help them set up their home office, and only 10% said they received vouchers or cash to buy what they need for this.

Only 15% already had an office set up at home, while 28% are using their living room as a home office, 12% the dining room and 12% their bedroom.

Moneypenny chief executive Joanna Swash said: “It’s clear that many companies are relying on their staff having a full home office to enable them to work from home and companies should be auditing the facilities their staff need, and providing them.

“We also have research that shows that one in 10 UK businesses are still sending staff into the office to answer phone calls, which is not necessary when there are so many tech solutions available that don’t cost a fortune and can help provide efficient communications.”