Two Thirds of Professionals Believe WFH to Worsen this Winter

Professionals in Ireland expect winter conditions to have a negative impact on remote working, survey finds

Cold and dark weather conditions, increased restrictions and rising Covid-19 cases are cited as concerning factors for professionals working from home this winter, a new survey finds.

The study from specialist financial services recruitment company, Coopman Search and Selection, found that 67% of professionals expect working from home to be more difficult this winter.

Employees also anticipate longer working days due to increasing workloads, growing demands from employers and the likelihood of escalating absenteeism.

These factors are expected to discourage employees to leave their homes for exercise and social interactions, causing increased risk of feelings of isolation, loneliness and stress.

Challenges of remote working

Over 350 participants took part in the survey, from associate through to executive level, with the majority of participants working in financial and professional services.

The survey found that 68% of employees are currently working longer than their normal hours, 55% use their laptops at least once a week after 9 pm for work commitments and 61% work at least one weekend every month.

A further 57% do not expect to take their allocated annual leave this year.

59% are working in locations at home that may not be fit for purpose, such as a kitchen table, bedroom or sitting room.

34% said finding a work-life balance has been the most difficult aspect of remote working in the last six months, 24% said communication with colleagues has been the most challenging, while 18% said managing their workload.

Evident from these results is that many employees are facing challenges while working from home, in particular working longer hours and not finding that separation between work and home life. As winter approaches, opportunities to offset these challenges will be reduced and could negatively impact employees’ mental health” said Mark Fallon, Director at Coopman Search and Selection.

Employer support

The survey found that 69% of employees have received equipment from their employers to effectively work from home. 58% also said their company have the necessary policies and procedures in place for remote working.

57% feel they have received adequate resources from their employer to combat stress while working from home, while 66% said they would feel comfortable talking to their employer if they were experiencing stress.

“It is great to see that many employers are providing their employees with the support and resources they need to work remotely” Mark added. 

There are further actions that can be taken, the most important of which is to encourage an honest, open dialogue with employees right throughout the winter months to ensure that they are ok.”

Flexible working hours to allow employees to get outside during daylight hours, non-work related virtual events to allow employees to socialise, less or no communication outside of working hours to allow employees their down time, and work-life balance and wellbeing initiatives are some other ways in which employees feel employers can further support them.”

These measures may help to reduce or possibly prevent feelings of isolation, loneliness and stress.”

Article Published: 16/10/2020