Covid-19 has led to new working patterns, changes in the division of unpaid work in the home and a widespread desire for more flexible working and shorter working hours in future, indicates research by the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham.
The study by academics Dr Holly Birkett and Dr Sarah Forbes sought to understand how employees working from home have coped during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Specifically, it explores how employees perceived the support they received from managers and organisations, how employees shared housework and childcare (if applicable) between them and their partner, the impact on productivity and what their attitudes to flexible working in the future were following the Covid-19 lockdown.
As expected, the data collected from the survey confirmed that mothers were taking on a lot more housework and childcare during the lockdown. In fact, during lockdown, mothers were also likely to undertake their paid work in the evenings to cope with longer hours of childcare. However, its research also found that fathers stepped up during lockdown, taking more responsibility for childcare.
During this time, productivity improved for many in the sample. Overall, 30 per cent of the poll sample reported that their productivity increased during lockdown. Indeed, many in the sample outlined that they wish to work from home in future “to be more productive” (40 per cent for mothers, 43 per cent of fathers, 49 per cent of women without children, 46 per cent of men without children).
- Improve internal communication of flexible working (FW) policies to all employees
- Advertise all positions (if possible) as open to FW as a strategy for improving employee attraction and inclusion.
- Invest in new ways to connect with employees, to recognise their contribution and to celebrate successes when they are working from home.
- Implement a reverse mentoring programme by millennials with board and senior management team members to help improve intergenerational understanding and explore changing cultural attitudes on presenteeism, flexible working, gender and caring.