A third of homeworkers feel disconnected from their organisation and colleagues, according to a study by workplace specialist Leesman.
Insights from Leesman’s ongoing homeworking study of more than 145,000 workers has revealed that a significant number of employees feel disconnected from their colleagues and organisation, while others struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
More than a third of homeworkers (35 per cent) feel detached from their organisation when working from home and another 31 per cent feel disengaged from their colleagues, shows Leesman data.
The company, which is an "assessor of employee experience", launched an exploration into employees’ homeworking experiences in March 2020. Now, as the UK re-enters lockdown, Leesman’s insights tool indicates that there are significant pressure points around social connectivity and an employees' ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Only 56 per cent of homeworkers report that their home environment supports “informal social interaction”. “Learning from others” is also waning, with more than a third (34 per cent) reporting that this activity is not supported and a further 29 per cent claiming that they are unable to collaborate on creative work when working from home.
Leesman’s research has also revealed that employees who do more activities at work need the variety of space that an office provides. The data demonstrates that the more complex an employee’s activity profile, the more likely they are to express frustration with the one-dimensional nature of the home environment.
The research states: “That homeworkers have a far less favourable view of learning from others, social interaction and variety of work settings than office-based employees do, is evidence that the office is a place of community and friendship in a way the home could never be, despite all the best video, collaboration and social technologies."
Tim Oldman, Leesman CEO, said: “As people brace themselves for a second national lockdown, organisations need to beware of sentiment drift. Wellbeing and mental health will clearly have a greater impact on people’s attitudes towards homeworking over the coming months. Just as employers are adjusting office spaces and working styles to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic, they also need to make adjustments to help people with their mental health. Without the journey to and from a workplace, for example, people are finding it difficult to switch off when the workday has finished.
“Those who had slowly begun to return to the office in the summer will expect their organisations to have learned from the first few months of lockdown to ensure they have what they need to improve the homeworking experience while social distancing measures continue. Now they’ve been sent home, they’ll also be expecting their employers to take the opportunity to make meaningful changes to the office environment that reflect their newly learned workstyle. Inaction from employers now would be hugely harmful.”