Research hints at the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the future of the working world
- With the COVID-19 pandemic having resulted in the closing of offices globally, millions of people are learning and adapting to entirely new work practices and experiences. When the world begins to reemerge from lockdown, the office, and workers’ attitudes towards it, will be permanently changed.
To explore the post-lockdown legacy of thousands of businesses having shifted to remote working for the first time, Whereby (www.whereby.com), the Oslo-headquartered video-conferencing platform, has surveyed 1,500 British professionals reliant upon its platform.
The research seeks to understand how both business-leaders and employees have been affected by remote working during the pandemic; as well as how they expect working practices to change once lockdown measures lift.
Respondents were asked to self-identify as either employees (who did not hold responsibility for making decisions about company-wide working practices and policies) OR business-owners/senior team (who considered themselves responsible for making decisions about company-wide working practices and policies).
Impact and future of remote working according businesses owners and decision-makers
- 53% of business-owners and company decision-makers feel that remote working (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) has increased their employees’ overall productivity. Only 17% feel that company-wide productivity has decreased.
- 82% of businesses are considering changing their future working practices to allow more staff to work remotely, due to the success of remote working during the lockdown.
- 65% of businesses are considering downsizing or changing their office space once lockdown is lifted, as a of consequence anticipating more staff working remotely in future.
- 73% of businesses are now considering moving more or all of their future recruitment interviews to video.
The impact and future of remote working according to employees
- 51% of employees expect to be allowed to retain at least some flexibility to work remotely once lockdown is lifted. 13% want to be allowed to work entirely remotely.
- This is despite 54% of staff members feeling that remote working has resulted in their working more hours than before the lockdown.
- 53% of employees feel that their mental wellbeing has improved due to working from home. Comparatively, 18% feel that their mental wellbeing has worsened during this period of remote working.
- 60% of employees state that their experience of remote working has prompted them to consider changing career or job.
- 69% of employees would be happy to be interviewed via video call, rather than in-person.
The video call experience
- 42% of employees feel more comfortable conducting meetings via video call than in in-person meetings (compared to 32% who feel less comfortable on professional video calls).
- 66% of employees feel that they display a different persona on video calls to how they act in the office.
- 57% of employees feel they have seen more ‘mansplaining’ (a man explaining something in a patronising or condescending way to a woman) on video calls than they would do in traditional, in-person meetings.
- ‘Interrupting other speakers’ is the thing that most annoys people about professional video calls and meetings, with 36% citing this as their biggest source of irritation.
- The next-most commonly cited irritations in video calls are ‘connectivity issues’ (12%) and ‘people walking around during calls’ (11%).
- 7% cite ‘people talking, having forgotten to unmute themselves’ as the biggest video call irritant.
- Just 3% take issue with ‘unnecessary smalltalk’, however.
- 73% of employees feel it is easier to leave a video meeting earlier than an in-person meeting.
Øyvind Reed, CEO of Whereby, comments: “It would appear that the unprecedented events of the past two months, which necessitated an overnight abandonment of traditional working practices, are going to result in a profound, long term change in professional behaviour. Companies and employees worldwide are being forced to reevaluate all that they knew about the working day, conducting business, and managing and sustaining a team. To my mind, this research highlights two things. Firstly, remote working is not something people fear nor wish to resist: employees and decision-makers alike are recognising and embracing its benefits. Secondly, businesses are already looking ahead to how the lessons learned from lockdown might be applied to strengthen and streamline their working practices – from office rental to recruitment – once enforced remote working is no longer in place.”
Whereby (www.whereby.com) is a Nordic-born, free-to-use, secure platform for video conferencing relied upon by over 5.3 million monthly international users for communication through its online meeting rooms. The platform’s popularity is driven by its ease of use and flexibility: Whereby is instantly accessible through any web browser, with guest users requiring no downloads nor prior login in order to join a call. Whereby upholds the highest security and privacy measures by offering encrypted calls in the browser, while it never stores any media or chat messages sent by users.
Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Whereby was founded in 2013 by Ingrid Ødegaard, Co-founder and Chief Product & Technology Officer. Its Chief Executive Officer is Øyvind Reed. Whereby has paying customers in 150 countries, and users at the likes of General Electric, Capgemini, and Shopify.