Working from home : a curse or a blessing?
February 09, 2021
EUCUSA, the expert consultancy for feedback systems, developed a mood barometer to be found under www.homeoffice-check.com and has gained trend-setting insights since the end of March 2020. Participants (mainly HR managers and executives) were asked via the EUCUSA newsletter as well as Social Media channels.
During the first wave in spring 2020, all respondents basically coped very well with the new setting working from home The EUCUSA Index showed 1.8 on a 6-point Likert scale (1=best value, 6=worst value) and was placed in the green area of the traffic light colour system. Out of three researched dimensions, „Workplace“ (1.7) and „Work conditions” (1.8) got very positive results. The dimension “Communications” was a little behind (2.0) but still in the green area.
Survey participants considered the aspects “I can concentrate very well working from home”, “All digital communication channels work perfectly when working from home.” and “Digital equipment” (“I have all digital options to complete my work during home office.”) as most relevant. The majority was very satisfied as the digital equipment seemed to work well right from the beginning. The only exception, households with children saw the aspect “concentrated work” as well as digital equipment as rather problematic.
The statement „The lack of social contacts is compensated by a higher level of digital communications.” was considered most difficult and only achieved 3.1 on the 6-point Likert scale and is hence the only aspect in the red area of the traffic light colour system. Contact points with the manager as well as with colleagues as well as the availability for the customers were considered as sufficient. However, they miss the emotional side such as small personal encounters, the chats in the coffee area which are important for team spirit, motivation and good ideas. Digital communication channels cannot replace that.
The readiness to work from home beyond this crisis was overall quite strong in spring 2020. 82% had either fully or slightly agreed to this statement. The people who had already worked from home before COVID-19 considered the working from home situation more positively than those who had not.
Key differences in the second wave (or third): The EUCUSA index fell from 1.8 to 2.2 and thus slipped into the yellow area in the traffic light colour system. All three dimensions (workplace, working conditions and communication) have worsened slightly, most notably communication from 2 to 2.6.
The most important aspects remained “I can concentrate very well working from home”, “All digital communication channels work perfectly when working from home,” and “Digital equipment” (“I have all digital options to complete my work during home office.”). Additionally, the aspect „attitude towards working from home” was considered to be decisive for the level of satisfaction.
The most difficult area remained the lack of social contacts (decline from 3.1 to 3.6, the only aspect in the red area). The aspect “Missing contact with colleagues” slipped also into the yellow area in the second wave (-0.9 to 2.8). This affected everyone, but especially people working in smaller companies.
A trend development: The results in the second lockdown in winter 20/21 were significantly more critical than in the first wave, particularly regarding the lack of social contacts not being replaceable via digital media and in general the lacking contact with colleagues. Overall, working from home is still a relief in the current situation. The respondents acknowledged also advantages such as no daily commuting to the office, etc. They considered themselves as 100% effective working from home, i.e. not less effective than working at the office workplace. In the future people would be willing to work from home 50% of the working time.