Work in 2036 in U.K. not so enjoyable: Survey

More remote workers could mean lower engagement, higher turnover
||Last Updated: 01/18/2012

A less enjoyable future has been predicted for workers, according to a survey in the United Kingdom, with employees never meeting colleagues and employee engagement dropping to an all-time low.

Almost three quarters (71 per cent) of workers believe an increased number of people will work from home by 2036, thanks to a variety of new technologies improving flexibility and connectivity. While this may sound like a positive development, 54 per cent of current workers believe they may never meet any other members of their team and 39 per cent think employees are unlikely to meet their bosses before starting work.

Overall, 39 per cent of respondents felt work in 2036 will be less enjoyable, found the Office Angels survey of 750 jobseekers and 250 hiring decision-makers.

This lack of integration may lead to a possible reduction in knowledge-sharing among employees, according to 30 per cent of respondents. And 43 per cent of employers worry it may lead to a lack of engagement and loyalty which may affect employee turnover.

This concern does seem to have foundations, found the survey, as 46 per cent of workers felt remote workers might experience a loss of identity with the organization they work for and 31 per cent predicted low levels of engagement.

“Employers and employees alike are painting a very bleak picture of a future where workers are disconnected from their companies and morale is suffering greatly as a result,” said David Clubb, managing director at Office Angels.

While remote working can be a great tool for a business — offering a flexible working model that benefits employees and allows access to a greater pool of talent — it’s essential companies continue to support their staff and do not allow them to feel abandoned, he said.

“Regardless of how advanced technology becomes, online conversation is no match for human interaction and frequent face-to-face contact, as well as rewarding social events, will always be critical to engagement and good morale.”

Social interaction with colleagues will become much more difficult, found the survey, with all conversations needing forward planning. One-third of employees even predict chats around the coffee machine will take place in virtual cafes.

Office Angels suggested the following five steps to prepare businesses for a changing workforce whilst maximizing employee engagement:

1. Measure the attitudes of employees by conducting internal surveys on a regular basis. This will help to identify how employees feel about their work on a range of issues including pay and benefits, learning and development, and work-life balance.

2. Make employees feel valued by involving them in the decision-making process — it’s important to give workers the freedom to voice ideas that you as a manager can listen to and potentially action.

3. Ensure your workforce understands your company’s vision and objectives. It’s vital that employees are made aware of how their work contributes to larger organizational outcomes if they are to recognize their own worth.

4. Congratulate the success and achievements of employees — one of the main drivers of employee engagement is feeling well-informed about what’s happening in the organization and celebrating when things are good.

5. Give employees the opportunity to develop in their current roles. Career progression is a major driver for many workers and if you give staff something to work towards and milestones to aim for, you’ll help to make their roles far more meaningful and engaging.

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