The ups and downs of working from home

In-office setup offers stronger social connection, more definite work boundaries

The ups and downs of working from home

Nearly four in 10 (39 per cent) of remote workers in the U.S. say they have longer workdays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with just 21 per cent of in-workplace workers, according to an ADP survey.

In-office workers typically work one hour less compared with those in a remote setup, and also enjoy a cleaner break between work and home life.

When it comes to hiring and awarding promotions, 57 per cent of employees think their managers prefer on-site employees over remote workers (just six per cent). Fifty-nine per cent of managers say this is actually true, with just 13 per cent preferring remote workers.

On-site workers are also more likely to be called “productive” (44 per cent) than remote workers (38 per cent). Those in the office are also far more likely to be described as “undistracted” (48 per cent) than their remote counterparts (32 per cent).

Being on-site is also believed to be more collaborative (62 per cent versus 47 per cent), supporting (66 per cent versus 59 per cent) and less gossipy (nine per cent versus 20 per cent) and cliquish (seven per cent versus 10 per cent) compared with remote.

While 39 per cent say they will return to the office full time if their employer so demands, 25 per cent will go back but may start looking for a new job, according to a separate report.

Connections matter

Staying connected is also one of the benefits in-office workers enjoy over those working remotely, found ADP’s survey of g 9,010 full-time employees in the United States conducted in February.

Those working in the workplace tend to have more spontaneous conversations (77 per cent) compared with remote workers (64 per cent).

Also, 70 per cent of on-site workers say that they have a strong connection with their teammates and 48 per cent say they have a strong connection with their other colleagues. In contrast, these numbers are 64 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, for remote workers.

Workers on site who also have their managers on site (14 per cent) are far less likely to say that their communication with their manager decreased during COVID-19, when compared with those working remotely (26 per cent) and those working on-site but with managers who are on a remote setup (24 per cent).

Only 18 per cent of on-site workers who have their managers on site have found it challenging to find time to connect with colleagues during COVID-19, compared with remote workers (25 per cent) and those in the workplace with managers in a remote setup (24 per cent).

However, on-site workers find it more difficult to listen to one another in their teams (24 per cent compared with 15 per cent) and to ensure active participation by all (30 per cent versus 28 per cent).

There is also a perception of being micromanaged more on-site (28 per cent) than on remote (24 per cent), and of the company encouraging innovation more for remote work (68 per cent) than on-site (53 per cent).

Workers working from home are taking far too many breaks during the workday, according to a previous report.

Hybrid model

Despite the positives for those on site, the hybrid model is still ideal when it comes to staying connected.

Workers in a hybrid setup are far more likely to have established a strong connection with teammates (79 per cent) compared with those on-site (70 per cent) and those on remote setup (64 per cent).

Also, hybrid setup workers are more likely to have created a strong connection with their other colleagues (58 per cent) compared with those on-site (48 per cent) and on remote (42 per cent). Those in hybrid are also far more likely to receive constructive criticism (72 per cent) compared with the other two groups (64 per cent and 57 per cent, respectively).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in the world of work. As Americans navigate yet another transition – back to the workplace – companies have a unique opportunity to make that transition as smooth as possible, and even incorporate lessons from remote working over the past year,” according to the report titled On-site, Remote or Hybrid: Employee Sentiment On The Workplace. “They may also consider the upsides and downsides of on-site work and decide to organize their workforce differently than before the pandemic.”

Deloitte, SAP, Sun Life, JTI, GSoft and iA Financial Group have all announced plans to offer flexible work arrangements for their workers.

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