Managers and employees report different experiences of working from home
As Australians return to their usual workplaces and adapt to “COVID-normal”, a gap remains between the needs, preferences and perceptions of managers and employees.
New research by UNSW Canberra and CQUniversity, with support from the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), has shown that while managers are increasingly supportive of flexible working arrangements, managers and employees have different perceptions employee productivity when working remotely. .
“Nearly three in five employees said their productivity was higher when working from home than in the office,” said lead author Sue Williamson, an associate professor at UNSW Canberra.
“Conversely, two-thirds of managers believe that productivity remains the same whether the work is done at home or in the office. At the very least, respondents believed productivity was holding up through 2021.”
It was also revealed that managers and employees perceived the impact of working from home on employee mental health differently. While the vast majority of employees reported experiencing no negative health and safety impacts of working from home, more than half of managers had noticed negative or psychological impacts of working from home on their staff.
“A lot of it took the form of ‘COVID fatigue’, with employees feeling drained and burnt out,” Professor A/Williamson said.
“However, some of the fatigue related to COVID is just that – it is attributable to the pandemic. Without overriding factors such as forced homework and homeschooling, hybrid working can be a very effective way of working. »
The study also revealed that there is a disconnect between preferred and actual working arrangements.
Teacher. Williamson said more than a third of employees would like to work from home all the time or for 80% of their work week. Less than 10 percent of employees want to spend all of their working hours at their employer’s workplace.
“It will be important for managers and organizations to develop optimal hybrid working arrangements – the length of time employees can work from home, the distribution of tasks and the management of workloads with hybrid teams,” said declared Prof. said Williamson.
“More than two in five respondents also said that if their agency did not allow them to work from home at all, they would consider changing agencies or leaving the public sector.”
CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said remote and flexible working was becoming essential to attracting and retaining the best employees.
“The Australian Public Service has served the community throughout the pandemic and has shown it can do so whether working in the office or from home. It is clear that APS must embrace hybrid working if it is to attract and retain the best employees,” she said.
“Working from home is becoming a standard condition of employment. We find that employees will consider finding a new job if their agency doesn’t allow them to work flexibly – and there are now more options available to them to do so.
Over 5,000 Australian public service employees responded to the survey, which was conducted in June-July 2021. It follows a similar survey conducted in 2020 and demonstrated that management support for flexible working arrangements had increased during the pandemic.
“Working During the Pandemic: The Future of Work is Hybrid” was released today.