The results are out!
We were so excited to go through the responses and then try and make sense of what they are trying to say in unison.
The purpose of our survey was to gauge people’s perception of work from home. Did they enjoy the freedom of working from the homes or did they miss their work desk? What worked, what did not and how excited they were to get back to the office. Most importantly, do they think working from home is feasible over time.
Download the graphical summary of our report
5 take away’s of the survey
- Work from home is here to stay
- But Offices will survive
- Perceptions differ by age, job function and industry, so you need a customized solution for your team
- Time saved travelling to, and back from office affects choices
- Companies should allow people to work from satellite offices
Survey: In detail
1. Work from home is here to stay
Let us talk numbers. 67% of our respondents said that they found work from home as an efficient option. Not surprising that the tech sector gave the biggest vote of approval (73%) while the manufacturing sector had the least approval at 48%. Interestingly, the approval for the concept remained consistent across all age groups.
We asked respondents to tell us if each of the following parameters were more efficient, less efficient or as efficient when working from home.
Interestingly, the responses differed quite widely by age; for example, more younger respondents felt that productivity was not as efficient compared to their older colleagues. It could be partly due to the challenges of home infrastructure that respondents spoke about (more later).
The younger respondents also felt that communication was lacking while the older respondents felt less motivated to work from home. The comfort of working got the top billing. It was rated as the most favourable parameter by respondents across all categories.
2. We still need an office
If you own Office real estate or run a coworking space, here is some good news for you.
Despite an overwhelmingly positive response to the concept of working from home, people do want to have an office. Two out of three responds said that while they like to work from home; they want to do so only 2-3 days a week. Another 14% of the respondents said that they do not want to work from home at all.
Summed up, 79% of respondents want to go to an office at three days a week.
Interestingly though, at the time of the survey in the last week of April and early May, people were not entirely eager to get back to office yet. Only 10% of the respondents said that they were “missing it badly”.
3. Different people, different opinions!
As we got down to understanding the benefits and challenges of working from home, we noted perceptions differ with age, job function and industry.
Turning to the challenges first – lack of interaction was the most significant challenge across age groups.
Beyond this, younger respondents (18 to 35 years) found their home infrastructure to be the biggest challenge (25%), while their older colleagues perceived irregular work hours as the biggest challenge (25%).
Job functions of the respondents also a critical factor – sales (24%) and technology (25%) teams felt unscheduled work timing as the most significant challenge.
Respondents overwhelmingly voted for the travel time saved as the most significant benefit. The only exception was people living in non-metro cities which have relatively lesser travel times. Other benefits included balancing work and life challenges, working at one’s pace and saving money – which received fairly even response.
Tip: Given the diverse perceptions, your work from home policy needs to be flexible and accommodative. Decentralize the rulemaking to team leaders and managers, instead of a single one-size-fits-all policy. Define precise work times. Ensure that the workday ends just as it does while working from the office.
4. Travel Time is the key
A long commute to and from the office is common in most cities. Businesses prosper, the city grows and travel times to the business districts get longer.
Most of the respondents (91%) said they enjoyed the time saved working from home. Unsurprisingly, the longer the travel time, the bigger the perceived benefit. People with travel times greater than an hour were positively disposed to most of the parameters of working from home, compared to those who stay closer to office. On most of these parameters, the difference was about 20% pct!
Likewise, when it came to choosing how long people want to work from home, those living more than an hour away voted 93% in favour of working from home forever or 2-3 days a week as compared to 74% who live closer by.
It, therefore appears that work from home is solving the most significant challenge that people have in their jobs – the daily commute. Forget working from home, ask yourself whats the total time your employees spend on the road on an average day. (PS: we know the answer, write to us and we can help !)
5. Remote Office / Satellite Offices
If work from home is excellent, but not ideal and travel time to the office is a significant factor along with other challenges at home, what’s the final take away?
Coworking spaces and business centres have created office infrastructure throughout most cities, and therefore the question was if these could act as remote offices or satellite offices. Professional offices, closer home, seems to solve most of the challenges. Sixty-three per cent of the respondents think so. They expressed their desire to work from offices closer home. As for those currently travelling over an hour, 73% responded positively to this option.
So if you are not already allowing people to work from home, you should. And if your team is finding work from home challenging, then try using offices closer to their homes instead.
What should you do next?
Two out of three people have said this – They liked working from home, but they will do so only 2-3 days a week and that they would like to work from a remote office instead of their current office.
If you were thinking of shutting down your office for good, think again. As much as people have loved working from home, they have missed interacting with their colleagues and have found it intrusive (lack of defined work time, distractions etc.)
Be mindful of your younger teammates. They may not be living in houses that are conducive to work from daily. Connectivity, size of the house, other distractions are hampering their productivity. They, however, love the comfort and are most positive about the concept. If you need a long term WFH solution, you will need to invest in better infrastructure and communicate better with them.
Time saved in travel has helped people overlook most of the problems that WFH otherwise presents. People with longer travel times are most positively disposed to the concept. Likewise, respondents from Metro cities (and therefore longer travel times) have shown greater enthusiasm. Staying close to the office has made people indifferent to the idea.
Working from offices closer to your homes seems like a logical choice.
We are always keen to talk to you and help you find the best workspace solutions, so do block my calendar if you wish to talk to us.
How much time do your employees spend getting to the office and back? We have an application that helps us do that real quick. Drop me a mail at hello(at)sneed(dot)in and we will help you with it.
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