There are several research reports coming out on the good, bad and ugly of remote working over the pandemic. Here is one coming from SAP that has uncovered some positive benefits of working from home for civil servants who cite better work-life balance (57%) and improved physical (42%) and mental wellbeing (40%). Work-life balance was called out as the number one factor (30%) in improving their level of engagement and 83% of public sector workers whose organisation had emphasised work-life balance during the pandemic say it has improved their work performance.
SAP’s survey of 2,000 UK public sector workers, conducted by Opinium, explored the impact of remote working on local and central government employees. According to the survey, employees who were required to work from home as a result of the pandemic have felt more productive (49%), more engaged (35%) and better able to collaborate with colleagues (40%).
Although many industry leaders anticipate home working to continue through much of 2021, public sector organisations, who employ nearly one-fifth (17%) of all employees in the UK, have not yet announced long term plans. Should the government cut its estate running costs by just 25%, it could save the public sector an estimated £650 million a year. It’s something that many governments are most likely considering.
“The public sector’s ability to provide essential services during the pandemic has been outstanding and continuing to maximise their effect will be easier and more effective with the right tools and resources. We’ve seen the impact of employee sentiment surveys on helping employers identify potential issues early on and the adoption of collaboration tools skyrocket. However, competencies with these technologies vary and that emphasises the importance of training. Staff not only need access to training that helps them learn how to effectively utilise new tools and resources that improve collaboration, but they need help on what they need to learn,” said Leila Romane, Head of Success Factors at SAP UK and Ireland.
The survey also highlighted that public sector managers say that the technologies that would most improve employee engagement in the next 12 months would include tools for remote employee onboarding (30%) and digital training (30%), followed by collaboration tools (28%).
According to Neil Sartorio, Lead Partner for Local Public Services, EY UK&I: “Remote working is an opportunity for companies to change their way of working to a more sustainable approach. With remote working comes less office space, less commuting and fewer business trips. But it’s important to focus on employees’ wellbeing and maintain good employee engagement. This can be achieved through business leaders communicating with employees and conducting sentiment analysis to identify issues, early. This survey shows that remote working for public sector workers has had a significant increase in work-life balance but, this is reliant on ensuring that employees have the right tools, to work, communicate, onboard and train.”