Allego WFH Survey Reveals What Employers are Getting Right (and Wrong) During the Pandemic
With the majority of the global workforce quarantined at home since March 2020, it’s become clear that almost every company in every industry will need to rethink how work gets done—today and in the future, when the world isn’t facing a pandemic.
To understand this new landscape, Allego decided to find out how employees—and their employers—are feeling about their Work From Home (WFH) experience and their company’s response to the situation. Our research reveals many interesting trends related to how both office workers and organizations, via their HR reps, feel about the WFH experience during the pandemic.
Understanding Both Sides of WFH
Allego commissioned two surveys, each with more than 400 respondents. The first survey sampled employees who primarily work in offices but were required to work remotely starting in March 2020. The other sampled HR representatives to capture the employer perspective.
Beyond both groups’ general feelings about WFH , the research also looked at how employees and HR reps felt about the technical and non-technical resources provided to them by their organizations, employee productivity and collaboration, and COVID-19’s overall impact on their company.
Bottom line: WFH seems to be working well for most and is expected to continue as part of our new normal. However, one thing has become clear from this data: The pandemic has simply sped up a trend that has been emerging in the L&D industry for quite some time. In order for companies to effectively skill and re-skill their employees, they must embrace virtual training programs.
Working From Home Has Benefits, But Organizations Can Improve
Survey results revealed that both groups reported a generally positive experience in terms of their company’s approach to WFH, resources provided by their company, and productivity levels while WFH. However, the majority (86%) of office workers confirmed that access to additional technology resources would further improve the quality of their WFH experience and make them even more productive.
Additionally, the non-technical resources provided by companies don’t seem to be meeting their employees’ needs, with HR reps prioritizing increased communication from management and clarity on expectations from HR/management over the resources employees most desire, such as increased interactions with peers and more access to virtual training and coaching.
Also, with a significant percentage of both office workers (44%) and HR reps (34%) reporting their company’s Learning and Development (L&D) efforts as “average,” “poor” or “very poor” there is a clear opportunity for organizations to improve how they are investing in and structuring their L&D programs for employees.
Finally, while more than half of office workers feel connected to their colleagues (54%) and say they are able to collaborate effectively while WFH (66%), HR reps are slightly more optimistic about their employees’ level of connectedness (69% felt their employees were connected) and collaboration (83% of HR reps reported their employees can easily collaborate).
6 Key Takeaways from the New WFH Normal
Our research surfaced six key findings from a survey of over 800 respondents.
1. Satisfaction with WFH is high
In general, the majority of employees (70%) who primarily worked in an office setting prior to the pandemic are content working from home and seem to prefer it. HR reps agree, with 75% of respondents rating their WFH experience positively.
2. WFH Is a new option for many workers.
While most respondents (60%) said their preferred work setting on an average week prior to the pandemic is the office, more than half of them (55%) confirmed they were previously permitted to WFH and most do so one or more days per week or at least once per month or quarter. Almost half of the respondents (45%) were not allowed to WFH before the pandemic, which means these employees faced a much larger adjustment in the transition to WFH full-time than those who have WFH experience.
3. WFH has not reduced productivity.
Interestingly, office workers and HR reps agree that WFH does not negatively impact productivity with 74% of office workers saying they are just as productive while WFH, if not more so. At the same time, 77% of HR reps feel employees are just as productive while WFH, if not more so.
4. Employees and HR reps see collaboration differently.
HR reps are more optimistic about employee connectedness and collaboration than office workers. 69% of HR reps reported employees feel connected to their colleagues while only 54% of office workers confirmed they feel connected to their fellow employees. Similarly, 83% of HR reps said employees are able to easily collaborate while WFH and only 66% of office workers felt the same way.
5. Most employees still lack technical resources.
From a technology perspective, the large majority of respondents (81%) seemed to be relatively happy with 42% saying they are “somewhat satisfied” and 39% saying they are “very satisfied.”
However, the majority of respondents did confirm having access to additional technical resources would make them more productive while WFH, with only 14% saying they have everything they need.
6. Learning & Development (L&D) has taken a back seat.
While office workers and HR reps are satisfied with their organization’s L&D overall, the data shows more than a third (32%) of office workers are calling for more training. However, HR reps are not prioritizing L&D. “More access to virtual training/coaching” was the least selected non-technical resource companies have made available for remote employees.
Virtual Training Is an Essential Capability
Our research reveals that despite the rapid pivot to WFH, both office workers and organizations are satisfied with their experience during the pandemic. WFH seems to be working well for most and is expected to continue as part of our new normal. When asked about their organization’s WFH policies after the pandemic, more than half of HR reps (52%) confirmed their company will be more inclined to allow employees to work remotely.
But as WFH policies shift around the globe, one thing remains clear: In-person formal training as we know it is no longer possible, and it’s not going to be for a long time. Organizations must be agile and flexible to survive and thrive during these challenging times. It’s time for organizations to go above and beyond traditional learning practices, and give employees what they need to be successful—virtual training.
To be productive, organizations must supply the latest and most relevant content from trusted sources and efficient, low-friction ways to collaborate, share best practices, and brainstorm to resolve the challenges they face every day. Until organizations embrace learning at the employee’s moment of need, they will lack the tools and skills necessary to face the unforeseen challenges of a post-pandemic world.
Download the complete COVID-19 WFH report for in-depth findings and recommendations for making your workforce more productive while WFH.