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UK workforce finds happiness in ability to work from anywhere

Study finds 44% of UK workers consider the ability to work remotely as a driver of happiness and 61% would support government policies aimed at the widespread adoption of ‘hybrid’ working practices

While UK shops, bars and restaurants begin to deal with customers on their premises again as the UK eases lockdown, the office is the next environment expected to see a return to something approaching normal – but a study from Avaya has indicated that UK workers may not have any great desire to make the great return.

In its study Life and work beyond 2020, Avaya attempted to take the emotional pulse of the nation as it moves beyond the pandemic. The research was conducted by Davies Hickman Partners, and was part of a global exercise that polled 10,000 consumers and workers in 11 countries to discover the impacts of Covid-19 on consumer wellbeing and values as the world embraces a new world of work.

A key finding was that 46% of UK employees said they loved the idea of being able to work from anywhere in the future, while only 10% strongly disliked the concept. This means a key requirement for business success in 2021 and beyond will be building a hybrid model of work that suits the needs of every employee.

The research found that workers in the UK are among the most appreciative of work-from-anywhere models, with 44% saying that the ability to conduct hybrid work – from a home or office – would contribute to their happiness and almost three-fifths (57%) saying they have felt happier over the past year as a result of working from home.

The study also revealed some of the biggest concerns for UK workers as they have been navigating the new world of work and look to what the future will bring. One-third are worried about having to go back to meeting people within their work environment and the study revealed a strong motivation to address employee concerns like these, as 73% of UK workers say their productivity improves when they are happy.

The survey also revealed that over half of UK workers (55%) feel they have the right technology to work from wherever they want. However, the UK has some catching-up to do as it trails in sixth place behind India, where 73% considered themselves to be equipped for remote working, as did 64% in the UAE and 62% in the US.

A further 45% cited frustration when their employer did not use technology that would make them more productive. This rose to 61% for those with a partner and children at home.

The findings from the study highlighted the need for employers to provide clear guidance on what their future of work might look like, which is understandable and necessary after a turbulent and uncertain year, said Steve Joyner, managing director UK & Ireland at Avaya. “We all know that a happy employee is a productive one and technology, where it’s needed to support an employee to do their tasks well, is critical,” he said.

“Today’s home office is a mishmash of various technologies and employees are trying to do the best they can with the communication tools available to them – but bear in mind that often these aren’t as efficient as what they had in the office.

“I would encourage employers to move toward what we call a more ‘composable’ technology architecture, delivering a set of communication components that can be easily leveraged and combined to deliver more effective employee experience, even when working outside the business office.”

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