Six months later or how people adapt to remote work – Part III

PART 3

Welcome to the final part of our series of artiсles about remote work. The first one, dedicated to stories of our developers about work from home, is here, and the second one, outlining the influence of the lockdown on work in recruitment and HR management, you can find here.

In the final article, we will look at the results of our internal survey on remote work and compare the results of dou.ua and Lviv Business School surveys. It will help us to see the current tendencies and give information from two perspectives – time dynamics (spring vs. summer) and how the all-country situation differs from the local one.

According to the research of Lviv Business School (LvBS of UCU) and Clario (157 representatives of IT companies all over Ukraine),  76.64% of the respondents didn’t make any restrictions on hours or days per week, that employees can work from home, while 23.36% had some restrictions on the number of days of remote work per month.

62.14% of the respondents noted that remote work in their companies is allowed on request, 37.86% – only for certain reasons (family emergency, state of health, personal productivity, etc.).

Half of the respondents noted, that before the lockdown only 20% of their coworkers had seized the opportunity of remote work.

In Ukraine the quarantine is getting milder and more flexible – people begin going to the gyms, public transport appears on streets more and more often. Even people’s behavior has changed and became calmer since the beginning of the lockdown. That is one of the reasons why we wanted to know our colleagues’ attitudes to it, so at the end of July, we asked our employees in Chernivtsi and Uzhhorod offices a few questions concerning remote work. We received 91 responses, and here is the survey participants’ demographic:

Age:

20-25
26-30
31-35
36-40
41+

Sex:

Men
Women

Specialization:

Technical
Non-technical

We asked how our colleagues see the organization of work in the future. The diagram is clickable/live and you can compare with the answers from dou.ua:

Will return to office when it is necessary
When most of the team will return to office
Say that they will continue working from home
Will return to the office ASAP
Would like to work in the mixed mode
Would like to work in the mixed mode
Prefer to work from home
Don’t see any difference between work from home and at the office
+ SharpMinds survey
Will return to office when it is necessary
When most of the team will return to office
Say that they will continue working from home
Will return to the office ASAP
+ Dou.ua survey
Would like to work in the mixed mode
Would like to work in the mixed mode
Prefer to work from home
Don’t see any difference between work from home and at the office

Thus, we see that employees are not in a hurry to come back to offices, do it only when the need arises, and in the future would like to have a possibility to work from both, home and the office.

So, what do people like in work at home? The most popular answers among our colleagues were “saving time getting to work” (80.2%), “lower probability to get sick” (52.8%) and “having more free time” (37.4%).

Top 5 answers to this question coincide with the Dou.ua survey. (see live diagram)

No need to spend time getting to the office
Higher productivity at home
Less distracting at home
More free time
Feeling more comfortable at home than in the office
Lower possibility to get sick at home
Do not see the benefits of working from home
Other
No need to spend time getting to the office
It is less likely to get sick at home
More free time
Feeling more comfortable at home than in the office
Higher productivity at home
Fewer distractions when working at home, easier to concentrate on work
Do not see the benefits of working from home
Other
+ SharpMinds survey
No need to spend time getting to the office
Higher productivity at home
Less distracting at home
More free time
Feeling more comfortable at home than in the office
Lower possibility to get sick at home
Do not see the benefits of working from home
Other
+ Dou.ua survey
No need to spend time getting to the office
It is less likely to get sick at home
More free time
Feeling more comfortable at home than in the office
Higher productivity at home
Fewer distractions when working at home, easier to concentrate on work
Do not see the benefits of working from home
Other

Thus, we see that people value their time and safety the most, then go comfort and productivity.

What are the disadvantages of remote work? In our survey, people who don’t like working from home mention such disadvantages as “kids and relatives distract me” (45.1%), “not enough communication with colleagues” (40.1%), and “problems with Work-Life balance, over-timing at home” (35.2%). 36.3% of specialists say that they are totally satisfied with work from home. * According to the all-Ukrainian survey, the biggest disadvantages are “lack of communication with colleagues” (47%), over-timing (31%), “difficult to concentrate at home” (27%), “kids and relatives distract me” (26%), “don’t have a comfortable working place” (25%).  Compare in live diagram:

Happy with work at home
Lack of communication with colleagues
Poorly adjusted work processes
Working at home more hours than in the office, the problem with Work-Life balance
Difficult entering the workflow at home
Bad self-organization
Poorly organized workplace
Children / relatives distract me from work
Complicated tasks that can hardly be solved at remote work
Other
Lack of communication with colleagues
Working at home more hours than in the office
Difficult entering the workflow at home
Children / relatives distract me from work
No opportunity to set a comfortable working place
Problem with Work-Life balance
Happy with work at home
bad self-organization
Poorly adjusted work processes
Complicated tasks that can hardly be solved at remote work
Other
+ SharpMinds survey
Happy with work at home
Lack of communication with colleagues
Poorly adjusted work processes
Working at home more hours than in the office, the problem with Work-Life balance
Difficult entering the workflow at home
Bad self-organization
Poorly organized workplace
Children / relatives distract me from work
Complicated tasks that can hardly be solved at remote work
Other
+ Dou.ua survey
Lack of communication with colleagues
Working at home more hours than in the office
Difficult entering the workflow at home
Children / relatives distract me from work
No opportunity to set a comfortable working place
Problem with Work-Life balance
Happy with work at home
bad self-organization
Poorly adjusted work processes
Complicated tasks that can hardly be solved at remote work
Other

Thus, communication and concentration/distraction issues may become the biggest obstacles for productive workflow from home.

We also see that our colleagues are rather satisfied with the shift to remote work. But if people had a possibility to choose, they would prefer staying in the office (53.9%)

Were you satisfied with the shift to remote work?

  • Partly
  • Yes
  • No

We tried to dig deeper, to understand why people like or dislike working remotely and to understand the influence of these reasons on the workflow.

As the quarantine progressed, people have changed their attitude towards remote work:

Attitude towards remote work:

  • Didn’t change their mind
  • Changed for the better
  • Changed for the worse

Those, whose attitude to remote work improved, noted that their productivity made up 75-100% (22 out of 26 respondents or 84.5%).

Among those 9.8%, whose attitude to remote work worsened, only 22.2% had that level of productivity, while 44.4% of specialists declared 50-75%, and 33.3% of workers — 0-50%.

As we can see from our research, despite all dislikes and disadvantages, the productivity of work at home has remained at a high level:

Level of productivity on remote work:

  • 75-100%
  • 50-75%
  • 1-50%

A comfortable working place is one of the main prerequisites of productive work from home. The biggest part of our employees (76.9%) mentioned that they have a comfortable working place at home, a small number of employees don’t have or are still looking for it (6.6% and 5.5% respectively), and a small group (11%) has already returned to the office.

As we may have seen earlier, communication with teammates is an important part of work. So, to what extent do people lack it and contribute to it? More than a half of employees (53.9%) says that they miss communication as it used to be in the office, a minor part (8.8%) says that miss it to some extent, and slightly more than one-third of employees (37.4%) don’t miss it.

At the same time, nearly the same number of employees stay in touch with colleagues to some extent (29.6%), stay in touch less than did it in the office (26.4%), and continue closely communicating with colleagues (25.3%). The smaller group of employees (18.7%) don’t keep in touch with colleagues more than it is necessary for work.

We also asked our coworkers to describe work during the quarantine in 3 words. The answers may be divided into the following groups: Comfort, Productivity, Things are bad, Boredom/monotony, Lack of communication, Schedule/self-organization, Family, and Tiredness of the pandemic. This list shows that people’s associations/feelings towards it differ and reflect both, positive and negative aspects.

Among the most frequent problems (according to LvBS research) that companies face during remote work are: unstable internet connection, demotivation as a result of lowered social interaction/networking, productivity decrease, and various distractions.

89.25% of the respondents noted that productivity was not affected during long-term remote work. After the lockdown, 69.89% of the respondents are going to change their approach to remote work in their companies. Remote work is a part of a benefit-package at 63.44% companies.

Thus, conclusions may be the following: when deciding where to work – at home or in the office, people will choose the place, where they feel the most productive and safe. Very important factors that influence productivity are a comfortable working place, enough communication within the team, and clear working hours. Enabling these conditions during remote work is a vital requirement for the management of companies.

Though remote work is not a novelty for the IT industry, it is impossible not to notice the increasing popularity of remote work as an upcoming trend for the industry. As we can see from the surveys, people are getting used to this working mode, show high productivity, and as they realized some advantages of it they don’t mind working from home for a couple of days or weeks.

We hope our article helps you understand IT-specialsits’ need while working in the remote mode better. Thus, you can make your company policy meet/comply with the challenges of the market and the current situation in the world.

Which mode of work do you prefer? Leave us a comment/an emoji to this post in social networks (+ FB and Linkedin links )

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