Lockdown 2.0 Survey Results
The November National Lockdown was never going to be easy for businesses, whether they were able to stay open, having to close, work from home or a bit of everything. So, we launched a survey to find out how Northamptonshire businesses were handling the second lockdown. We emailed a selection of organisations from a range of industries and sizes, and received an interesting set of answers.
The questions we asked were:
- Are you working from home because of the latest national lockdown?
- Are your employees/teams working from home?
- Has your business been affected by suppliers/clients or other businesses you deal with?
- If you can work from home, do you enjoy working from home more than working in an office?
- Has your clients/suppliers working from home affected your business?
- Did you feel that you had more or less time to prepare for people working from home, than at the beginning of the first lockdown?
- Thinking about any "home office" set-up you have. Are you better equipped to work from home than during the first lockdown?
- If you are working from home, are you still working to your regular 'office hours'?
- Thinking about your mental health. Do you feel more mentally resilient and aware of your emotional health during this lockdown, compared to the first?
- What ‘corona virus-instigated changes’ would you happily keep in your working arrangements in the future?
- What, business-wise, has been the biggest challenge this latest lockdown has presented you with?
60% of respondents to the survey are working from home because of the latest national lockdown. We were specific because we thought it was important for respondents to clarify whether they were still working from home because of the first lockdown (of which 10% were) or had returned to work at their work location for a few weeks before the second lockdown began. For 20%, they have the flexibility of working from home or in their normal workplace, but 10% simply cannot work from home. This gives insight into the nature of the respondents work i.e., that the majority are able to work remotely using technology, as opposed to needing to be present physically in their workplace to do their job. We’re also seeing that the majority of respondents' teams/employees are working from home, or are at least able to do a bit of both.
We were predicting that most of the respondents would say that they’ve had a decrease in workload/business levels but were pleasantly surprised to see that most have either stayed the same or experienced an increase. Although this puts extra pressure on these businesses, it is a positive outcome. Similarly, it is good to see that 70% of respondents feel that clients/suppliers working from home hasn’t adversely affected their business. This tells us that companies are getting better at transitioning and adapting to different working environments or restrictions, than perhaps they were at the beginning of the first lockdown.
We wanted to understand if people enjoy working from home and we anticipated most respondents saying they preferred it. Surprisingly, half said they actually prefer working in the office, with 20% saying they are ambivalent. The majority of respondents said they had less time to prepare for the lockdown this time around, which is also contrary to our prediction and our experience as a company. However, no-one felt that they were better prepared in the first lockdown. This makes sense as, even though many will have had less time to prepare this time around, one would expect the equipment and set-up to still be available and ‘lessons learned’ could still be implemented. For example, buying an office chair for the home set-up, instead of using a dining room chair. We weren’t surprised to see most people are working more flexible hours when working from home, and some are working longer hours, and although that can feel productive, the advice is that it is much healthier to stick to your office hours when you're working from home. As we found, some people are sticking to regular business hours, but it’s not easy. Perhaps they benefitted from some of the tips in this Lessons We Learnt article.
Our survey asked for respondents to think about their mental health and whether they feel more resilient and aware of their emotional health during the second lockdown compared to the first. We found that 80% of the respondents feel they are more aware and careful regarding their mental resilience and emotional health, with the remaining 20% answering that they do not feel like there is a difference between this time and the first lockdown. This is a good result because even though the respondents answered in a variety of different ways on the other questions (such as about working differently, better workspaces, their business levels), most of the respondents seem to feel like they've got a good handle on their mental resilience- arguably one of the most important ways of looking after yourself when working from home.
We were interested in what changes in working arrangements respondents would happily keep in the future and, as you can see from the answers given, a lot of people mentioned flexibility and mixing work and life balance better. Someone said “implementing regular mental health chats with their team” which, considering how more and more businesses are understanding that mental health plays such an important part in the wellbeing of employees, is a really valuable point. Challenges wise, it has been interesting to read the notes people have left about their biggest challenge seeming to be about continuing to do business. For example, travelling, booking accommodation, communication, still delivering services and growing the business; which are ultimately positive challenges to have if it means that your business is still going and you are in a position to try and grow. It was positive to observe that, with our respondents, the biggest challenges haven't been making lots of staff redundant or closing down their business, as we hear many companies are experiencing. So, although these challenges have probably presented a number of obstacles to overcome, it's pleasant to see positive challenges coming from this terrible situation. No doubt these businesses will come out of these times stronger than ever before.
Anyone or any organisation whose challenges have been far more negative though- perhaps experiencing redundancies, closures or other issues- we'd urge to reach out to us, to see if we can help in anyway. Whatever challenges we face (and 2020 has thrown many our way!), we pride ourselves on continuing to work to Impact’s core values. We all want to come out of this stronger, let alone wiser, and you can trust our team to work with integrity and respect, to deliver innovative solutions in partnership with your company.
Thank-you to everyone who took part in this survey, we hope everyone finds the results interesting and useful, if only to know that you’re not alone in your experiences!