A nationwide study from location-agnostic technology PR consultancy Tyto has revealed that only 14% of UK office workers have been mandated to work from home full-time by their employers during the coronavirus outbreak, despite over half (52%) of them expressing a preference to do so.
The research, which polled 1,000 office workers across the country, has exposed a significant disparity between the concrete action taken by employers in the midst of the outbreak, and employee desire for measures to be taken swiftly.
Of those polled, only just over one third (37%) of respondents believe their employers are ready for compulsory home working. Less than half (41%) of employees are confident that their employer has the technology infrastructure in place to enable them to work productively and securely from home.
Almost half of office workers (44%) are still expected to work from the office as normal, with less than one fifth (18%) having the flexibility to work from home voluntarily as things stand.
Awareness of employers’ plans is also still very low, with just over one quarter (27%) of office workers having been fully briefed on their company’s home working plan (should the change be mandated by the government) and 40% having not been briefed whatsoever.
In response to these findings, Tyto Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Brendon Craigie said: “It isn’t surprising employers are playing catch-up given the extraordinary circumstances, but it is unfortunate given the feelings of employees. The technology now exists to seamlessly enable home working and organisations that operate entirely remote models can be as productive and secure as those working in a traditional office set-up.
“Employers with engaged workforces shouldn’t have any concerns about empowering their teams to work from home full-time during the coronavirus outbreak. Establishing a clear action plan for home working with immediate effect should be priority number one to ensure employees concerns are taken seriously and disruption to work productivity is minimised.
“Ultimately, we might see this scenario act as a catalyst for employers to allow more flexible working in future, given they’ll have adapted their capabilities to enable this now.”
Commenting on employer’s IT readiness, security expert and CEO of secure collaboration platform Wire, Morten Brøgger said: “The coronavirus epidemic is surely set to be one the biggest experiments in remote working history – and companies need to be prepared for the technology and security implications associated with employees working from various locations.
“In truth, for companies of any scale, it’s not about just being prepared for a global pandemic, it’s about being prepared for the future, especially given that more than 50% of the workforce already work outside company premises on a weekly basis.
“Cybercrime is already projected to cost the global economy $6 trillion a year by 2021, so the fact that only 41% of UK office workers are confident in the security of their employer’s technology infrastructure is concerning.”