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Remote access means staff struggle to switch off, new study finds

Posted: 3 May 2017

From recalibrating the work-life balance to cutting down commute times, remote working is known to provide a whole host of benefits for workers. However, according to a new study by the CIPD and Halogen Software workers are struggling to switch off once it comes to the end of the day.

The survey saw some 2,000 employees interviewed and revealed a polarity in attitudes towards remote working. First, the good news. Almost one-third (30%) of respondents stated that remote working empowered them and an additional 50% felt that it gave them extra flexibility. Some 37% commented that it made them more productive.

Conversely, 40% of respondents reported that they checked their work mobile or emails five times or more per day outside of work hours. A further 18% said that they felt they were "under surveillance" while working from home and 17% thought it made them feel more anxious and even affects their sleep. This indicates that many people are still torn on whether the new employment trend is a positive or negative addition to their job.

Those who fared best were private-sector workers of whom 47% reported that they could always switch off from work. This figure stands at 35% and 29% for the public and voluntary sectors, respectively.

For CIPD associate research adviser Claire McCartney, the data suggests that employees need more guidance on remote working. "A lack of clarity and guidance for employees around remote working can cultivate an environment where some employees feel unable to physically or mentally switch off," she says.

"This can have adverse effects on employee wellbeing and their engagement with the organisation, as well as their productivity at work."

McCartney suggests that organisations that use remote working should ensure that their staff feel trusted and empowered by the system. "HR play a critical role in creating and influencing these cultures of trust, by engaging with employees and challenging some of the problem areas that exist," she adds.

At Stopgap, we endeavour to work alongside clients in order to match work culture with the most appropriate candidate. Why not get in touch with us today?

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