From the middle of March this year, 2i moved to a remote working model, not from choice but from necessity in the face of COVID-19. In order to understand what our people are going through with this adaption to a new way of working, we asked our employees a series of questions based on three key areas that affect remote workers - one of them being remote lifestyle.
So what are the benefits and challenges that come along with this flexibility, and what will help us to be successful while working remotely in the midst of a pandemic?
Question 1: What's your favourite part about remote working?
Unsurprisingly, the most common answer for this question was the absence of a commute into the office. Without having to spend time sitting in traffic or jostle through the crowds at the train station, people have more time to get things done, both inside and outside of work.
Flexibility was another popular choice amongst the 2i team, with just under a quarter of responses stating this as their favourite aspect about the remote working set up.
Question 2: What were the most challenging and surprising things when you first started?
Like all things in life, embarking on something new takes time to adjust to and it can take a little bit of time to get in the swing of things. For our staff, adapting to the new routine and environment of remote working was the biggest challenge they faced when they first embarked on remote working. Amongst other things, getting the work / life balance right was another common challenge, along with ensuring they had the right equipment and technology to be able to work from home without issue.
However, with 19% not having any challenges when we first shifted to remote working, it does show that the procedures we had in place to make the transition as smooth as possible were effective.
Question 3: What’s most challenging for you?
Similar to the previous question, a large number of the 2i team have continued to work remotely without any challenges. However for others, the biggest impact of remote working has been the lack of social / human interaction that you get when you work in an office.
Other common challenges faced include time management and having to work around childcare issues.
Question 4: What challenges do you feel you have compared with being in an office environment?
When comparing remote working to an office environment, the biggest challenge was all around interaction, whether that be the social / human interaction you get on a day to day basis, or communicating about work and ongoing projects.
Question 5: What’s the most important thing that will help you to be successful while working remotely?
It was unsurprising to see children returning to school appear as the most common answer to this question, given childcare was a common challenge some of our 2i team have faced working from home. Other common answers include managing time effectively as well as having the right technology in place to make working from home the new 'business as usual'.
Overall, the experiences of our people have undoubtedly been challenged by the Coronavirus pandemic, yet the strong workforce of 2i have succeeded in the face of these adversities. The data provides clear evidence of the benefits for remote working and the productivity advantages this reality brings. Working remotely is no longer a choice, it is a way of life and this survey is just the beginning for 2i.