What do Workers Miss, and How Can Companies Respond?
MCLEAN, Va. – With major companies shifting to long-term work from home policies, the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign has published new insights around what U.S. workers are finding hardest to adapt to in their new working environment. To help companies respond to the evolving needs of employees, the campaign’s survey of 1,000 Americans revealed the top ten things workers miss most about the office including three major components of normal working life: resources, routine and in-person interaction.
The office components employees miss most include physical, digital and analog tools they often lack at home. Respondents reported missing their desk and chair, as well as technical set-ups (e.g. a monitor), and the ability to print documents rather than just looking at a screen. In fact, according to the campaign’s earlier Workplace Productivity Report, 96% of professionals prefer to work with hard copies over digital versions of the same information, especially for high focus tasks. Now, many are going without.
“It’s clear that work from home policies are far from a short term shift, and companies must begin to respond to employee needs in a more formal capacity,” said productivity expert Holland Haiis. “It’s not just about having a laptop and a cell phone; companies need to consider how they’ll provide ergonomically suitable desks and chairs, and the analog tools that keep us focused and engaged. Employees aren’t used to being glued to a screen all day; notebooks, printers, planners, sticky notes–these really are essentials.”
Workers also reported missing their daily office routines. Elements like lunch breaks and even commutes offer daily rituals that create a much-needed sense of normalcy, as well as built-in breaks, which are essential to productivity and well-being. “I think a lot of folks feel they have to work at full capacity all the time, or they’ll be labeled as slacking off and not upholding their obligations,” said Haiis. “It’s important for leadership to communicate that breaks are not just ‘allowed,’ but encouraged to avoid burnout.”
Interaction with managers and coworkers featured high on the list, and it’s no surprise. Humans are social by nature, and virtual interactions just aren’t the same as in person collaboration. “Think outside the box. Can you create virtual interactions that connect employees who don’t normally work together?” recommended Haiis. “Seeing new faces helps create a bigger sense of community, collaboration, and provides the organic interactions workers crave.”
View the full survey, and head to www.HowLifeUnfolds.com for tips on how to stay productive from home.