A new UK survey has revealed that half of Manchester’s workforce believe their mental health is better when working from home.
The study, commissioned by free conference call providers, WHYPAY?, shows that 50% of Manchester employees would like to have some level of remote working offered long-term, and a quarter would even choose to take a pay cut to work from home permanently.
But why does the city seem to be so content with this culture of remote working?
Workers are more productive
According to the survey findings, 55% of respondents admit that they get far more work done when working from home.
Supporting this claim, Elliot Green, Chief Marketing Officer at WHYPAY?, said: “What we’re seeing is a shift in mindset as many employees realise they can work just as well, if not more effectively, from home. With the right communication technology, remote staff can connect and collaborate very successfully.”
Mr Green however highlighted that increased productivity levels may not always be beneficial to the employee, and companies therefore need to have safeguarding policies in place.
“With no clearly defined start and end of the working day, employees can find themselves never switching off, increasing their anxiety and stress levels. There is a real opportunity for businesses to improve the mental health and productivity of their teams with well structured remote working policies – but these must be thought through and tailored to the needs of the business and individual staff”, he added.
Employees seem to be happier
A striking find from WHYPAY?’s survey is that some Manchester employees have even found themselves to be feeling more cheery as a result of remote working.
The data reveals that 25% now feel that they are “all-round happier” people, and 25% also feel more energised to work as there is no daily commute.
“The fact that there is so much scary stuff happening in the world that we have no control over, can make us feel overwhelmed and powerless. Being snuggled up at home in our little bubbles helps to make us feel safer. But, going back out into the world feels scarier than it did before”, says Nadia, Founder of Shy and Mighty.
“The constant sense of uncertainty and the feeling of being out of control has had an impact on our mental health. We’re living in a heightened state of anxiety, with every news update adding to our jitters”, she added.
Speaking about how the pandemic seems to have affected the mental wellbeing of male workers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, Lee Chambers, said:
“While adapting, many men have benefited from improved mental health even in the face of a global pandemic and the underlying anxiety. Increased autonomy, increased family time, more flexibility with lifestyle and self-care, and more time to slow down and reflect have increased men’s clarity on what is most important to them.”
A general change in the view of work
There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on people’s views of the conventional ways of working. In relation to Manchester’s workforce, this very much seems to be the case.
WHYPAY’s data highlights that 51% of the city’s employees admit that their views of their current job have changed as a result of working from home. In addition, 1 in 5 Manchester workers would consider changing their current job to one that offers remote working going forward.
A remote future?
With a second UK lockdown approaching this week and the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole, it seems that these assertions and figures only validate the Government’s ongoing call to work from home.
As a result of all of this, one question does spring to mind – will the traditional 9 to 5 office lifestyle now become a thing of the past?
Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology website Psychreg, said: “COVID-19 has changed the world. One of the biggest day-to-day changes is that thousands of businesses had to close their doors and learn how to work from home.”
“But now we’ve experienced this way of life, we might not ever go back to the traditional office as we know it. Some data has uncovered that many people prefer working at home, indicating that the future may be remote. To better support individuals, we also have to take into account what WHYPAY statistics has revealed.”