In July over 2800 office staff, including those who have been predominately working from home, completed the survey relating to health and wellbeing during the pandemic, impacts of working from home, and views on future ways of working. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.
It's important that we capture your views to make sure that we continue to deliver our services effectively and build our learning to develop future ways of working.
A snap shot of the main responses is provided below, and you can read the full report here. [529kb]
Nearly 32% of all office staff with access to a computer responded to the survey which is higher than average for corporate surveys and is a representative sample for research purposes.
We asked you how you had been personally impacted as a result of during the pandemic and you told us that these areas were the most difficult to deal with:
Despite difficult circumstances there were also some positives as a result of the pandemic. Employees welcomed the ability to feel safe, be available to look after family and keep them safe too and many disabled and those managing long term ill health conditions found great advantages to working from home.
What staff said - positive impacts on health and wellbeing
"I suffer from a long-term health problem, the last year has been completely transformational for me and my ability to manage work without the demands of the office. I have more energy and I can concentrate better. Since March 2020, I have not needed to take any sickness absence time."
"I am an unpaid carer and used to take most of my leave to take a dependant to appointments, and I didn't realise how stressed I was, trying to juggle it all with a 2-hour commute. This year has helped my stress and anxiety levels immensely. I can focus on my work, and I have a wonderful line manager who is flexible around appointments. I am also able to go swimming before work in the morning and attend classes after work which I couldn't do before when working in the city, this has been immensely helpful for my mental health."
It's encouraging to know that the health and wellbeing support offered during the pandemic reached staff:
Remember,Workplace Options, our Employee Assistance Provider, can provide everyone with practical and emotional support with any of life's challenges including counselling services and mental health support. They can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
We asked you how you had adapted to working from home during the pandemic:
You also told us that you felt either more productive, or at least maintained the same productivity while working at home:
There has been an overall positive impact reported by respondents on the impact of working from home on their engagement and personal circumstances. Unexpectedly reduced costs and improved work life balance feature highest.
''Working from home has improved my work life balance dramatically by eliminating travel time from my day. This has allowed me to get more sleep and feel well rested throughout the work day. I feel this has benefitted my work progress throughout the day and reduced my stress levels and improved my mental health. With time saved from not having to commute back and forth I have had more time to exercise which has benefitted me both mentally and physically''
"Working from home has been a challenging and isolating experience, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic. I feel I've had to work harder and longer whilst working from home. I am too accessible to managers, with phone calls and meetings requested often past office hours. There needs to be more of an appreciation of staff mental health and the importance of taking breaks ensuring that staff take their lunchtimes and breaks throughout the day. It has been exceptionally hard to switch off in the evenings and during annual leave due to continued contact from colleagues and the lack of distinction between work and home life."
Your health and safety are important to us, no matter where you are working, it's encouraging to know that many of you have done the Display Screen Equipment Online Assessment and been supported at home:
A quarter to over a third of respondents had strong views on the need for effective and clear Health and safety practices to allow employees to feel confident with others in an office space.
Nearly 40% reported that it would be important to understand how to escalate matters that made them feel unsafe at work.
If you are returning to the work place, it's important that you take personal responsibility for understanding and adopting the behaviours and workplace guidance that will help to protect yourself and others, including:
For more information about health and safety in the workplace, check the protect yourself and others factsheet here.
You can also read the questions and answers about being in the office here.
Any issues should be reported to your line manager of the appropriate council service.
Employees also took the chance to express their wishes for more balance approach to the future ways of working, with multiple requests for hybrid working in the future.
When asked about how many days were needed in the office in the future, nearly 60% of respondents felt one to three days would meet the demands of their role in the office and still offer them the appropriate work life balance.