A new survey investigates how remote working has affected the careers of those aged under 30 and their anxieties surrounding this new mode of working. 

Research conducted by Sharp, a company which designs and manufactures electronic equipment for office use, has found that the move to remote working is causing significant concern amongst office workers, especially for those aged under 30.

When surveyed, over half (51 per cent) of workers across Europe expressed anxiety around issues such as a lack of training and opportunities and keeping their skills up to date. This ultimately indicates the impact of remote working on learning and development as many young people feel cut off from routes to upskilling.

However, this is not the only area in which young employees felt held back. Almost two-thirds of this group (61 per cent) said that remote working made it more difficult to stay informed on what was happening within their company. Additionally, over half (55 per cent) felt isolated from their team, suggesting communication has been significantly impacted.

A similar number confessed that they found it hard to stay motivated whilst a further quarter of respondents (24 per cent) felt concerned about keeping a team motivated remotely.

However, this demographic also expressed positive feelings towards remote working. Over half (51 per cent) of young workers felt more productive as a result of remote working whilst almost two-thirds (63 per cent) felt that this shift to working from home allowed them to complete their job more effectively.

When asked about what their experiences during lockdown taught them, 63 per cent of workers aged under 30 felt that the opportunities for upskilling had become more important to them. As a result, four in 10 workers (41 per cent) expressed that, despite working remotely, employers should still be offering employees the opportunity to learn new skills through online training or companywide workshops.

After analysing the responses of this survey, a workplace expert warned that this demographic appear to be missing out on core skills needed for career progression as a result of working remotely, which could lead to a career lockdown.

Viola Kraus, future of work organizational psychologist, said:

There is a growing trend that the youngest generation of workers, as ‘digital natives’ who know how to use tech, can be left to their own devices, to figure it out alone.

This generation not only need to be taught the skills to get the best from technology, but need to be taught general business skills to progress in their job. These young workers’ fears for career development likely stem from a lack of connection and direction from their team and senior colleagues while working remotely, so it’s important to ensure that while we continue to work virtually, employers provide guidance and a formalised platform where peer-to-peer learning is encouraged, and eventually it happens naturally.

Rob Davis, Solutions & Services Business Manager at Sharp, said:

There is a clear concern from younger people in our workforce for long-lasting impact of the pandemic on their career development. As businesses plan for the future of work, it’s important to make sure the fundamentals of work that are key to career development aren’t left behind for the ‘digitally savvy’ generation, and ensure technology is used to support this learning and collaboration as the way we work continues to change.

*These results were obtained through research conducted by Censuswide for Sharp. 6,018 office workers in SMBs (10-250 employees) in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Poland were surveyed.