New research has shown that women in the UK are reporting lower happiness and motivation levels than their male counterparts when working from home.

A new report by Ring Central, a cloud-based communications provider, highlights the disparity between men and women’s experiences when working from home.

The research showed that only around a third of UK women (36 per cent) reported feeling happy whilst remote working while, for men, this figure was slightly higher at 43 per cent. Additionally, motivation levels were also higher for male employees with just under half of men reporting high motivation levels when working from home (44 per cent) in comparison to only under a third of women (32 per cent).

The report suggests that the reason for the difference in mood lies with the working from home set-up. Almost half of all male employees reported that they had a dedicated office space within their home for remote working which has a closed door. However, only just over a third of women (34 per cent) stated that they had this same set-up.

The report urges employers to ensure women are supported with initiatives that promote health and wellbeing in order to lessen the gap between men and women’s motivation and happiness levels.

In addition, the research also found that a critical way for improving the level of wellbeing and motivation for all employees was through creating a “connected culture”. Connected cultures are created by companies who not only embrace technology but additionally encourage and support a healthy work-life balance. They also create opportunities for employees to engage with one another, even during times of remote working.

When observing global data, over half of staff (55 per cent) who work at companies that harbour a connected culture reported better emotional wellbeing. However, less than half of employees (48 per cent) who are employed at companies that do not prioritise connected culture experienced good emotional wellbeing.

Over a third of workers (34 per cent) who worked at companies with a connected culture felt more productive when working from home. This was more than double the number of workers who felt this way at companies who do not have a connected culture (15 per cent).

Of the employees who reported feeling more productive when working from home, over seven in 10 of them said that they felt more connected to their colleagues than before the pandemic. This demonstrates a direct correlation between feeling connected, being productive when working from home and better emotional wellbeing.

The research shows that this level of connection is possible to achieve during COVID-19 and remote working. Employees cited feeling most connected through frequent employee communications (50 per cent), enhanced collaboration tools (26 per cent), virtual happy hours (24 per cent), chats with colleagues (22 per cent) and group video games (15 per cent).

Steve Rafferty, Country Manager for RingCentral UK&I, said:

Since the pandemic hit the UK last March, forcing the nation into their homes, we have seen the debate over productivity while working remotely rage on. While some leaders have branded it ‘bad for business’, the results of this study show that an employee’s level of productivity is highly dependent on how far a company has gone to build a culture of connection – despite being separated physically.

Sadly, this also means that for companies that were not ready for remote working before March, and have done very little to adapt subsequently, employee productivity and wellbeing will almost certainly have suffered as a result. As remote working looks to continue, businesses must stop resisting change and make the move to digital – bringing what made the company great offline, online through technology and social behaviour.

*This research was taken from Ring Central’s ‘Connected Culture’ report, published in November 2020, which surveyed 4,000 office workers in a COVID-19 remote working environment. 1,000 of these workers worked in the UK.