During the COVID-19 pandemic, both loyalty and appreciation of line managers have risen.
This was discovered by Bright Horizons, the nursery and work+family employer solutions provider which found that 81 per cent of employees believe their line manager has been supportive and understanding during the lockdown. As well as 76 per cent of workers agreeing that they have been treated fairly by their line manager and 75 per cent stating that their organisation has been managed well during the crisis.
It was also found that working parents seem to have embraced remote working, as only 13 per cent wish to go back to full-time working in the office. Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) hold the opinion that their employer will be more open to remote or flexible working following the spread of COVID-19. The research states that such video conferencing tools like Zoom have kept numerous businesses operational as offices have closed.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of employees are considering asking for more remote or agile working post-COVID. Also, 55 per cent would prefer not to spend more than three days in their office, with the rest of the days spent working at home.
More than three-quarters (79 per cent) think that flexible working would have a positive impact on both their own and employer’s life, with 53 per cent saying that flexibility would increase their productivity and 58 per cent believe this would increase their loyalty to the company.
Still, 78 per cent of staff do miss regular face-to-face interactions with their colleagues.
One issue that does arise with remote working at the moment is working parents finding it increasingly difficult to manage both their work duties and looking after their children. As schools are not open for every year group, 70 per cent want more support from their employer, 64 per cent desire backup care for family care emergencies and 44 per cent say they want coaching so they can be better prepared for both planning and management of work and family.
One working parent told Bright Horizons:
I will actually enjoy my work from home when the nurseries reopen.
However, 54 per cent said they were “happy and cheerful” during this period of lockdown and 52 per cent are sleeping well.
It does appear that both parents being at home has made the division of labour more equal, as both are now doing more of an equal amount of parenting at home.
One mother told Bright Horizons:
The children now shout ‘Dad’ as much as ‘Mum.
Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions, said:
Our findings show that most line managers and businesses have really stepped up to the plate to help their staff find ways of balancing the demands of family and work during lockdown. And businesses are reaping the reward, with 47 per cent of employees saying that loyalty to their employers has increased during lockdown.
A whole generation of ‘manager-heroes’ seems to be emerging from this crisis. Their achievements in holding organisations together at a difficult time should be recognised – but our survey shows they need nurturing too, because like their staff many are under enormous pressure.
So much has changed. On the positive side, bosses and employees have now seen each others’ children, dogs, laundry and kitchen tables at meetings. No family-related topic of conversation is off the table any more, or even off-camera. Most working parents now believe that they could work productively from home at least two days a week – and most believe their employers may think so too.
This could be a pivotal moment in determining how jobs work in future. But companies and organisations need to seize the moment by ensuring that jobs are as flexible and human-sized as possible in future.
They and their employees have discovered that it’s possible to work well remotely. The challenge now is to lock in those gains while also combating the ‘always-on’ culture and ensuring staff have healthy family lives too.
The Pandemic spirit has carried us this far, but in the longer term, working parents also need support with childcare, and they need to feel they can switch off sometimes. That kind of support is especially crucial to ensure that working mothers, in particular, are not unfairly disadvantaged.
This research is based on a survey of 1,500 working parents during May and June conducted by Bright Horizons with the assistance of Workingdads.co.uk, Families Magazine and Dads.info.