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Survey: How Remote Work Has Impacted Enterprise Employees

In some cases, perhaps technology workers are feeling the pinch from working at home more than others.

That was just one of the findings from a recent Unify Square survey. The study was designed to determine how enterprise employees feel about workplace collaboration and communication in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Interestingly, when looking at the success of workplace collaboration and communication, the findings appear to demonstrate a mixed bag. Here are the top five findings from “Uncovering New Unified Communication and Collaboration Platform Insights for 2021.”

1. Tech workers are more stressed than others

Stress levels for employees are higher in every industry as they work through the pandemic. However, 61 percent of technology workers and 63 percent of C-level employees said their stress levels have risen since they began working remotely. On the other hand, only 34 percent of entry-level employees reported a rise in stress levels.

According to the respondents, personal challenges that come from working at home are causing stress. These include missing the routine of the office, a lack of in-person collaboration with colleagues, distractions at home, and balancing personal and work duties.

2. Security has been lacking

More than 65 percent of owners, C-levels, and executives said their organization had experienced security incidents related to collaboration or communications. It’s a number that would come as a surprise to most entry-level employees. Eight-three percent of those respondents said they didn’t believe their company was at risk.

Despite this, only about half of enterprises have implemented heightened governance and security prevention for collaboration applications since their workers moved to working remotely.

Scott Gode, chief marketing officer, Unify Square, commented:

"Even prior to the sudden departure from traditional workspaces, enterprises across the globe were being faced with countless disruptions and concerns regarding governance and security, for collaboration platforms. The need for specialized third-party software, coupled with innovative professional services is more crucial than ever before to help highlight blind spots, and implement and enforce policies to minimize data loss risk."

3. Home offices leave employees wanting

Distractions appear to be rampant for those working from home.

Interference from pets (48%), someone walking through the background (33%), gardeners/contractors making noise (27%), children making surprise guest appearances (26%), deliveries making noise (26%), power outages (24%), noisy neighbors (21%), and cleaning service vacuuming or cleaning around your workspace (9%) were all noted as culprits for distractions while on a conference call.

Nearly a quarter of respondents ages 65 or older said they took conference calls from odd locations when the home office wasn’t working out. Locations included the closet, the car, on a boat, in a store, children’s sporting events and the bathroom.

4. Not everyone agrees on productivity levels

Whether remote work is productive or not seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

Nearly half of tech workers believe that standards for productivity are higher at their company since they began working from home.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of owners, executives and C-level leadership said they believe collaboration with teammates has become much more efficient since moving to a remote model, while only 11 percent of senior management agree.

Despite this, 44 percent of employees said their organization has not taken any steps to help facilitate teamwork in a remote environment.

5. Employers aren’t keen to front the bill

While Zoom has become the go-to method for enabling remote work, it seems most companies aren’t willing to pay for the service.

Seventy-two percent of companies rolled out at least one new collaboration application since COVID-19 began forcing people to work from home. More than 50 percent of them are using Zoom, while Microsoft Teams trails behind at 43 percent.

However, more than half of enterprise IT and security workers said they had to buy new equipment or hardware like a monitor, headset or webcam to facilitate their work-from-home setup. However, only 12 percent said their employer helped with the cost or paid to set up the home office.

Meanwhile, 42 percent of those employees aged 18 to 24 said it took about a month to get their home office set up to a decent quality. However, 40 percent of those 55 and older said it worked from day one. This “is a surprising comparison from their tech-savvy younger peers who would be expected to have less difficulty with their setup right off the bat,” wrote the studies' authors.

The authors surveyed workers in a variety of industries including technology, consumer, healthcare, education, finance, manufacturing, legal, transportation, insurance, and more.