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13 July 2021

Deloitte research shows ‘challenging’ time for young workers at home as office return draws nearer

A recent research report conducted by CB1 tenant Deloitte reveals that less than a quarter of UK workers (23%) want to work from home permanently, with 39% saying it is hard to stay motivated. 34% also find it difficult to maintain a work life balance and 33% feel isolated or lonely.

Connection to people is among the many reasons for favouring a return to the office, along with spontaneous and in-person interaction.

Deloitte surveyed 1,248 UK workers aged between 16 and 75 to reveal attitudes towards future working habits and confidence in digital skills.

Will Gosling, human capital consulting leader at Deloitte, said:

“[The pandemic] isn’t the end for the UK’s workplaces.

“Many companies will invest in revamping their spaces in the coming months to encourage teams to work creatively and collaboratively when they do venture into their workplace. Desks will be replaced with meeting rooms and training spaces, creating a vibrant hub for collaboration and skills training.”

The biggest tech issues being met by employees working from home are ones that impact productivity: unreliable internet connections, low-quality video calls, software program glitches and uncomfortable workstations, which are disproportionately affecting younger people.

Amongst those who stand to benefit most from a return to the office are younger workers who, according to the report’s findings, are struggling to work from home due to experiencing regular problems with technology.

More than half (58%) of employees aged under 35 doing their jobs from home say they are finding it ‘challenging’, – greater than the average of 44% for all home workers.

London-based tech developer Studio Graphene commissioned a survey of over 900 UK workers which backs up the research showing that the younger generation are struggling while working from home. 28% of millennials experienced regular problems with technology, while 30% faced daily issues with their internet connection, compared to only 12% of over 55-year-olds faced these same problems. This suggests that younger workers do not have the facilities to work from home as effectively as their older colleagues.

Studio Graphene’s study also showed that one third of millennials experienced physical aches and pains while working from home, due to not being able to have a suitable workstation.

Further research has drawn similar conclusions. A survey by workplace researcher Leesman found that 72% of under-25s do not have a dedicated room to work from at home and struggled to connect with colleagues, making employees in their twenties and early thirties the ones with most desire to return to the office.

In response to the digital divide between younger and older workers, Anne-Marie Malley, UK consulting leader at Deloitte, commented:

“It is concerning that a significant number of younger workers are struggling while working from home.

“Digital platforms and tools have acted as a bedrock for business continuity throughout lockdown and investment in new technologies will continue to bolster business recovery post-COVID. For this investment to be successful, digital skills training for all ages must be prioritised.”

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