Scott Petty, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer

New research* from @VodafoneUK has proven just how much we value time spent with colleagues with over forty percent of workers claiming they miss office banter (41%) and spending time with their workmates (40%) the most as working from home becomes the new norm.

As well as our working routines changing, so too have the demands on the tech we rely on, with almost half (44%) unsurprisingly claiming that home broadband is the most valuable piece of tech used while working from home. One-third (33%) find the likes of Slack & Skype the most useful applications to use to help keep them in touch whilst working remotely. Video conference calling (29%), audio conferencing calling (22%) and streaming services (20%) are amongst the other most treasured apps that respondents value as they fight to adapt to a new kind of normal.

Under the new restrictions enforced by the government, most Brits have experienced a dramatic change in their working environment and daily routine. Over one third (35%) of those surveyed said they miss having the company that colleagues bring and bouncing ideas off one another (30%). Nearly one-fifth (19%) miss the grown-up conversation that working in an office environment brings.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. 51% of Brits say the most valuable thing to come out of working from home is the extra time they are claiming back because of not having to commute. One-third (37%) say they are enjoy lying inand being able to spend more time with their pets (20%).

Scott Petty, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer said:

“In these turbulent times we’re proud to offer a range of services that can keep people connected with colleagues and help them adapt to new ways of working with as minimal disruption as possible.   As well as ensuring our network stands up so people’s home broadband and mobile phones work efficiently, we will continue to offer insight and advice on how consumers can do their bit. Small things like avoiding scheduling conference calls on the hour or half past the hour will make a huge difference in helping us continue to work smoothly and productively from home.  Together we can get through these uncertain times and keep the UK running.”

Despite 61% of UK workers claiming they are just as productive working from home, over one quarter (27%)  worry about their boss, clients and colleagues thinking they’re not working, followed by other concerns that they may miss meetings and deadlines (13%). Thankfully, one thing Brits have not had to worry about are tech issues, with over four-fifths (88%) of respondents claiming they have not experienced any tech-related problems since the governments working from home order was enforced.

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The findings also revealed that almost one third (29%) of Brit’s bank balances are benefiting from them working from home with money being saved rather than splurged on coffee or buying lunches every day. Instead, 17% are using the time to make lunches that are more interesting.

Top 10 things we miss about the office

  1. Work banter (41%)
  2. Colleagues (40%)
  3. Having company around me (35%)
  4. Routine (32%)
  5. Bouncing ideas off each other (30%)
  6. The office buzz to motivate me (22%)
  7. Collaborating with others (21%)
  8. Learning from others & grown up conversation (17%)
  9. The commute (9%)
  10. Watercooler gossip (8%)

Top tips to keep you connected whilst working from home

1. Celebrate the big and small

41% of UK workers say they are struggling to stay motivated when working from home, which could be down to missing the morale from being around team members. Consider starting a weekly celebrations email, inviting your colleagues to connect and share wins – either professional, personal or cultural to maintain a positive and rewarding team culture. These could be a simple as thanking someone who introduced you to Zoom virtual backgrounds, or a colleague who shared a positive news story which lifted your spirits. Consistent feedback to your team will keep them motivated and help avoid the weeks running in to one another.

2. Connect with someone new

When we’re not in the office there’s even less opportunity to meet new people outside of your regular teams. 30% of those working from home say they miss bouncing ideas off colleagues, so now is a great time to invite someone new to a brainstorm or share news outside your usual circle. Not only will it give you a new perspective, it may bring a fresh perspective to your work.

3. Streamline communications

In an office environment we’d usually talk to each other or send a quick email when we want to update our colleagues. Working from home, there are hundreds of ways to communicate and it’s easy to miss an update. One third of workers are relying on messaging services to manage their workloads and maintain working relationships, so consider using an instant app or calling someone to update them.  Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK suggests scheduling your calls outside of the normal on the hour and half hour slots.   ‘This is when the network is currently at its busiest so to ease congestion try arranging video or audio conferencing for quarter past or quarter to.’

4. Connect visually

It’s tempting to fire off emails and instant messages as a quick way of getting work done, however working from home and social distancing also means we get less time to visually connect with people outside of our immediate household. With 29% of people using video conferencing over 22% using audio, now is the time we need to see our colleagues to connect with them.

5. Have fun

We’re all getting used to a new way of working as well as living and the news out there can sometimes be overwhelming. With 41% of workers saying they miss banter with their colleagues it’s important, now more than ever, to take some time for a little light relief. Consider setting up a Slack channel for colleagues to share happier stories or anecdotes from their working days.

*Research carried out by FlyResearch in March 2020, of 2000 working adults aged 18+

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