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Remote working tougher for younger workers, survey shows

As Covid-19 drives companies to run remotely, the conventional function of the office as a physical meeting place for work is being tested

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Although Millennials and Gen Z have the strongest desire for flexible working, they are finding it harder to work from home. A survey by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) has revealed that 70% of Gen Z and 69% of millennials have reported challenges to work remotely, compared to 55% of baby boomers.

While subpar connectivity is the top gripe for all remote workers, Gen Z employees are likely to encounter inadequate home workspace compared to other age groups. “Given these workers are under 24 years of age they are likely living in shared accommodation or perhaps still living with their Baby Boomer parents”, C&W notes in survey findings collated from 40,000 respondents worldwide.


Millennials face similar challenges. This is on top of them having to shoulder caregiving duties — a trait they share with Gen X, it says.

In contrast, baby boomers appear to be coping and adapting the best, reporting positive experiences and fewer challenges.

Another challenge for remote workers is the struggle to cut off from work. As home is now where all work takes place, the sense of physical separation from work has disappeared. The absence of a daily commute has also contributed to this, as there is no natural break at the start and end of a working day, helping staff switch off from work, says C&W.

The shift to remote working has also caused workers to lose out on personal connections with each other. Only slightly more than half of respondents reported feeling connected to their colleagues. This factor is an “extremely important component of employee experience under any circumstances” cautions C&W, which may “negatively impact connection to company culture and personal and professional development”.

Face-to-face interactions would create opportunities for informal learning and mentoring, unlike digital collaborations which are more task-oriented, notes the firm.

Read more: Covid-19: The ‘biggest experiment’ in flexible working

Amid remote working practices, employees feel high levels of trust, confidence and pride in the company but struggle with their personal connection to the culture (Source: Cushman & Wakefield)

Working from home not all dreary 

Despite the challenges of remote working, there have been positive outcomes from the experience. As the pandemic has forced business operations to work remotely, 73% of respondents now believe companies should embrace flexible working policies moving forward.

Staffers have also felt more trust from their employers, with 90% of respondents reported feeling trusted to carry out their work from home.

Surprisingly, the productivity of work has not been as affected. While working from home, employees continue to report the ability to focus when they need to be productive on individual tasks, says C&W. This is despite having many activities under one roof — as a workplace with spouses and housemates, and home-schooling occurring at the same time.

The findings are also supported by surveys conducted before the onset of Covid-19, where employees who mostly worked remotely were more engaged and had a better workplace experience than those who mostly worked in the office, says C&W.

Collaboration between co-workers has also improved. Now, 75% of respondents agree that they are “collaborating effectively with colleagues in the current environment”, which is driven primarily by collaborative technology. “The enforced work from home means that using collaborative technology tools is no longer optional but an imperative, and employees are using them to their fullest,” it says.

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