More than one third of workers ‘feel closer to colleagues’ despite Covid-19 lockdown

Workers feel closer to their colleagues, despite social distancing restrictions as collaboration tools and a drive for digital skills continues

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 20 October 2020 10:26


Over one third (35 per cent) of workers have reported feeling closer to colleagues, and communicating more frequently on a daily basis, than ever before during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new insight from FDM Group, a global leader in the recruit, train and deploy sector.

The findings were contained in a poll of 2,000 workers in large and medium sized companies, commissioned by FDM Group and conducted by independent polling agency, Censuswide in October 2020.

Thanks to web conference and other communication technology, lockdown has given international colleagues, workers who have relocated, or those who would usually operate in a different environment to their colleagues, an outlet to communicate with each other which they otherwise wouldn’t have, if not for lockdown and remote working.

Similarly, 51 per cent of workers admitted that they would like to see flexible working remain an option in 2021 and beyond, and 51 per cent agreed that they would be interested in improving their digital skills in the next year.

In fact, 37 per cent of workers agreed that they would like their company to invest more heavily in online collaboration tools, so that they can work even more closely with their colleagues – especially since remote working looks like it’s here to stay on a permanent basis until at least 2021.

Interestingly, just over one-third of workers said that they are using their own personal devices, such as laptops and mobile phones, to work, despite a move to a WFH environment. Additionally, employee concerns about job stability have evidently not subsided, as almost one-quarter (24 per cent) admit that they expect to be made redundant next year, and nearly one-third (32 per cent) have refused to take annual leave during the pandemic through fears of losing their job.

Sheila Flavell CBE, COO of FDM Group, said: “Transitioning to a remote environment has been a bumpy ride for many companies, and whilst it’s satisfying to see that such a large portion of workers feel closer to their colleagues than ever before, it’s essential that companies continue to invest in training and collaboration to bring remote workforces closer together.

“Key to this is continuing to implement effective and open communication channels, facilitated by remote working technology and staff IT skills training, so that all employees have an outlet to air any concerns or stresses, which will inevitably be the case during these extremely difficult times.

Flavell continued, “As proven by our polling data, concerns about job stability have still not eased, and workers who are, unfortunately, made redundant or let go, must understand that there are a number of opportunities still available to them to retrain and the IT sector. These include retraining in a different career path, bolstering existing skills with new qualifications, or even learning a completely new skillset.”

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