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UK officials keen to retain remote working, survey finds

4/05/2021 in Security

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UK officials keen to retain remote working, survey finds

The vast majority of UK civil servants have adapted well to remote working and want to continue working flexibly after the pandemic, according to new research – though there are concerns around collaboration, security and data protection practices.

Some 73% of respondents said they can carry out all their responsibilities while working remotely, according to a new survey of 906 civil servants conducted by Global Government Forum and Dell Technologies. A further 22% said they can do most of their work from home

More than nine in 10 respondents said they have all the tools they need to work remotely, while four-fifths have access to all the applications and datasets available in the office. About three quarters of those surveyed said their home broadband speeds are equal to or better than those in their usual workplace; and a similar proportion said they feel as well managed as they do when in the office.

Asked whether they’d like to work remotely more frequently in the future than they did prior to the pandemic, 82% of respondents agreed – with two thirds of them saying they “agree strongly”. Moreover, 72% said that doing so would improve their wellbeing. Most also felt that this would increase civil service productivity, with 59% saying they’re more productive working remotely; just 16% said that they’re less productive.


And on the down side…

A substantial minority of respondents expressed concerns about collaboration and team coherence in a remote workforce, however. Nearly a third (30%) agreed that collaborating and communicating with colleagues is a struggle when working from home, although 54% said not. And while 52% said that the sense of team identity and purpose remain just as strong out of the office, 35% thought they have been weakened.

On tech support at home, nearly seven in 10 said it’s as timely and effective at home as in the office, against 17% who thought it worse. And only a tiny proportion worried that their employer had not adequately protected security in remote working systems and tools.

But the research did identify some potential gaps. Over a third of respondents said their organisation had not been in contact to check that they’re observing data protection rules, and 40% that they haven’t been asked to check that their home wifi settings are secure.


A glimpse of the post-pandemic workplace

The report points to a future of hybrid working, noting that “large numbers of people believe their lives could be improved by having more choice and flexibility over the way they carry out their work.” These findings are important to civil service employers’ recruitment strategies, it adds, suggesting that “organisations’ flexible working policies will take on new significance in the competition for talent, as candidates re-evaluate their priorities in the post-Covid world.”

In the report’s introduction, Tariq Hussain, a senior director for UK public sector at Dell Technologies, notes that the findings “underpin our ambition that everybody should be able to work and learn from anywhere at any time. These results demonstrate that technology can be effectively harnessed to support flexible working in all civil service business units, with corresponding benefits for employees’ mental health and wellbeing.”

What Now?

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