Research from the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham, entitled ‘The Working from Home during COVID-19 Lockdown Project’, has revealed that attitudes towards flexible working have changed over the past few months.
Led by Dr. Heejung Chung of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research and Dr. Holly Birkett and Dr. Sarah Forbes of Birmingham Business School, the research found that 66% of non-parents would prefer flexibility at work more in the future, citing a better work-life balance and improved wellbeing.
Even more, 90% of those who worked from home during lockdowns said managers were supportive of these arrangements, while 72.7% said their manager showed empathy as many workers attempted to balance work and family responsibilities.
However, the research also revealed the negative impact of working from home. For instance, two-thirds of respondents said they suffered from “work-life blur” and many expressed missing interactions with their colleagues. 48% of mothers in the survey also said they felt more rushed during lockdown.
“Our research has brought to light the variety of experiences had, both positive and negative. We have seen a reduction in negative perception towards those working flexibly, and this is certainly a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Chung. “However, it is clear that parents in particular need more support during school and childcare closures. There are signs that the increased workload and conflict between work and family has negatively impacted parents’ mental wellbeing, especially mothers.”