Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian employees need better technology to work from home during COVID-19: survey

48% of office workers say their employer has a lot to learn when it comes to setting employees up for success as they work from home

June 19, 2020  by CM Staff

ServiceNow survey reveals employers have a lot to learn when it comes to setting employees up for success as they work from home. (PHOTO: ServiceNow)

TORONTO — A new survey commissioned by ServiceNow reveals Canadian office workers want to–and anticipate they’ll need to–continue working from home for the foreseeable future, and expect their employers to address key challenges to make working from home work better.

Results from ServiceNow’s Work From Home Productivity Study reveal one in three employees are feeling less productive in their current work from home environment. They cite not having the proper set up, tools and technology to enable them to be more productive — even after working remotely for more than two months.

“During tough times, such as the one we’re currently facing with COVID-19, it’s even more important to consider and prioritize the employee experience,” said Marc LeCuyer, general manager, Canada, ServiceNow, in a prepared statement. “Now that Canadian office workers are working from home and will likely do so for much longer, it’s critical to understand what we need to do to support employees to do great work from anywhere.”

Before COVID-19, many Canadian office workers had dedicated spaces for working and living. With the onset of the “new normal,” blending the two into one has been difficult for many employees, and even more so for those with little prior experience working from home.

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  • One-quarter of Canadian office workers who previously had never worked from home still do not feel properly set up to do so effectively (26%), compared to 5% who had worked from home before.
  • One in three office workers are less productive in their current work from home situation than they were in their usual workspace (32%).
  • Employer preparedness for the work from home transition plays a role here, as decreased productivity rises to 44% among those who say their employer was unprepared.
  • 37% say technology is a barrier to productivity. Other barriers include: taking care of others (29%); mental state, including anxiety about the current state of the world and isolation from living alone (28%); and lack of a dedicated space for work at home (23%).

Technology is critical to enabling work and connecting employees to their colleagues and organization. Despite that, many of the issues that employees working from home face today are directly related to tech:

  • Months into working from home, tech issues are the top barrier to productivity (37%) and 83% of Canadian office workers feel their employer is not meeting their needs very well when it comes to supplying them with technology.
  • Improved technology would help increase productivity for half of Canadian office workers (51%), identifying an opportunity for improvement even among those who have not reported tech as a barrier to productivity.
  • 26% would be more productive with increased access to tech software that enables communication, collaboration, workflow management, HR technology and remote onboarding/training.
  • Almost 9 in 10 Canadian office workers (85%) report relying on technology in both their work and personal life more now than they ever have before.

Even after physical distancing measures are lifted, 9 in 10 Canadian office workers said they want to work from home with an average preference of 14 business days a month – about 67% of the time.

  • Half of employees (50%) are utilizing the flexible work hours their employer offers, a significant 32% increase from pre-pandemic.
  • 68% of Canadian office workers say work-life balance is very important to them during this time.
  • 55% of working parents said they have a lot of personal responsibilities that get in the way of productivity when working from home.
  • Working from home has personal benefits, including saving time commuting (69%) and saving money (62%), leading to more time for personal hobbies and projects (57%).