The pandemic has not just been a financial disaster, for many of course it’s been a health and well-being crisis too. All our lives have been turned upside down since March last year, and that’s likely to continue well into this year. The effects of Covid on some of those who developed symptoms will have persisted for some time and we wait to discover the effects of so-called Long Covid. For others the financial cost has been massive despite unprecedented government help and there will be a colossal hangover for the UK’s public finances. For many people in banking and insurance the world of work, has been changed, probably permanently.
According to a new report published by McKinsey’s Healthcare, a leading firm of management consultants, whilst many people are acquiring natural immunity through infection, new variants with enhanced transmissibility could see the number of people needed to be simultaneously immune to achieve herd immunity increasing to between 78% and 95% of the population over age 12. Assuming we don’t have to deal with a new strain of the virus which may reduce the efficacy of the vaccines, the expectation is that herd immunity will be achieved by September/ October 2021.
Last week we published some of the results from our second home working survey, the largest independent survey of staff attitudes to home working carried out in TSB
Some of the key results from our survey are as follows:
72% of respondents said that on average they were working more than 7 hours a day. That’s the kind of response we’ve seen from previous surveys on working hours in TSB. One of the drawbacks of working from home is that employees could feel the need to be “always on” – available to work at all hours of the day. And that’s something we need to avoid in TSB. Researchers at Atlassian, a developer of workplace software, looked at the behaviour of users in 65 countries. They recorded the first- and last-time people interacted with the software and found that from April and May onwards the working day in the UK was 30 minutes longer than it was in January and February. Interestingly, Israelis extended their working day by 47 minutes, longer than anywhere else. Working hours is something we will be monitoring going forward because what we don’t want to see is the working day getting progressively longer, especially for those who carry on working from home when the pandemic is over.
In order to understand the psychological effects of working from home we asked members to categorise their feelings using words such as “Happy”, “Anxious” and “Depressed” and the results show how members have become more concerned since the last survey. That’s not surprising given the length of time we’ve been in various stages of lockdown. In our latest survey, only 44% of respondents said they were happy; 21% down from our last survey. 17% of respondents said they were depressed; up from 11%.
86% of members responding said they had established a good work routine at home and 80% said that they had created a suitable workspace. Although, we know from comments from members that “work routines” and “suitable workspace” will be dependent on making sure that school age children are looked after during lockdowns.
Most importantly, 69% of members said they were able to maintain a healthy work life balance working from home.
39% of staff said they weren’t able to take regular breaks from work during the day. We need to drill down more to understand why that’s the case, but the bank needs to make sure that staff can take regular breaks.
For many people, working from home has been a period of self-reflection about life and what’s important. Only 7% of respondents said that they wanted to do something completely different from working for TSB once the pandemic is over. The figure in Lloyds was 9%.
Members with any questions on our survey results or on working from home should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 716029 (choose Option 1).