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'Nearly half' of UK SME employees say working from home boosts productivity

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
(The Creative Exchange/Unsplash)
Over half (54%) of SME employees also believe more frequent communication with customers is key to the survival of their company. Photo: The Creative Exchange/Unsplash

Mental health concerns and lack of productivity are the top challenges faced by small-to-medium enterprise (SME) employees working from home, research suggests.

SME workers are worried about the businesses they work for, with many considering how their employers can do better to succeed long term, a survey of 1,000 employees by McKinsey found.

Workers cited mental health (45%), safety in the physical workplace (37%) and being able to work effectively under lockdown restrictions (35%) as their top three concerns while working from home.

Less than half (45%) of SME workers said they are more productive working from home.

READ MORE: The problem with productivity culture is that we aren't robots

What's more, a similar percentage (43%) have been working longer hours since the pandemic started.

Despite almost three quarters (72%) of SME employees agreeing that being able to communicate frequently is essential to the success of their team, almost a third (30%) do not feel more connected to their business and colleagues since lockdown.

In fact, less than half (47%) feel the communication tools their company has in place are helping them do their own job more efficiently, and 44% believe that with effective communication tools, productivity would be the most improved business challenge.

Over half (54%) of SME staffs also believe more frequent communication with customers is key to the survival of their company. However, less than two in five (39%) said their company now prioritises customer service more than previously.

READ MORE: Zoom boom costs UK workers 862 million hours of productivity

Even more worryingly, 36% of workers now believe it’s more difficult to communicate with customers since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, almost a fifth (19%) feel their customer service has not evolved or improved while working from home.

This is set against the backdrop of other challenges faced while working from home, which include distractions (30%), trying to balance work and family life (29%) and getting into a working frame of mind at home (27%).

Watch: Why job losses have risen despite the economy reopening