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The Road to Recovery survey: part 1 - the transition to and from remote working

Alongside Comms Business, we carried out ‘The Road to Recovery survey’, which looked to uncover just how coronavirus has impacted channel partners (CPs). From enforced remote working to sales pipeline impact, the unprecedented situation has led many CPs to adapt their ways of working in order to keep selling and providing for their customers.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at how remote working affected CPs and their workforce.

The move to home working

The lockdown meant most of us had to move from office set-ups to home offices, whether pre-existing or makeshift in living rooms and bedrooms, and the impact on CPs varied.

While 15% of respondents had 100% of their workforce regularly working from home pre-lockdown, most CPs had fewer than 50% of employees regularly doing it, with 14% having none working remotely at all.

Yet, the transition to remote working was viewed as simple enough by most, with 100% of CPs ranking it as 3 (OK) or above on a scale of 1-5 (1 being extremely difficult and 5 being super easy). 

Impact on working

Prior to lockdown, there was a level of apprehension that remote working would have a negative impact on productivity. However, that feeling was seemingly incorrect with 90% of CPs finding that productivity levels have been the same or better than in the office. In fact, one fifth found remote working to provide ‘far better efficiency’.

Interestingly, morale also doesn’t seem to have been too badly impacted, with 84% of CPs believing staff morale to be at office levels or better, perhaps driven by employees having more freedom to balance work and personal lives. 16% felt that employee morale had dropped since remote working became widespread. 

Keeping employees motivated and engaged is a challenge that was tackled in a variety of ways by CPs. The most common being daily video calls (74%) and setting clear expectations (69%). Other efforts included wellbeing initiatives and entertainment such as quizzes.

Having the solutions and procedures in place to facilitate and enhance collaboration will only continue to grow in importance. With employees likely to remain spread away from centralised offices in some capacity, remote working capabilities will become a permanent feature within CPs everyday operations.

Return to the office

Moving forward, more than three quarters (77.5%) of CPs expect teams to work remotely 1-4 days a week, suggesting a blend of remote and physical set-ups. Yet, 14.5% expect employees to work remotely 5 days a week, while 8% think there will be a full return to the traditional 9-5 office setup.

To make offices safe for returning staff, the most common changes CPs have actioned include implementing social distancing procedures (81%) and additional hygiene measures, such as hand sanitiser (76%). Nearly half (44%) are considering staggered hours, while a third (33%) believe protective equipment for staff is needed. 

In part 2 of our Road to Recovery survey analysis we’ll explore how coronavirus has impacted CP’s business.

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