Should I stay or should I go? For many people this will be a critical choice as businesses gradually return to normal in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns. One of the defining features of the pandemic was that it saw millions of office workers being sent home to avoid the spread of the virus across the workplace.
Companies scrambled to set up homeworking arrangements that would allow employees to remain productive without having to be in the office. The experiment worked. Not only did most organisations continue to operate despite lockdowns and other restrictions, but research has shown that in many cases workers were actually more productive at home than they had been in the office.
For example, a workforce responsiveness survey by the analyst firm Gartner last year found that 48% of fully remote workers exhibited ‘high discretionary effort’, compared to 35% of those who never worked remotely. The same research, undertaken among more than 5,000 workers, also found that 41% of fully remote workers showed ‘high enterprise contribution’, versus 24% for their office-based colleagues.
Worker, where art thou?
Such studies just go to confirm something that researchers had known for years: that far from slacking off, home-based employees tend to work harder than those in the office. Now the cat is out of the bag, some previously office-based workers may not have much of a choice about going back.
Companies that have realised they can get more out of their employees, while at the same time saving money on facilities, may be keen to make homeworking the way forward. At the other end of the spectrum, of course, are those many workers who have had to carry on going to work as usual for the duration of the pandemic.
In most places, this applies to people working in ‘essential sectors’ such as healthcare and the emergency services. Whatever your situation, the chances are you will have experienced some form of upheaval in your working conditions over the last 18 months.
And you could be set for more if another change is on the cards, whether it’s a return to the office or a permanent remote working arrangement. How do you think you will cope? Chances are that a further shift in working patterns could cause you a certain amount of anxiety and stress. That’s why it is advisable to check your stress levels using our online StressWaves tool.
The artificially intelligent choice
StressWaves uses artificial intelligence to analyse your voice and tell how stressed you are. It can give you an accurate reading by simply listening to you for 90 seconds. What do you do if it shows you have high stress levels? Simple: download the free Cigna Body&Mind app. This has been designed to cater not just for stress but for your entire well-being, from physical and financial fitness through to a healthier approach to your family and social life.
This 360º approach is key to true well-being, since since your stress levels are linked with your physical health, as well as your relationships at home or work. Using the Cigna Body&Mind app will help you deal with all these key aspects of your life, giving you access to wellness advice, activity logs, action plans and motivational tools.
And since it’s a mobile app, you can take it with you and use it wherever you want. So, whether you end up back at your office cubicle or stay forever at that makeshift desk in your spare room, you’ll at least have a simple and convenient source of well-being advice right next to you at all times.