Lockdown Lessons

New TalkTalk research: Greater productivity enables homeworkers to upskill

The Lockdown Lessons report, commissioned by TalkTalk, revealed that more than half (58%) of workers in the UK said they had been more productive as a result of working from home, and their bosses agree. 30% of business leaders (directors, senior executives or owners) said working remotely had made their teams more productive, while over a third (35%) said they were working more collaboratively.

Lockdown has highlighted the importance of connectivity for many home workers, with over half (52%) of respondents saying the pandemic had made them realise the importance of the fast, reliable internet connection.

Another trend identified by the study is the increase in ‘bite-sized learning’ facilitated by connectivity. The report undertaken by leading employment experts, Working the Future, found that consumers are using online sources to learn new skills outside of their jobs, thanks to having additional hours in the day saved by working from home.

40% said they had watched online educational content during lockdown, while 16% had enrolled in a full online educational course. Almost a quarter (24%) have started to learn a language over lockdown, while a nearly a fifth (18%) worked on their IT and digital skills. Cooking (22%), baking (15%) and gardening (13%) were other popular areas of learning.

This time spent learning was not wasted. A third (32%) have developed a new skill, while 30% will seek out further online learning in the future. Nearly one in five (18%) 18-24 year olds said their career prospects had improved during lockdown. It also appears to have nurtured an enterprising spirit, with a potential 5.3 million consumers* (10%) having started an online side hustle – a part-time role or project outside their primary job – to generate extra income.

“Lockdown Britain has seen a boost in skills and productivity for home workers, with unexpected lessons for how we emerge from the pandemic,” Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s Chief Executive Officer observed. With flexible working we’re becoming so much more productive it seems that Britain is now getting five days’ work done in four, which is encouraging as Britain builds back from the crisis,” she added.

The report also revealed that fast, resilient broadband (51%) was ranked as the second most important commodity during lockdown, beating online shopping deliveries (37%) and a large living space (24%), ranking only behind having a garden (59%).

Data usage during lockdown increased 40% year on year according to TalkTalk data leading the brand to launch its new Homeworker package – providing an additional business-grade line dedicated for home working.

Homes becoming offices: Businesses are already investing in home working

The study showed 81% of business leaders identified a fast, reliable broadband connection as a priority for effective home working. That’s double the number of business leaders who said a workstation (41%), such as a desk, was a priority for their employees.

Two out of five (40%) business leaders said they had provided financial support towards employees’ phone or broadband bills, and the same number said that they had given £100-£200 to improve their employees’ home working environment. A quarter (24%) of the respondents even said that they had invested in mental wellbeing apps, such as yoga subscriptions.

Yet there are some areas this year where businesses have also saved money. Business travel (62%) and company entertainment such as Christmas parties (45%) were identified by business leaders as areas to cut expenditure in the future, no doubt because of their relatively high risk of COVID-19 transmission among employees.

The study also revealed that business leaders expect to invest in ways to boost employee productivity while working from home, with 40% identifying digital skills and training and just shy of a quarter (23%) naming broadband as target area.

“To unlock this productivity boost, home connectivity is vital, and it’s clear that bosses are already investing in people’s home office needs. That’s why we’ve launched a new Homeworker package to meet demand for those customers and businesses now working from home for the long term. With an additional business-grade line dedicated for home working, customers in busy households can rest assured that their broadband meets their connectivity needs.”

Jonathan Kini, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business, was interviewed on Times Radio Breakfast recently. He discussed the findings of the Lockdown Lessons report and how hybrid working is impacting all our lives. To hear his thoughts, you can listen to a recording below.

Or if you’d like to download the report for yourself, click here

Jonathan Kini

Jonathan Kini

Managing Director - TalkTalk Business

Times Radio Interview

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