Businesses continue to feel negative impact from pandemic

Credit: AdobeStock/
Credit: AdobeStock/

New research has found that 59% of workers in ‘deskless’ industries, including construction, manufacturing, care and retail believe the ongoing effect of the pandemic is negatively impacting the operations of the businesses they work for.

Moreover, 30% of workers think that the business they work for is less efficient now as a result of its response to COVID-19.

The study from Cloud Assess found that employee satisfaction is also continuing to suffer in the aftermath of the pandemic. Over a third (37%) of workers state that their employee experience is worse now than pre-2020. The most common reasons for this included staff shortages (51%), less in-person training (37%), worse communication (36%), less training across the board (32%), and fewer opportunities for development (26%).

As a result, 53% of the deskless workforce feel less motivated, 32% are unhappy at work, and 31% are less productive. One in five are even considering leaving their company in the next 12 months, whilst 17% suggest they might leave the industry they work in altogether, posing a significant risk for those industries already facing skills shortages such as construction.

Switching to Zoom

The study also analysed the specific policy changes that are driving these ongoing challenges and found that 85% of businesses adopted new policies for their deskless workers as a result of the pandemic, 80% of which are continuing some of these practices today.

The new policies which are most likely to have continued include calls hosted on Zoom, online training, fewer meetings, and fewer site visits from management. Some of these changes are supported by workers. For example, 76% support the move towards video calls, rather than phone calls, whilst 61% believe having fewer meetings is having a positive impact on the business they work for.

Work activities and training

However, as well as taking up new policies, almost two-thirds (64%) of businesses stopped some activities entirely because of the pandemic and have not resumed them since, leading to dissatisfaction and concern amongst employees.

The activities that are most likely to have been dropped include team parties, in-person meetings, and in-person training. The research found that 84% of workers would like to see at least some of these activities return, suggesting a strong demand amongst employees for vital face-to-face contact with team members to resume.

In-person training was found to be the activity that most workers would like to see resumed, with 73% of the employees researched claiming that the training they are offered by their employer has been affected by the pandemic.

Twenty-six percent state they are being offered fewer training opportunities, whilst 11% claim that their employer has stopped providing training and development opportunities altogether. Many employers are also opting to move toward online training, or e-learning, with 28% stating that more of their training is delivered online, with 11% stating that 100% of their training is now delivered online.

However, 85% of workers whose employees have moved towards online training believe it has had some negative impact on them. The most common complaint is that training sessions are now boring (39%) and feels like a tick box exercise by employers (34%).

Furthermore, 28% feel like they retain the information for less time when learning online, whilst 21% feel as though they are learning less. Just 20% believe that the online training provided to them is benefiting their long-term career, whilst even fewer (18%) think it’s making them better at their job.

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