EU workers not ready for home working, says Targus research

By Kate Birch
Global technology and accessories provider Targus highlights how under-prepared European office workers are to adopt the new ‘work from anywhere’ mo...

New research from California-based Targus highlights how European office workers are not prepared to adopt the new ‘work from anywhere’ model being rolled out as businesses return to work.

The survey of 4,000 office workers in France, Germany and the UK from February shows people are willing to set foot in offices again but expect greater flexibility and trust to work from other locations. 

Reduced days working in the office was an employee expectation in all countries; with just under a half of UK respondents ranking this as their main expectation. However, employers are not equipping staff with the necessary tools to work productively and healthily. 

A quarter of UK office workers were not supplied with or given a budget to purchase equipment needed to work from home by their employer, according to the survey, with the figure even higher in Germany (29%) and France (35%).

“We all know how important it is to have the correct desk set up and proper equipment when we are in the office so it’s surprising to see employers are not providing the same level of support to staff working remotely – even a year into the Covid-19 lockdown and social restrictions,” says Marcus Harvey, Director of B2B EMEA, Targus. 

“This isn’t a short-term situation and employees expect to continue to be flexible with their working location. Standard items such as a wireless keyboard or laptop stand to position the screen at the correct level can make a significant impact to productivity and wellbeing. We might even get to a point where this type of support becomes a dealbreaker in job negotiations.” 

The new work-from-home business as usual

The working from home experience has differed across Europe. German workers are the keenest to get back to the office (62%), versus 45% in the UK, while 59% in France are reluctant to go back. The survey shows women (44%) want to return more than men (39%). 

Returning to the office comes conditions and expectations:

Top 3 things people expect to have changed about the office when they return

  1. Improved cleaning protocols 
  2. Improved Covid-19 security 
  3. Increased levels of trust to work away from the office 

3 changes office workers expect to see to improve productivity

  1. Ultra-quiet desk areas for solo work (40% UK, 45% France, 47% Germany)
  2. More meeting rooms with better AV equipment (34% UK, 26% France, 24% Germany)
  3. More social spaces (34% UK, 29% France, 27% Germany)

However, employers do not seem to be consulting their teams on the process of returning to the office. Over 40% of workers across all three countries had not had a discussion with bosses. 

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