COVID-19: Double-edged sword of greater work flexibility and increased isolation requires urgent action by employers – a new report from Economist Intelligence Unit, supported by Allianz Partners
RICHMOND, VA, October 9, 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many employees with new and more flexible options on where, when and how they work, with working from home being enforced by government guidance in many cases. But it has also challenged their physical and mental health, productivity, and ability to communicate effectively at work. This is according to new research published today by the Economist Intelligence Unit, supported by Allianz Partners.
The research, contained in ‘The Future of Work and Digital Wellbeing – protecting employees in a COVID19-shaped world’, surveyed 1,000 full-time employees working from home in the UK, Canada, France, Singapore and United Arab Emirates due to government restrictions imposed during COVID-19.
A total of 75% of respondents said they want to work from home more post-pandemic, with 69%wanting to work from home for most of the working week (i.e. at least three days). However, the research also found that:
These findings represent a clear call to action for employers to better understand, support and accommodate their employees’ needs from a physical and mental wellbeing perspective. The report recommends that employers should consider changes at every level of their organization in order to maximize the benefits and minimize risks of digital transformations:
Commenting on the report’s findings, Ida Luka-Lognoné, CEO International Health & Travel at Allianz Partners stated: “Our goal was to highlight how COVID-19 has changed how we work, what the impact has been on employee wellbeing and give companies some practical insights into what they can do to support their workforce. Not just during this very challenging time, but longer-term, because this pandemic will result in long-term changes to how, and where, people work. Through polling and expert insights from academia, businesses and wellbeing specialists, the report provides rich data, perspectives and recommendations of benefit to everyone with an interest in the new workplace landscape that has emerged in 2020.”
She added: “The contrasting findings among countries, age groups and family circumstances demonstrate just how varied the impacts of COVID-19 have been on employees and workplaces. Addressing this effectively requires tailored solutions rather than a blanket policy, one-size-fits-all approach. And that means continuous, meaningful engagement with diverse stakeholders in all workplaces around work culture, as well as the design, implementation and management of new practices.”
Jonathan Birdwell, EMEA Head of Public Policy and Thought Leadership at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “Since the pandemic began, employees globally have had to start working remotely, where possible, increasing their use of digital communications and virtual collaboration. This shift has the potential to change employee experiences for the better – if the associated risks are also mitigated. Companies need to actively manage this transition to a more online way of working or risk a drop in performance. By putting employees’ mental and physical wellbeing at the heart of any digital transformation, business leaders can access a range of commercial benefits while improving staff satisfaction. In a post-COVID-19 world, or one where the virus remains part of our lives, this employee-centric approach will be essential for helping businesses attract, retain and get the most out of their workforce.”
Note: The report ‘The Future of Work and Digital Wellbeing – protecting employees in a world with COVID19’ was launched at a two-day conference, Partners in Health, hosted virtually 7th-8th October 2020.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS Other key findings of the research include:
About Allianz Partners
Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C insurance and assistance, offering global solutions that span international health and life, travel insurance, automotive and assistance. Customer-driven, our innovative experts are redefining insurance services by delivering future-ready, high-tech high-touch products and solutions that go beyond traditional insurance. Our products are embedded seamlessly into our partners’ businesses or sold directly to customers, and are available through four commercial brands: Allianz Assistance, Allianz Automotive, Allianz Travel and Allianz Care. Present in 75 countries, our 21,100 employees speak 70 languages, handle over 71 million cases each year, and are motivated to go the extra mile to offer peace of mind to our customers around the world.
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