ServiceNow Survey Reveals Canadian Employees Need More Balance & Better Technology To Be Productive Working From Home During COVID-19

Many Canadians have settled into working from home during COVID-19, but employers have room for improvement to make working from home more productive for all employees. A new survey commissioned by ServiceNow reveals Canadian office workers want to–and anticipate they’ll need to–continue working from home for the foreseeable future, and they expect their employers to address key challenges to make working from home work better.

Results from ServiceNow’s Work From Home Productivity Study, which polled 1,000 Canadian office workers, reveal one in three employees are feeling less productive in their current work from home environment. They cite not having the proper set up, tools and technology to enable them to be more productive—even after working remotely for more than two months. 

Employees struggle with their physical and mental workspace

Before COVID-19, many Canadian office workers had dedicated spaces for working and living. With the onset of the “new normal,” blending the two into one has been difficult for many employees, and even more so for those with little prior experience working from home.  

  • One-quarter of Canadian office workers who previously had never worked from home still do not feel properly set up to do so effectively (26%), compared to 5% who had worked from home before. 
  • One in three office workers are less productive in their current work from home situation than they were in their usual workspace (32%). 
    • Employer preparedness for the work from home transition plays a role here, as decreased productivity rises to 44% among those who say their employer was unprepared.  
  • 37% say technology is a barrier to productivity. Other barriers to productivity include: taking care of others (29%); mental state, including anxiety about the current state of the world and isolation from living alone (28%); and lack of a dedicated space for work at home (23%)

Despite increased reliance on technology, issues persist when working from home 

Technology is critical to enabling work and connecting employees to their colleagues and organization. Despite that, many of the issues that employees working from home face today are directly related to tech: 

  • Months into working from home, tech issues are the top barrier to productivity (37%) and a whopping 83% of Canadian office workers feel their employer is not meeting their needs very well when it comes to supplying them with state-of-the-art technology. 
  • Improved technology would help increase productivity for half of Canadian office workers (51%), identifying an opportunity for improvement even among those who have not reported tech as a barrier to productivity.  
    • 26% would be more productive with increased access to tech software that enables communication, collaboration, workflow management, HR technology and remote onboarding/training. 
  • Almost 9 in 10 Canadian office workers (85%) report relying on technology in both their work and personal life more now than they ever have before. 

Flexibility is key when working from home 

Canadians have new expectations about working from home today and in the future, and employers should be prepared to meet these needs. Even after physical distancing measures are lifted, 9 in 10 Canadian office workers say they want to work from home with an average preference of 14 business days a month – about 67% of the time. 

  • Half of employees (50%) are utilizing the flexible work hours their employer offers, a significant 32% increase from pre-pandemic.  
  • 68% of Canadian office workers say work-life balance is very important to them during this time. 
  • Competing obligations are a challenge. 55% of working parents say they have a lot of personal responsibilities that get in the way of productivity when working from home. 
  • Working from home does have personal benefits, including saving time commuting (69%) and saving money (62%), leading to more time for personal hobbies and projects (57%).  

Additional survey findings can be found here

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