Sophie Hedestad, Mårten Westberg, Stefan Tengblad, Petri Kajonius

During the summer, Netigate partnered with Mårten Westberg (EIBA), Stefan Tengblad (University of Gothenburg) and Petri Kajonius (Lund University), to ask 1,500 Swedish people about working from home during the Corona crisis.

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Click here to download the survey summary as a PDF.

The aim of the survey is to help Swedish companies and managers better handle the situation when many employees may want to— or, in many cases, must— continue working from home. Managers and HR departments need to prepare for the workplace of the future. Currently, many people today work based on a model that assumes most people are situated in the office.

A survey on working from home

Sweden has been at the forefront when it comes to digitization. In 2019, 98% of Swedes had access to the internet at home. This works in Sweden’s favor when it comes to working from home. The ability to organize work from home can also be an important means of competition in the job market post Corona. This is especially important for a sparsely populated country like Sweden. Therefore, the survey focused on people who have worked from home either full or part time during the Corona crisis.

Behind the study are Mårten Westberg from the European Institute for Behavioral Science Analysis, Dr Petri Kajonius from Lund University, Sophie Hedestad from Netigate, and Professor Stefan Tengblad from the University of Gothenburg.

The aim of the survey has been to help Swedish companies and managers handle working from home. During the autumn, many Swedes will continue to work from home.

1,500 randomly selected people participated in the survey, which was conducted in July 2020. The sample is nationally representative, which means that there is an even distribution of gender, geographical location, age, and income level. Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 506 answered “yes” to the question about whether they worked from home during the Corona crisis. These 506 people have since had to answer another 60 questions about housing, family, transport, personality and other goal variables such as motivation, productivity, stimulus, how it went for their employer and more.

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Businesses don’t need to be afraid

As a business leader, you may worry that people who work from home are not as productive. However, our survey shows that productivity increases when working from home. This is because people have more flexibility and can plan their days to better suit them. 67% of those who responded to the survey enjoy working from home. 81% stated that they have reached their business goals.

The impact of income, transport, and familial circumstances

Our survey shows that neither income, transport, nor familial circumstances affect well-being or job satisfaction.

Income
One might think that people with high incomes, and therefore more responsibility, are more motivated to work but this is not the case. This is in line with previous analyses that higher wages do not increase motivation in the long run. Salary also does not affect how well you thrive while working remotely.

Transport
It is conceivable that the distance one has to travel to get to work is what makes more people want to work from home. But our survey results show that commute time does not appear to affect well-being or job satisfaction.

Familial circumstances
The survey shows that the number of children in the home, the age of the children, or being single does not have an impact on well-being or job satisfaction when carrying out work at home. 

Well-being and job satisfaction

Personality, and whether other family members enjoy working from home, seem to be decisive factors for well-being and job satisfaction. If children in the home find focus for their studies, and partners also enjoy working from home, these are favorable factors for successful remote working.

Job satisfaction when working from home is also greatly affected by continued communication and openness with immediate managers and colleagues.

The survey shows that people who have extrovert personality traits are more likely to enjoy working in an office landscape. However, extroversion also appears to be a personality trait that can help, to a greater extent, with the transition to working from home. This may be related to the ability to maintain close communication with colleagues.

All ages can work from home

During spring 2020, there was some discussion about young people not being able to work from home. Studies have demonstrated this, and psychologists and organizational scientists have explained that younger people need support from their managers.

Our study shows that age has nothing to do with whether you can manage your work from home or not. All ages are able to work from home successfully. However, there may be a connection if you are new to a workplace and need support from colleagues, because cooperation and communication are more easily achieved in the office.

The office space

2/3 of those who do not like office landscapes have enjoyed working alone during Corona. Introverted people tend to prefer working from home rather than in the office.

The survey shows that we work from home when we want to focus and concentrate. The days when we want and need to have contact with colleagues, we come to the office where the flow is completely free.

In the long run, employers can get rid of redundant office space and occupy smaller premises. Companies that want to accelerate should reduce ’dead costs’ such as properties and invest in marketing and sales that create growth.

EN_Thriving at home versus in the office_diagram

There is a connection between well-being at home and having a preference for working in the home office.

Normal office work has a high interference factor, meaning it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate. The survey shows that people can concentrate more on their work tasks from home.

The blurring line between work and leisure

The workplace of the future

En_Workplace of the future diagram

How can you prepare for the future of work?

  1. Terminate ’dead costs’ such as premises that are not used. If your company allows it, people will continue to work from home to an increasing degree, even after the spread of infection has ceased.
  2. Extroverted people may find the transition to home working easier. Make sure your introverted employees get the support they need. Reach out to them more often..
  3. Age has nothing to do with efficiency. However, time in the company has an important role in whether you can work from home successfully or not. New employees will benefit from working within the office space.
  4. Focus on getting quality and results from your employees. Where this takes place is not so important.
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Finally

The increase in remote working since Corona has made us question working life before the pandemic, when the conditions for achieving results and job satisfaction were actually significantly better. How many of us have dealt with inefficient meetings, disruptive colleagues, bossy bosses and restrictive rules about how the work should be done? Swedish working life needs to develop new flexible forms of work that are characterized by competence, quality, and results.

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Looking for more information?

Do you want to get in touch with Netigate regarding the survey? Or perhaps you would like to conduct your own? Contact our CMO, Sophie Hedestad, at Sophie.hedestad ‘at’ Netigate.se or call/text 0732012498.