Work From Home Experience of Kiwi Men & Women

May 10, 2022

With more and more Kiwis embracing the 'remote work' trend, new research has looked more closely at the actual benefits and challenges faced by New Zealand workers. And what it found its that the experience is different, and often more challenging, for women.

Here are some interesting takeaways from the ASB/NZIER survey.

A positive experience for many

According to the survey, 20 per cent of Kiwis can now work from home as often as they like, with nearly half of respondents saying that the ability to work from home was important, very important or even essential to them.

What’s more, 61 per cent of people surveyed found working from home a positive or very positive experience. Among the benefits, they mentioned a better work/life balance, avoiding long commutes, and overall cost-effectiveness.

In terms of productivity, despite employer resistance in the past, flexible work arrangements had a positive impact for many workers, with half of respondents saying they’re more effective at home than in the office.

A not-so-positive experience for some (especially women)

“Flexible working is a vital part of creating a compelling proposition for our people, but it also comes with challenges that need to be better understood so that these options are genuinely creating benefits for everyone,” said ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt.

According to the report, for example, women and men tend to experience remote work differently, especially when it comes to childcare and their work environment.
Women were significantly more likely to report doing most or all of the childcare and home-schooling during lockdown, on top of their normal work life. Only 22 per cent of women felt the home-schooling load was shared fairly.

“With women still taking on responsibility for the bulk of domestic chores, the risk is that they are being disadvantaged both at work and in the home, trying to juggle two roles,” said Shortt.

How managers felt about remote work

Interestingly, the research indicates that male managers were more likely than their female counterparts to prefer their staff work in the office, mostly due to a lack of confidence managing remote workers. That said, women were more likely than men to value the professional and social connections in the workplace.

Sick leave ‘harder to justify’

Another unintended consequence of remote work seems to be that days off are harder to justify. One in five respondents said that they didn’t feel confident calling in sick when they were already at home, especially women.

“Leaders need to be clearer on what they need from their people with respect to remote and on-site working, and encourage active management of work-life boundaries,” said Shortt. “Just because a day is not bookended by a commute to and from work or having a laptop at home, does not mean the workday starts at 6 am and finishes whenever the last person logs off.”

The bottom line

While there are many proven benefits to working from home, there are also challenges to be aware of. By maintaining and promoting work-life separation, businesses and workers can create a healthy remote culture – it’s a win-win situation.
Read the full report here.

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