Chapter 4: Analysis and Findings
4.2 Questionnaire Results
4.2.3 Attitudes and Desire to Telework
COVID-19 pandemic can be attributed to the social distancing measures and lockdowns that governments mandated to cope with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the rate of telework remains high even after the easing of these COVID-19 mandates, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic has likely had a lasting impact on work arrangements and attitudes towards telework. This is likely since many organisations and their employees have found that telework can be effective. As employees and employers became more accustomed to telework, it became a viable option even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth in the percentage of teleworkers in each category is remarkable. The percentage of participants teleworking full-time increased more than twice, from 9.9% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 21.8% after the COVID-19 pandemic (a growth of 119%; n=10 to n=22).
The rate of participants teleworking 3-4 days per week also increased significantly from 6.9%
before to 37.6% after the COVID-19 pandemic (a growth of 442.9%; n=7 to n=38). Furthermore, the percentage of participants teleworking 1-2 days per week increased from 17.8% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 29.7% after the COVID-19 pandemic (a growth of 67.4%; n=18 to n=30).
Finally, the percentage of non-teleworking participants reduced significantly from 17.8% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 29.7% after the COVID-19 pandemic (a decrease of 83.3%; n=66 to n=11). Overall, the data shows a significant shift towards telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more participants choosing to telework even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
rate of job satisfaction with telework at the time when the COVID-19 pandemic measures were no longer mandatory.
The Rate of Participant Job Satisfaction with Telework After the COVID-19 Pandemic
According to the results, 82.2% of the participants (n=83) reported that they enjoy teleworking. A smaller group of participants, 12.9% (n=13), indicated that they did not feel any difference between teleworking and working in a traditional office. Only 5 of participants (; n=5) reported that they do not like telework. The group who reported that they do not like teleworking indicates that telework may not be the best fit for everyone. The group of participants who do not feel a difference between teleworking and working in a traditional office may indicate that teleworking is becoming more normalised and that participants are adapting well to this new mode of work. Overall, this data suggests that telework is generally well-received by employees, which may have important implications for the future of work and workplace flexibility.
The next question, “How many days a week do you prefer to telework?” aimed to measure the extent to which participants prefer teleworking as an alternative to traditional office work arrangements. The responses may significantly contribute to answering the initial component of the first research question regarding the current demand for telework among New Zealand's back- office personnel. Figure 4.6 illustrates the comparison between the participants' current rate of telework and their desired number of days per week to telework.
Comparison of the Participant’s Current and Desired Telework Rate
Despite the significant growth in telework following the COVID-19 pandemic, the data presented in Figure 4.6 suggest that participants had a higher preference for teleworking than the current rate available to them. According to the findings, the most preferred number of days per week for teleworking among participants was 3-4 days, with 45.5% (n=46) of participants
indicating this preference. The following preference was “Full-time”, 25.7% (n=26) of participants. Slightly fewer participants, 22.8% (n=23), preferred to telework “1-2 days per week”.
The least preferred was “Not teleworking”, with only 5.9% (n=6) of participants.
The data reveals gaps in each telework category when comparing the current telework rate to participants' preferences. In the “3-4 days per week” category, the data indicates that 21.1%
more participants would prefer to telework (n=38 current compared to n=46 desired). Similarly, in the “Full-time” category, the data show that 18.2% more participants would select this preference (n=22 current compared to n=26 desired). Additionally, the data reveals that 45.5%
fewer participants want to work full time in a traditional office and want to have the telework option (n=11 current compared to n=6 desired). Moreover, the data suggest that 23.3% fewer participants want to telework “1-2 days per week” (n=30 current compared to n=23 desired). These gaps indicate that not only an additional number of participants want to have a telework option, but participants would prefer higher intensity in telework with a decrease in the “1-2 days per week” and “Not teleworking” categories and growth in the “3-4 days per week” and “Full-time”
While the difference in desired and current telework preference rates may seem insignificant at around 20%, it is worth noting that such a figure can have important implications.
However, the situation becomes more pronounced when the desired and pre-COVID-19 rates are compared, as illustrated in Figure 4.7.
Comparison of the Participant’s Before the COVID-19 Pandemic and Desired Telework Rate
The findings illustrated in Figure 4.7 reveal a substantial difference in the three telework categories. Notably, there is a significant disparity between the number of participants who previously worked “3-4 days per week” and those who preferred to telework this number of days, with the desired rate exceeding the rate by approximately 6.6 times (n=7 previously compared to n=46 desired). Similarly, the “Full-time” category shows a significant difference, with the desired rate being 2.6 times higher than the previous rate (n=10 previously compared to n=26 desired).
However, the most dramatic difference is observed in the “Not teleworking” category, where the desired rate is 11 times lower than the the pre-COVID-29 pandemic rate (n=66 previously compared to n=6 desired). These findings suggest that participants are showing a strong preference for telework, particularly for the “3-4 days per week” and “Full-time” categories, while the
traditional office-based work is becoming increasingly less desirable. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organisations and employees to adopt telework, significantly increasing telework rates. Given this development, it is difficult to picture a scenario where the telework rate reverts to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level. Moreover, it seems that a considerable portion of the workforce has become accustomed to this way of working. Therefore, it is probable that the telework rate will remain higher than the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.