‘Rule of 6’ shaking up workplace confidence

September saw the start of many furloughed or home working employees returning to the office, in line with a national winding down of the furlough scheme. But the new ‘rule of 6’ guidelines, restricting social gatherings at home to no more than 6 people, are causing tensions around the workplace. Angela Love, director at Active Workplace Solutions, says: “How can I tell my people it is safe to come to work when the government tells them they cannot mix with family and friends?” Others say the rules might bring more clarity, but many are concerned about office hygiene practices.  

One in four freelancers facing mental health issues

A new study has revealed that mental health issues in freelancers have increased by 300 per cent since the start of the pandemic. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, 26 per cent of freelancers say they had “poor” or “very poor” mental health. They blamed stress, anxiety and sleep loss for the changes. Experts are now suggesting co-working spaces could be the answer.

Remote working is not the answer – Netflix

The chairman of Netflix has denounced remote working, saying that working from home has no positive effects and “makes debating harder”. While the government continues to encourage us to return to the office, Chairman Reed Hastings says he predicts that employees will want to work from home for at least one day a week. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative,” Mr Hastings told the Wall Street Journal.  

IT questions your staff should be asking

IT teams are being advised to ask themselves a set of questions to continue adapting to a remote working setup. According to IT Pro Portal, they should be questioning whether or not they have a remote collaboration friendly application stack, like RosyBoa. They should also agree to use one platform only, and measure feature level engagement data to ensure they are getting the best from their user licences.  

Collaboration works better in the office, says Google

Akin to fellow tech giant Netflix, Google’s chief operation officer of real estate investment and development is also keen to encourage face to face collaboration. Mark Golan said: “In the act of creating a new product, the ‘figuring out’ part is very messy and requires input from a lot of different people.” Only by using visual tools with one ongoing communication stream like RosyBoa can all collaborators keep abreast of new projects.

COVID research reveals a ‘new Millennial’

Research from Trinity Business School has revealed that lockdown has “changed the way Millennials work”. In a series of semi-structured interviews, Millennials revealed their change in approaches to mediation, taking into account remote collaboration and the enhanced emphasis on technology. They were said to have adjusted to social distancing well, and in doing so uncovered new efficiencies for managing work performance that will be “challenging to undo”. The results also a revealed a change in organisational models, this time to the Lewin model.  

Best remote working locations revealed

Separate studies have revealed the best remote working locations in the world. In the UK, research carried out by Zoopla unveiled Birmingham as the best city to work outside of the office. The stats were based on average internet speed, number of people working from home, number of cafés, and average property price. On the world stage, it was Austin, Texas, that took the gong – a study by Carphone Warehouse concluded that Austin offered the best salaries, internet speeds and general quality of life.

Freelancer websites “thriving” through the crisis

The ongoing pandemic has led to an exponential rise in the use of freelance sites, according to reports from Bloomberg. Upwork noted a 50 per cent increase in user registrations since mid-March, while Freelancer.com saw a 30 per cent increase in sign-ups for US freelancers. In addition, more than 24,000 people are on the waiting list to join Braintrust, which offers projects for large companies such as Nestle.  

Major research project will scrutinise working hours

Freelancer working hours are set to come under scrutiny as part of The Time Project. With funding from the University of York’s Screen Industries Network, the study will aim to uncover patterns of behaviour and look for any signs of ‘overwork’ which could impact staff mental health and wellbeing. The study is set to start in September and will examine 20,000 participants.  

Quarter of a million “giving up the dream”

While freelancer sites may be thriving, new research shows that more than a quarter of a million of the UK’s self-employed workforce are considering returning to the office. Freelance numbers have fallen by 15 per cent since the end of June, with official statistics suggesting there are 238,000 fewer freelancers today than there were prior to the crisis. Andrew Chamberlain, of freelancing trade body IPSE, said the results were “concerning”, while another spokesperson called the pandemic the “perfect storm”.