Is the construction industry prepared to work from home?

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Work from home, coronavirus, construction and engineering

UK construction and civil engineering is one of the least prepared industries to work from home, figures released by Leesman show

Leesman has surveyed more than 700,000 employees worldwide. Of the 19,906 of those working in the UK construction and civil engineering space within its index, 49% have no home working experience, compared with 52% of overall respondents globally.

Many British businesses have released Covid-19 contingency plans including compulsory home working policies, and some have begun to close sites and ban external visitors.

As the UK government now asks even mildly sick people to stay home, leading researchers have suggested British workers who can work from home should be advised to do so, regardless of whether they are symptomatic, to reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus and fuelling the outbreak by spreading it to others.

Leesman’s data suggests the construction and civil engineering space must brace itself for reduced productivity and innovation. Of the employees across the industry that do work from home occasionally, 91% typically do so for just one day a week or less, and just 0.3% work from home for more than four days per week. Only 32% of sporadic home workers in the industry have a dedicated room to work from.

Actions businesses are having to take in response to Covid-19

Leesman is mobilising research tools that will enable employers across the private and public sector to support the new remote workforce.

The Leesman Index rating, which covers more than 90 indicators of the physical, virtual and social workplace infrastructures, shows how employees are supported and monitors key economic indicators like personal and collective productivity, knowledge transfer and pride.

“employers and employees across the construction and civil engineering space will be out of their depth”

– Tim oldman

Tim Oldman, Leesman CEO, said: “Homeworking will undoubtedly prove pivotal in limiting the impact of coronavirus crisis. But the data suggests that many employers and employees across the construction and civil engineering space will be out of their depth should British businesses be forced into lockdown.

“Our advice is for organisations to quickly quantify where their main obstacles will be and seek support. We know how and why corporate offices impact employee sentiment but have significantly less understanding of even the short-term impact of dispersing teams to environments designed for living, not working.

“Industries must brace themselves, but the construction and civil engineering space must remain one of the most cautious.”

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