NEWS25 August 2020

Majority of market researchers support home working

B2B Covid-19 News People UK

UK – The majority of the UK market research industry would like to work from home in some capacity in future, but some researchers have struggled with work/life balance during this period of remote working, according to research from Opinium. 

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Almost all ( 96%) of the participants surveyed for the 2020 survey on mental wellbeing in research said they wanted to work from home to some extent in future.

The survey, supported by the Market Research Society, found that over half ( 59%) reported that working from home has made them feel more relaxed, while 62% said that not commuting has improved their mental health.

When asked about the impact of ‘lockdown’ in general, 37% said it has improved their wellbeing and 33% reported the opposite. However, almost a third of survey participants reported they found it harder to keep in contact with colleagues and almost half said they had struggled to find the right balance between work and rest.

Mental wellbeing scores, measured by Opinium using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, have remained stable in the industry this year, compared with the 2019 findings.

The second annual survey also found that over half ( 57%) of participants had told someone at work about a mental health struggle in the past year, compared with 36% in the 2019 research.

Of those who had struggled with their mental health, 28% said they had not taken time off because they felt it was not a valid reason to do so – down from the 40% who reported feeling that way in the 2019 survey.

James Endersby, chief executive, Opinium, said: "It’s a pivotal moment for both our industry and society as a whole. Covid-19 has impacted not only the way we live, but our expectations of, and priorities for, the future. Our response to the challenges posed by the crisis, to the pressures and concerns they place upon both the mental and physical wellbeing of our colleagues and friends, will continue to have widespread and long-lasting repercussions."

Jane Frost, chief executive, MRS, said: "Leaders must seize opportunities to learn from these months of lockdown, listen to their teams and reflect their positive and negative experiences. In the research sector, the view is overwhelmingly in favour of some degree of flexible working in the future, but there are also significant aspects and structures of office life that practitioners have been missing.  

"Blending the two – finding new ways to engender workplace culture, serendipity and creativity, while retaining the benefits of fewer stressful commutes and the greater childcare flexibility that working from home provides – will be vital in supporting the mental wellbeing of workforces in the future."

1,143 UK researchers completed the survey. The results of the research will be discussed during a webinar on Wednesday 26th August