SALT LAKE CITY — A dog barks, a child cries. Has this become the new normal for Zoom meetings during work from home amid a pandemic?
A new survey examined the impact working from home has on families. Zeroing in on Zoom meetings alone, kids interrupted working parents an average of 25 times during a week since the beginning of the school year.
But parents have also disrupted their children’s online instruction about six times since the school year began, according to the survey.
Nate McDonald with the state Department of Workforce Services (DWS) joins Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to discuss the study’s findings as reported in People magazine. The survey, conducted by OnePoll for Sittercity, involved 2,000 American parents who have school-aged children.
Is work from home here to stay?
“Does it seem like more and more employers are leaning toward keeping people home after the pandemic ends and allowing them to work from the kitchen table?” Debbie asked.
McDonald said DWS has heard from employers who have embraced teleworking. He added that the pandemic has forced employers to keep employees safe but also maintain operations; in these circumstances, teleworking becomes a necessary tool.
“And it has proven in many instances that it can be done whereas before it was thought that it couldn’t be done,” McDonald said.
Productivity is a must
“Have we seen any numbers, do we have any idea — is teleworking affecting productivity one way or another?” Dave asked.
“That’s where some of the negative is coming in,” McDonald said. He said some employers are concerned about a disconnect between staff members working remotely, and a loss in productivity. But, he added, some employers say they see improved productivity during the pandemic.
McDonald advised employees who must continue to telework, perhaps due to health issues or because of childcare concerns, to maintain or improve productivity.
“If you want this to be a long-term solution, you got to show your employer that productivity doesn’t drop, and that you’re able to maintain or increase it as a result of working from home. And that’s going to be the best way of this being a long-term solution for you,” he said.
Eye-opening for many employers
Debbie said an acquaintance of hers, who has two young boys, told her the other day that it took a pandemic for her employer to recognize that her pitch to work from home over several years would indeed be feasible.
McDonald said the state government, including DWS, is moving toward creating more teleworking jobs.
“It [the pandemic] has definitely created a movement and opened that world up for many employers,” he said, emphasizing that productivity still must be maintained or increased.
“It’s still got to work, no question,” Dave said.
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