Employer’s Experiences of the Covid-19 Lockdown and Homeworking

Information sheet

Thank you for taking an interest in this exciting new joint project between the Work Autonomy, Flexibility and Work-life Balance Project, based at the University of Kent and the Equal Parenting Project, based at the University of Birmingham.

Study Purpose and Rationale

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020 and the UK government announced a comprehensive lockdown across the entire country on the 23rd March 2020, which limited all unnecessary travel and required all non-essential workers to work from home where possible. These changes have had a dramatic impact on people’s lives, working patterns and family relationships. In this research, we aim to understand how this pandemic, lockdown and working from home has been managed by managers and organisations, and how it will influence the nature of work post lockdown. This survey will inform UK government and company policies on flexible working.

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

To be eligible to participate in this research, participants must be at least 18 years old, reside in the United Kingdom, be in dependent employment (not self-employed) and line manage employees. Individuals who do not meet all of the inclusion criteria stated above will not be eligible to participate in this study.

Participation Procedures and Duration

You will be asked to complete an online survey in Qualtrics. Each organisation will be provided the link directly. This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. The survey will focus on how you have managed staff during the COVID-19 lockdown, working patterns, levels of trust and attitudes to homeworking across the organisation since the COVID-19 lockdown.

Data Confidentiality or Anonymity

All data will remain confidential and any quotes or data used in final outputs will be anonymised. Identifying information will only be collected in the form of email addresses if you choose to enter the prize draw.

Storage of Data and Data Retention Period

The data will be stored on a password protected computer accessed only by the research team members. Future data sets may be generated without any personal or identifying information and deposited to the UK Data Archive[1] indefinitely to inform other researchers on future studies on work and organisations.

Your input in this survey will be of great benefit for the research to understand how the lockdown and home working have impacted working patterns and attitudes to homeworking. The data will be used to help inform government and company policies on these issues. We are working closely with several government bodies to ensure your opinions are heard by key policy makers.

Researcher Contact Information

This research project is a joint project by researchers based at the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham. It has gone through and has been approved by SRC Ethics Panel of the University of Kent School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. For more information about your rights as a participant, please refer to the University of Kent’s privacy notice: https://research.kent.ac.uk/researchservices/privacy-notice/

For more information about this research, you can contact Dr. Sarah Forbes S.Forbes@bham.ac.uk or Dr. Heejung Chung. H.Chung@kent.ac.uk .

To raise any concerns about the ethical nature of this project, please contact the Chair of the ethics committee Karen Jones: K.C.Jones@kent.ac.uk.

[1] The UK Data Archive is a national centre of expertise in data archiving in the United Kingdom. It houses the largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities in the UK. It is certified under the Data Seal of Approval as a trusted digital repository. For more see: https://www.data-archive.ac.uk/