Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic: benefits, challenges and considerations for future ways of working

To understand in the short-term how employees may respond to a policy, such as working from home, this report draws on a rapid review of relevant literature (from 2020-2022) and responses from an open-ended survey with members of the public in Scotland.

Annex A: Open text survey

An online survey was launched on 24 January and closed on 13 February 2022. It was publically available on the Scottish Government website and it was promoted through the Scottish Government Facebook page. A link to the survey was also shared via a range of over 30 organisations in the third and public sector. An easy read version of the survey was provided and respondents could request a paper copy to return by post, if they wished. The aim was to reach a diverse group of people with varied experiences and life circumstances to provider greater understanding on wellbeing and where additional support may be required. The main limitation to this type of research is that the sample was self-selecting and therefore not representative of the wider Scottish population.

Questions included (bold indicates the question we focused on for this review):

1. How do you feel at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic?

2. How do you feel thinking about the year ahead?

3. Which protective measures do you find the easiest to follow and why?

4. Which protective measures do you find the hardest to follow and why?

5. What has made it difficult for you to follow measures and guidance?

6. In the last 3 months have you or your household self-isolated because of COVID-19?

If yes, what factors made this easier or more difficult?

7. Please tell us about any of your experiences with the following (if they are relevant to you), and how it has impacted on you or your household:

  • your neighbourhood and amenities
  • unpaid caring responsibilities
  • working from home
  • reduced social contact and social interaction
  • regular testing

8. What kind of help would make you feel generally safer and more supported at the moment?

In total, 3162 responses were received. This included, 70% who identified as female, a range of ages but most (51%) were aged between 35- 54 years. A third (32%) were 55-69 years and 11% were under 35 years. 92% identified as White (Scottish, Irish, British or White Other). A quarter of the respondents identified as having a long-standing physical or mental impairment, illness or disability and 22% stated that they were in an unpaid carer role. Most (60%) were in employment, 8% were self-employed and 15% were retired.

Responses were downloaded and analysed thematically by Scottish Government researchers. This involved a team of researchers, reading and rereading the responses to become familiar with the data and identify patterns and initial codes. Preliminary themes were then identified, reviewed and then finalised. Excerpts from different respondents were used to illustrate these themes.

A report with the full findings (Coronavirus (COVID-19) and society: what matters to people in Scotland? - ( has been published on the Scottish Government website.



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