Number of employers finding positives in remote working rises

A new CIPD survey shows more employers now think homeworking and hybrid working has increased their organisation’s productivity and efficiency.

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More employers think a rise in homeworking has increased their organisation’s productivity or efficiency since 2021, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

In December 2020 a third said homeworking had increased their organisation’s productivity or efficiency, but in October/November 2021, this rose to over two-fifths (41%) for homeworking and hybrid working. Meanwhile, the number who say it has had a negative effect on productivity has fallen from 23% to 18%. The research comes amid reports that Number 10 supports Jacob Rees-Mogg’s tactics to get civil servants back to the office.

The survey of over 1,000 employers and 2,000 employees also found that, despite the positive findings and worker demand, some employers are still clinging on to pre-pandemic ways of working.  One in four (25%) employers want their employees to be in the office/on site all the time, while 39% of employees would like to work from home all or most of the time going forward.

The survey also shows that 63% of employees who can work in a hybrid way still haven’t been asked about their future working preferences. Another finding is that there is Some concern about inclusion issues around hybrid and homeworking. Nearly half (48%) of employers are worried about this, while a quarter of employees are concerned about being treated less favourably if they work in this way compared with colleagues that are in the workplace. Meanwhile, 56% of organisations believe it’s important to provide flexible working as an option when advertising jobs.

The CIPD has been promoting a day-one right to flexible working through its #FlexFrom1st campaign since February 2021. The Government consulted on this last year, but so far there has been no outcome of the consultation published.

The CIPD says employers should develop flexible working in consultation with employees based on principles of equality.

Claire McCartney, senior policy adviser for resourcing and inclusion at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “Consulting with employees is a big part of developing inclusive hybrid and flexible working practices. Employers who listen and are open to testing, learning and adapting will benefit from a more diverse workforce and the ability to retain and attract a wide range of talent. This is particularly crucial at a time where the labour market is so tight.

“Everyone should have the chance to benefit from more choice about when, where and how they work. This can lead to increased wellbeing and engagement, and enhanced performance, all of which can lead to the productivity gains many employers are reporting.”

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