With the Coronavirus lockdown having led to mass home working, companies and employees alike have had plenty to learn about flexible working.
While 2020 has been full of turmoil and uncertainty, we can take these insights and use them to improve employee satisfaction and business resilience in the future.
Here’s what we’ve learned about home working over the last few months.
While some have yearned for flexible working opportunities since long before coronavirus, others have just had their first experience of home working—and they like it. In fact, a survey by Adzooma found that, in light of lockdown, 60% of people would now work from home if given the choice.
People are also spending less by working from home. Finder reports that, on average, Brits are saving £44.78 per week by not commuting or purchasing lunch. That essentially means an extra £2,328.56 on their annual salary.
Coupled with a flexible schedule, being able to spend more time with their families and not having to dress professionally, there’s a lot to love about working from home that people don’t want to give up.
At the height of lockdown, it was found that 60% of the UK’s adult population was working from home during lockdown. Companies have had to find a way to get things done through remote working, and it seems that it has been successful for many.
It therefore feels unreasonable to remove flexible working options in the future once things return to normal. Where employees have proven that their roles can be performed remotely, managers must take notice and continue to treat them as such. Failure to do so may cause companies to lose valuable people to competitors that do offer flexible working.
This desire for home working opportunities isn’t new, either. A survey in 2019 by Adler found that flexible working is the most sought-after benefit, with 48% of UK workers valuing this over pension schemes and performance bonuses. For many, lockdown has simply cemented the importance of this perk.
Before COVID-19, only 5% of employees in the UK mainly worked from home
Although workers have a statutory right to request flexible working arrangements, employers are able to deny a request if it is deemed unsuitable. They may believe that a certain role cannot be performed remotely, or they may not trust employees to complete their work properly without supervision.
However, working from home has actually been found to boost productivity, which is hugely beneficial for businesses. Finder’s research showed that two-thirds of employers saw increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.
The shared experience of companies being in lockdown at the same time also means that many new home working solutions have been developed. This has given the British workforce unprecedented access to useful tools to manage people, track workflows and communicate with teams, leading to even greater productivity.
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