Citation | Homeworking’s here to stay

Homeworking’s here to stay

Business owners across the UK are embracing the new trend of homeworking as a workforce of trustworthy Brits have proven themselves able to do their jobs efficiently from home. Working remotely at the beginning of the pandemic seemed to be a temporary measure, but it’s become clear that implementing a longer-term homeworking strategy can have a real positive impact on your business.

Our exclusive new research shows that COVID-19 may have redefined what it means to be a boss in the ‘new normal’. The majority of employers (61%) are more likely to allow staff to work from home in the long-term than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our HR and Employment Law experts conducted a survey and reached out to nearly 1,000 employers from industries including construction, education, financial services, nurseries and the food and beverage sector. When we asked them about their homeworking strategy, we found that:

  • 88% of employers said they trusted their staff to work from the comfort of their own homes – despite potential distractions from external factors such as children, pets, TV and housework, and the fact they have less visibility on what staff are doing.
  • Almost all of the businesses surveyed (94%) said they had not considered tools to monitor staff output – only 2% of those questioned said they had employed a homeworking supervisor.
  • More than half of those surveyed (56%) said their employees now have a better work-life balance than they did before the pandemic.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of UK employers admit staff are saving previously wasted time on commutes, while 59% said staff are also saving time on travelling to meetings that can now be done virtually.
  • More than a fifth of bosses (21%) said staff had been more productive since working from home, while 31% said they hadn’t noticed a difference in productivity levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down, but these statistics show how remote working can promote productivity and a time and cost-effective way of working.

Workers are no longer crowding onto public transport on their way to busy offices, and companies are increasingly relying on technology to keep staff connected.

It’s important to note however some of the disadvantages that our clients raised with us when conducting the survey which included:

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of employers said they had less visibility on what staff were doing, while 61% said there was a lack of team camaraderie.
  • Almost half (47%) said there was no clear work-home divide, while 67% said it was harder to gauge how staff were coping.
  • More than two-fifths (41%) also said it was harder to train and motivate staff remotely.

 

Our Head of Employment Law, Gill McAteer, said:

“Remote working is likely to be with us for a long time, and it is positive to see so many employers trusting their staff to crack on with their jobs from the comfort of their own homes. Even large businesses which previously favoured the traditional office format are embracing homeworking.

As our research shows, homeworking gives employees a boost to their work-life balance. Workers are relishing the extra hours they no longer spend on laborious commutes to work, and most employers report homeworking has had a positive or little impact on productivity levels. Trust is one of the most important factors for employee motivation, and the British workforce is thriving because of it.

But of course there are drawbacks. People miss the camaraderie between colleagues, and it can be difficult for workers to form relationships virtually.

That said, there are things employers can do to encourage positive relationships amongst their staff when they are working remotely. Regular team meetings, where employees are encouraged to talk about aspects of their lives outside work, can help to build strong bonds, and virtual competitions, quizzes, and coffee mornings can have the same effect.”

In need of additional support?

At Citation, we have seen calls from employers seeking advice on how to adapt to homeworking increase by 500% over the last six months, so it’s clear many businesses have accepted homeworking is here to say. If you need any advice or guidance on making homeworking work for you and your business, our experts are available 24/7, 365 days a year on our advice line on 0345 844 4848.

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