New research claims that employers expect the proportion of people working from home on a regular basis to increase to 37% compared to just 18% before the pandemic.
Overall, employers believe that people working from home are just as productive as other workers. These employers have experienced homeworking due to the lockdown and have seen its benefits which they say - have increasing productivity and efficiency.
Companies reported that during the lockdown period around 50% of the workforce was working from home. Due to the shift for more regular homeworking and other forms of flexible working, it is being suggested that the right to request flexible working from your employer should available as soon as you start work, rather than after 26 weeks as currently required.
The Government is also to consult on whether to make flexible working the default position unless employers have a good reason not to.
The CIPD’s survey found that many employers are already getting ready for a more flexible future. 44% of employers have said that they are putting in place more additional measures or spend to support home working. Of these, 66% plan to change their policies to reflect the move to more home working and 46% plan more line management training in managing and supporting home workers.
33% of employers have stated that they will introduce new forms of flexible working or that will try and increase the uptake of existing flexible working arrangements.
Peter Cheese, the Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “The pandemic is going to have a long-lasting effect on how we work, with a step change in the proportion of people who work from home on a much more regular basis. This will disrupt some existing patterns of economic activity, for example spending by office workers in town and city centres is likely to drop substantially over the long-term and we will see a further shift to online retail.”
Time and money spent on commuting, is set to reduce and will take pressure off transport infrastructure and boost spending in local communities.
“However, the advantages will be considerable for employers and workers. Organisations will be able to hire people from a much wider geographic area and reduced time and money spent on commuting will take pressure off transport infrastructure and boost spending in local communities.
“Greater use of home working will make work more accessible and sustainable for all, particularly for people with caring responsibilities and those with mobility or health concerns. This shift will support and encourage employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce which is good for the economy and society at large. For many people more flexible working opportunities and choice over when and where they work can give a better work-life balance and support for overall mental and physical wellbeing.
“However, many employers need to improve how they manage and support people who work from home more regularly and crucially also need to increase the range and uptake of other forms of flexible working so those people who are not able to work from home can work flexibly wherever possible in different ways. To support this wider shift to more flexible workplaces we would like to see the right to request flexible working become a day one right.”
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