A useful piece of research from the CIPD (cipd.co.uk) has found that two thirds of employers report home workers more or as productive as when in the workplace. It also highlights the risks of a two-tier workforce, showing that the gap is set to grow between home workers and other employees who have to go to work and have little flexibility.
New research by the CIPD shows the shift to home working over the pandemic has been a positive experience for most employers, who report people’s improved work-life balance (cited by 61% of employers), enhanced employee collaboration (43%) and improved focus (38%).
Overall, 28% of employers report that the increase in home working has boosted productivity, while 37% say it has not impacted productivity levels, with 28% of employers reporting a decrease.
However, the research also highlights the challenges of managing home workers with employers highlighting reduced staff mental wellbeing (47%), problems with staff interaction/co-operation (36%) and difficulties with line managing home workers (33%) and monitoring their performance (28%).
The research, Embedding New Ways of Working, is based on a survey of more than 1,000 employers and 12 in-depth organisation case studies. It shows the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges, and that a large majority of employers are planning to introduce or expand the use of home working once the crisis is over.
However, employers are much less likely to be planning to introduce or increase other forms of flexible working, for example: annualised hours, term-time working, compressed hours or job sharing, which can be used by workers who are unable to work from home.
The report warns employers to be careful to avoid the creation of a two-tier workforce. Essential workers and lower paid front line staff who are not able to work from home could be left behind when thinking about flexible working. Key findings show that:
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