Over recent years there has been a gradual shift towards flexible working options. When the government announced in March that employees should work from home wherever possible, companies quickly scrambled to upgrade existing work from home options for their employees. This involved setting up remote working hubs, enabling workers to do their jobs from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Many employers had to find completely new ways of doing things which had previously been done in the office; and companies had concerns regarding how effective the new measures would be when compared to the traditional way of working.
A new study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, which looked at data from 1,000 employers, has shown that overall work from home measures have been an overwhelming succes. One in four respondents reported an increase in productivity. The study also highlighted an overall trend of employees feeling happier with their work-life balance and there have also been notable increases in individuals gaining new skills in areas such as IT. Although there have also been negatives noted, such as employers having more difficulty in monitoring staff performance, it would seem that the benefits have outweighed the challenges.
With major companies such as Twitter and, FTSE 100 company, Schroders having already announced their intentions to let employees work from home indefinitely, it seems as though other businesses may well follow suit. While it is unlikely that working remotely full-time will become the norm for the majority of employees, it is looking like more companies will encourage a balance of working from home and only going to the office when necessary. A third of companies in the CIPD study said that they have plans to increase flexible working options after the Coronavirus restrictions have been lifted; and the Welsh government have said that they aim for 30% of the workforce being able to adopt flexible working options.