Home-working - 3 Years On

Posted in : HR Updates on 30 May 2023
Olga Pollock
firmus energy
Issues covered: Remote and Hybrid Working

Covid-19 government guidance catapulted workers from offices to home almost overnight at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Such measures revolutionised working arrangements and changed expectations of where and how we work, as the balance of power shifted from employer to employee.

Despite homeworking restrictions being lifted, many organisations did not experience a large-scale return of office workers to their desks. According to the Office for National Statistics, 8 in 10 workers who had to work from home during the pandemic said they planned to hybrid work in the future. Employees have grown to love working from home and the flexibility that comes with it including, not least, improved work-life balance and reduced workplace commuting. Many employers’ hands are tied as those that do enforce office-working risk higher staff turnover with flexibility now being regarded as a given rather than a perk. Candidates have also come to expect at least some level of remote-working and employers failing to offer such are likely to struggle to fill vacancies.

On the other hand, employers miss the comradery, creativity and collaboration that comes from people working together, side-by-side. Many organisations that try to encourage a return to the office are caught in a vicious cycle as workers discouraged by empty seats and lack of atmosphere are more likely to stay at home in future.

Hybrid working appears to be the best compromise with staff enjoying the flexibility of working flexibility between office and home and employers benefiting from having busier, more vibrant workplaces, albeit not at pre-pandemic levels.

From my own perspective, hybrid working is definitely a massive benefit. I can be up, ready and at my laptop before I’d even be leaving the house to drive to work. My productivity too is often better at home without any distractions. That said, I do sympathise with employers. The benefits I have outlined suit me personally but where does my team and the wider business come into play? Many of us have become much more insular and isolated from our colleagues and I wonder what the longer-term impact on culture will be.

Technology is a wonderful tool and was certainly an enabler when we needed it most during Covid-19, but let’s face it, nothing beats being together in person and looking someone in the eye. There are also the impromptu conversations and knowledge-sharing that are integral to human interaction.

Meetings in a physical location are much more effective as are interviews when both parties can get a feel for each other. We are social animals after all and whilst homeworking has many benefits it’s hard not to wonder at what price?

Legal Island Training Resources for Your Staff

Protecting Data when Hybrid Working | eLearning Course

Are you responsible for overseeing the implementation of training for all employees in your organisation? If you have staff within your organisation who work between the office and home, it is crucial that they understand their responsibilities and obligations under data protection law. This means that they are better equipped to protect your organisation against a cyber attack. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) advises it is good practice to provide all staff with data protection training on or shortly after starting employment. Legal Island’s Protecting Data in a Hybrid World eLearning course is tailored specifically to provide all your employees with comprehensive training and you with an evidence trail for the ICO, should a data breach occur.

Click here to view our course on protecting data when hybrid working. 

This article is correct at 30/05/2023

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Olga Pollock
firmus energy

The main content of this article was provided by Olga Pollock. Contact telephone number is +44 (0)79 7389 3448 or email oppollock@firmusenergy.co.uk

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