Two thirds (67%) of UK chief HR officers plan to encourage employees to work remotely on a regular basis after lockdown.
In a survey by software company HRLocker, creating a better work/life balance was cited as the top reason (by 73%) for encouraging more remote work in the future. Cost savings, including office rent and travel, were also a key factor for 58% of those encouraging the move.
Mona Akiki, VP of people at Perkbox, agrees with this trend. She told HR magazine: “Most organisations have realised that any previous work from home concerns were likely overblown.
“In a remote environment, what worked for us was to stay true to our culture, believe in our employees and support them through any hardships. A remote environment doesn’t worry us anymore.”
Dual working, splitting time between both the office and home, is expected to become more commonplace and 42% of CHROs in HRLockers’ survey said they see employees spending at least two days per week outside the office.
Echoing Akiki’s comment about overblown concerns Adam Coleman, CEO at HRLocker, said: “It’s crazy to think it took a pandemic for us to realise the multiple benefits of dual working. Beyond the initial indicators in this report, dual working can support innovation and collaboration, increase creativity and reduce unconscious bias.”
Akiki also predicted that a ‘fully-remote’ workforce would be unlikely. She said it “defeats the ethos of flexibility, so we are likely to continue to have a physical space where we can gather, work and play.
“We will however not mandate that every employee come into the office every day. Those days are gone.”
Most HRLocker respondents said that they have taken measures to maintain employee wellbeing outside of the office. Eighty per cent of employers said they had been managing employee wellbeing through one-to-one calls, and 61% said they have been promoting mental wellbeing services.
However, some HR officers (8%) admitted to not having done anything to manage employee’s mental and physical health. Coleman warned that when it comes to wellbeing, out of sight should not mean out of mind.
He said: “Adequate processes and tools must be introduced to ensure those working remotely do not begin to feel isolated, that their workloads are manageable, and they are engaged. A happy and healthy worker is a productive worker.”
HRLocker’s findings in favour of more remote work come despite a Visier survey which found almost half (47%) of workers said they believe their employer will ditch widespread remote working once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Coleman added: “I believe companies that embrace the shift to this healthier, more efficient way of working, will emerge stronger and more successful in the long run.”
HRLocker’s survey was based on the individual responses of 280 chief HR officers at UK organisations.