A survey of 280 CHROs reveals more than two thirds (67%) of organisations plan to encourage employees to work remotely more often after lockdown, with 26% planning to significantly increase remote working. That’s according to HR technology firm HRLocker.
For most, the long-term plan is to introduce some form of dual working, where time is split between working from the office and an alternative location such as home, with 42% envisioning employees spending a minimum of two days per week out of the office. Just 7% of organisations expressed that remote working was not a feasible option.
The main reason given for this switch to dual working is to create a better work/ life balance for employees (73%), followed by cost savings, such as office rent, travel subsidies, etc. (58%). Interestingly, despite the majority of business (64%) recording an increase in productivity, this was only a key consideration for one in three (35%) employers.
Technology has played a critical role in enabling organisations to continue operating through the lockdown. 93% of respondents said they had utilised technology to manage employees during the pandemic. Internal communications applications, such as Zoom and Teams, have been by far the most popular technologies, with 92% of respondents stating they use them.
However, other software tools have been adopted to support HR functions, including training & development and project management (both 54%), time management (29%) and productivity (25%).
Adam Coleman, CEO at HRLocker, comments, “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. 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.”
Throughout the lockdown, employee stress has been a matter of significant concern for many (35%) UK businesses, being overshadowed only by worries over the negative impact on sales, which 52% of respondents reported had been extremely challenging.
Most employers have taken measures to manage employee wellbeing during the lockdown, with one-to-one management calls (80%) being the most popular method. This is followed by promotion of mental wellbeing (61%), for example through subscriptions to Headspace, and promotion of physical wellbeing (50%) via yoga classes, prompts to move, etc. Worryingly, however, almost one in 12 (8%) claim to have done nothing to manage employee wellbeing.
Considering the significant percentage of organisations planning to move to a dual working model, employers must remember the still have a duty of care to their employees.
“Remote working presents its own set of HR challenges that must be addressed if it is to sustainable in the long- term. Out of sight should not mean out of mind. Adequate processes and tools must be introduced to ensure those working remotely do not being to feel isolated, that their workloads are manageable, and they are engaged. A happy and healthy worker is a productive worker,” states Coleman.