The number of employees working from home on a regular basis will increase to 37%, compared to 18% before the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, according to research by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Its survey of 1,046 employers also found that respondents expect almost a quarter (22%) of employees to work from home permanently, compared to 9% before the pandemic.
More than one-quarter (28%) of respondents believe that working remotely increases their productivity, compared to the same percentage who believe this decreases productivity. Just over one-third (37%) believe that working remotely has not had any effect on productivity levels whatsoever.
Just over two-fifths (44%) of employers are introducing measures to support employees working remotely. Furthermore, two-thirds (66%) of these employers are planning to change their policies relating to remote working, while 46% intend to introduce line management training to better manage virtual teams.
Additionally, one-third (33%) of businesses are set to introduce new forms of remote working. The majority of these businesses (70%) will look to introduce remote working on a regular basis, 45% will introduce permanent flexible working arrangements, 40% will introduce part-time hours in the office, followed by 39% introducing flexi-time, 25% looking at offering compressed hours and a further 16% implementing term-time working hours.
Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said: “The pandemic is going to have a long-lasting effect on how we work, with a step-change in the proportion of people who work from home on a much more regular basis. This will disrupt some existing patterns of economic activity, for example spending by employees in town and city centres is likely to drop substantially over the long-term and we will see a further shift to online retail.
“However, the advantages will be considerable for employers and staff. Organisations will be able to hire people from a much wider geographic area, and reduced time and money spent on commuting will take the pressure off our transport infrastructure and boost spending in local communities.
“Greater use of remote working will make work more accessible and sustainable for all, particularly for people with caring responsibilities and those with mobility or health concerns. This shift will support and encourage employers to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce which is good for the economy and society at large. For many people, more flexible-working opportunities and choice over when and where they work can give a better work-life balance and support for overall mental and physical wellbeing.
“However, many employers need to improve how they manage and support people who work from home more regularly and, crucially, also need to increase the range and uptake of other forms of flexible working so those people who are not able to work from home can work flexibly wherever possible in different ways. To support this wider shift to more flexible workplaces, we would like to see the right to request flexible working become a day-one right.”