As the world slowly begins to open up again, there is a growing body of research to suggest
that the workplace will never return to former operational patterns. A report by the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that 40% of employers now
expect over half their workforce to work regularly from home.
Given that before the pandemic, 65% of employers either did not offer regular working from
home at all, or offered it to less than 10% of their workforce, this represents a dramatic
culture change. For most organisations, this will involve working out a hybrid system, where
the workforce divides their time between the home and the office.
Employees have come to appreciate the flexibility to choose the location of their work,
which can lead to a better work-life balance, saved commuting time and costs, and more
chance to work without interruptions.
For employers, there is the opportunity to downsize the office space, as only part of the
workforce will be present at any one time. However, hybrid working does present extra
challenges in terms of communication and inclusion, HR News reports. All team members
must have clearly defined roles and be kept in the loop with new information.
The decision about which roles can be carried out from home, and whether employees are
free to choose which and how many days they spend in the office, should be set out in all
legal documents, including the employee contract, employee handbook, and HR policy.
Employers will still be liable to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of their
remote staff, including mental wellbeing, so a system of regular checks should be put in
place. Of course, the office must also comply with Covid-safe measures, such as spaced out
desks, handwashing stations, efficient ventilation and one-way systems.
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