A recent study carried out by the Office for National Statistics, looking at work patterns over the last 10 years, has revealed that during the pandemic employees working from home have done almost double the amount of unpaid overtime compared with non-homeworkers, and compared to overtime levels across the board in previous years.
Sickness absence levels for homeworkers also fell during the pandemic. This does suggest that people may be working through illness rather than taking time off, which, although not necessarily always a good thing, has been beneficial to employers.
The study shows that overall the increase in home working arrangements during lockdown has had significant benefits both for employers and staff alike. Many employees want to retain a more flexible working pattern in future and equally a number of employers are recognising the benefits to business in either continuing with full-time home working or a hybrid arrangement. Happy staff are invariably more productive, and flexibility creates loyalty so this can be a win win situation.
Employers that are considering introducing more flexible working patterns long-term post Covid-19 should discuss and consult with staff about it, as notwithstanding that this may be welcomed by many, this would constitute a change to terms and conditions which needs to be agreed with staff. It is also worth bearing in mind that, whilst the data suggests these people may now be in the minority, some staff are happier and more productive in a more formal workplace setting and may not welcome such changes in the long-term.
Should you require advice on changing terms and conditions of employment, and/or flexible working, please contact Marie Allen on 01473 298133 or email [email protected].