How flexible will employers’ working from home approach be post-pandemic?

July 28, 2020

With employers being given ‘more discretion’ by the Prime Minister (as from 1 August) to consider how their staff can continue to work safely – what will the future hold for flexible working?

Karen Dykes, recruitment partner at Anne Corder Recruitment, said: “Pre-pandemic, many bosses may have been a little sceptical about their workforce spending the 9-5 at home; with the temptation perhaps of using their time less productively than they would in an office setting.

“However, with virtual meetings, Skype and other means of keeping in touch; the opportunity for displaying an ‘out of office’ or diverting calls to voicemail have been few and far between!

“On the whole, the perception of remote working has been largely positive; employees have become more trusting of staff managing their time efficiently, and employees are now flying the flag for a more flexible approach to working.”

There have also been some positives for workers; less time spent commuting, more time to carry out domestic tasks and a great opportunity to exercise during their lunch break – as well as having more family time.

As some businesses prepare for a COVID-safe return to the workplace, others are content with supporting their remote workforce. All this has given rise to the question of what lies ahead for the future of flexible working and how can employers prepare themselves and their business for a predicted demand in working from home requests?

1 Think about producing or re-writing a flexible working policy

2 Engage and communicate with staff and consider their own experiences, requests and reservations

3 Consider how your own attitudes and those of your team may have changed to working from home during lock down

4 Be aware that you may be working from home for some time yet; particularly if some staff are nervous about a return to the workplace; despite the introduction of safety and social distancing measure

5 Think about how successful WFH has been up until now.

Karen added: “The guidance is likely to change week on week, and employers must do what they feel is best and safe for them and their staff. Whatever the decision, one thing is for sure – the pandemic has almost certainly changed the face of office working for good.”