More Than a Third of Bosses Report Increase in Staff Working from Home
A recent study conducted by Acas, the government-funded arbitration service, has revealed that over a third of bosses have reported an increase in staff working from home compared to the previous year. The research suggests that the rising cost of living, including commuting expenses, is likely a major factor contributing to this trend.
The survey, which involved more than 1,000 employers, found that 36% of them experienced an increase in staff working from home in 2023. On the other hand, 51% reported no change in remote working arrangements. These findings indicate that the gradual return of employees to offices and other workplaces following the COVID-19 lockdowns may be slowing down or even reversing.
Prior research has also shown a significant rise in home working compared to the pre-pandemic era. Acas chief executive Susan Clews commented on the study, stating, “The cost of living pressures are impacting many people, and it is unsurprising that over a third of employers have seen an increase in staff working from home. For some workers, the cost of commuting is eating into their budgets, while for others, going to their workplaces saves on home energy costs.”
It is crucial for businesses to collaborate with their staff to establish suitable ways of working for specific roles, taking into account individual circumstances and regularly reviewing arrangements. This approach will help address the challenges posed by the changing work landscape.
Changes in the Law to Facilitate Hybrid Working Arrangements
This research comes ahead of an upcoming change in the law aimed at making it easier for employees to request hybrid working arrangements, including working from home. Currently, employees must wait 26 weeks before making a request for flexible working. However, under the new rule expected to be implemented next year, employees can make such requests from day one, and employers will be required to respond promptly.
Acas has urged companies to clearly communicate their policies to their staff and be transparent about the reasons for rejecting any requests for flexible working. This will help foster a positive work environment and ensure that employees feel supported in their work-life balance.
As the work landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for businesses to adapt and embrace flexible working arrangements. By doing so, they can attract and retain top talent while promoting employee well-being and productivity.
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