ABSTRACT explore the benefits of trusting employees to work from home
26/07/2021 - Abstract
The coronavirus pandemic led to a sudden increase in employees working from home. As social distancing and lockdowns took hold, many organisations who previously had no remote working policy were forced to adopt flexible schedules.
The biggest hurdle for many companies trying to embrace the abrupt change to remote working was trusting employees to actually work from home. One study found that managers who can’t ‘see’ their direct reports can struggle to trust that their employees are working. This distrust led to an increase in stringent monitoring which, in turn, left employees feeling severe anxiety.
So, as the world slowly returns to a new normal, here’s a reminder of the benefits to your business and employees of trusting your staff to continue to work from home.
The benefits of flexible working
For a long time, it was believed that being present equalled being productive. Yet research shows that allowing staff to work flexibly can boost productivity as it removes the office-based distractions that can take up 37 minutes on an average day. One study found that over a third of home workers said they were more productive than before Covid and another study reported that remote workers put in an extra 1.4 days each month compared to in-office staff – which equates to almost 17 days a year.
Giving employees the freedom to work from home communicates that you trust and respect them to continue to be productive no matter where they are based. As a result, they are more engaged in their roles which can lead to a greater output – highly engaged teams produce 21% more profitability.
Better employee retention
Flexible working is more conducive to a preferrable work-life balance as it allows employees to juggle work life with home life, which can make them more likely to stay with you. It has been found that 4 out of 5 staff are more loyal to employers who offer a flexible working pattern, while 30% have left a job that didn’t offer flexible working arrangements. (5)
Attracts new recruits
As well as helping you to retain your top talent, fostering a trusting culture of flexible work can help to attract people to your business. In fact, studies have shown that no less than 80% of employees would take a job offering a flexible work schedule over jobs that don’t. Plus, flexible working is more important to over a third of staff, than a more prestigious position or title.
With 70 million workdays lost each year due to mental health issues in the UK7, flexible working hours is one way to show employees you care about their wellbeing. 69% of employees feel that flexible working helps them maintain a work-life balance, and 2 out of 5 flexible workers benefited from better mental health. (8)
When your workforce is office-based, you are limiting who can work for you to those who live within a commutable distance. Introducing a flexible working schedule, however, opens your recruitment pool to everyone. This can lead to a more diverse workforce, and businesses with diverse employees have better-performing teams than less diverse companies. (9)
How ABSTRACT can help your workplace culture
It’s important to note that this is but a moment in time and lockdown easing offers a unique opportunity for organisations to build a modern business fit for today’s social objectives.
ABSTRACT are currently working with several clients to support their ‘Back to Better’ strategies, embedding new ways of working and new behaviours – and we’d love to do the same for your business.
As widely reported, many companies have found their people reacted well during the pandemic and maintained continuity and productivity in new and challenging circumstances.
To help your people understand what the transition back to the office will mean for them and to appreciate that this will be an evolution through ‘test and learn’, ABSTRACT can provide a framework for success.
Post-pandemic, a mix of the best of both worlds may be appropriate in some roles to meet individual business demands and objectives while considering:
- Personal safety
- Personal efficiency
- Personal performance
- Personal development
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