Jump in Scots employers reporting boost in homeworking productivity

More Scottish employers are reporting increased productivity benefits from homeworking compared to last summer, according to new research.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has unveiled a report on making hybrid working – spent at both home and the workplace – a success as employers consider post-pandemic flexible working options.

The professional body found that Scottish employers are now more likely to say the shift to homeworking has boosted productivity – at 39 per cent –than the 30 per cent seen in June 2020.

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Additionally, 70 per cent say the move has either boosted or made no difference to productivity, and the proportion saying output has stayed the same has dropped – to 31 per cent from 37 per cent.

Scottish employers are now more likely to say the shift to homeworking has boosted productivity than in June 2020. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Employers to have embraced hybrid working include Big Four accountant KPMG, which earlier this year told its 1,000 staff in Scotland to prepare for this approach to work.

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Seven out of ten reported that they plan to introduce or expand the use of hybrid working to some degree, which the CIPD said highlights the need for organisations to take a strategic approach to homeworking to harness the benefits and improve working lives post-pandemic.

Lee Ann Panglea, head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, welcomed positive employer attitudes to flexible working. “However, to make hybrid working a success in the long term, employers will need to implement a strategy which includes a focus on wellbeing, communication, boundary-setting and facilitating networking and effective collaboration. They must also provide appropriate training and support for managers so they have the tools required to support teams to work remotely."

Employers must embrace a range of flexible working solutions, says Lee Ann Panglea, head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland. Picture: Andrew Cawley.

The proportion of Scottish employers citing no benefits to homeworking has fallen to 11 per cent from 28 per cent recorded in April 2020. Additionally, the percentage identifying the unsuitability of certain jobs for remote working as the key challenge dropped from 57 to 34.

Flexible

That said, the CIPD also stresses the need for employers to look at flexible options beyond homeworking, recognising that not all roles can be done from home. It is calling for organisations and the government to make the right to request flexible working a day-one right for all employees.

Some 56 per cent of employers plan to expand the use of flexi-time – altering workday start and finish times – to some degree.

It comes as flexi-time is currently used by a quarter of employees north of the Border, yet is desired by more than half. In addition, just 3 per cent reported that they currently use compressed hours (working full-time hours in fewer days), while 21 per cent would use this arrangement if available.

Ms Panglea praised Scottish employers planning to increase forms of flexible working beyond the hybrid option. “Those who cannot work from home should still be able to benefit from having more of a choice and a say in when and how they work. Employers must embrace a range of flexible working solutions to give opportunity and choice to all,” she added.

Separately, Olivia Fahy of culture and compliance specialist TCC, recently urged employers not to push workers back to the office – but rather trial hybrid working. “Companies should think very carefully about how culture will be impacted before imposing any strict policies for employees,” she added.

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