A growing number of employers have reported increased productivity as they embrace home and hybrid working, according to new research.
The number of employers who say that an increase in homeworking has increased their organisation's productivity or efficiency has jumped significantly over the past year, according to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The research, based on a survey of over 1,000 employers and 2,000 employees, shows how organisations and individuals are now approaching hybrid and flexible ways of working as businesses look to live with COVID. In November 2021, 41% of employers said homeworking had increased their organisation's productivity or efficiency - significantly up from 33% who said the same in December 2020.
At the same time, the number of employers that say the increase in home and hybrid working has had a negative impact on their organisation's productivity has fallen to 18%, down from 23% a year before.
Despite the reported productivity improvements associated with home and hybrid working, one in four employers still want their employees to be in the office/on site all the time, while 39% of employees would like to work from home all or most of the time going forward.
One reason for this mismatch could be the fact that 63% of employees who can work in a hybrid way still haven't been asked about their future working preferences. With increasing numbers of employees heading back to workplaces for at least part of the working week, IPSE has said that employers must "consult and collaborate with their people" when designing hybrid working practices.
The CIPD also says that a day-one right to request flexible working would boost the number of people using flexible working arrangements - such as part-time working, compressed hours or job shares - and has been calling for this change through its #FlexFrom1st campaign since February 2021. Currently, employees must have been in their role for six months before they can request flexible working.
Claire McCartney, CIPD senior policy adviser for resourcing and inclusion, said: "It's great that many employers are embracing the benefits of more hybrid and flexible ways of working. However, it's really important that they work collaboratively with employees to find solutions that work for both the organisation and individuals. This is a crucial moment for flexible working, but a mismatch on expectations and an ad hoc approach could set back progress.
"Everyone should have the chance to benefit from more choice about when, where and how they work. This can lead to increased wellbeing and engagement, and enhanced performance, all of which can lead to the productivity gains many employers are reporting."
Written by Rachel Miller.