Over a third of UK workers are still not given the option of working remotely, according to research by Totaljobs. But working from home is more than a frivolous perk.
It can have a hard-hitting, positive impact on recruitment, an employer’s bottom line, the workplace, and an individual’s output.
More than this, working from home could help address one of the country’s most pressing economic issues: the UK’s ranking as one of the least productive nations in the G7.
One in five employers believes that their workforce is happier and more productive when working remotely, and a quarter of businesses have seen it reduce sick leave. Workers cite fewer distractions as the reason for increased productivity, saying that working remotely can often enable them to get the job done.
Of those who do offer flexible working options, 15 per cent admitted to using software to track how long employees spend on certain tasks. This begs the question of whether trust is holding back the widespread introduction of remote working.
Over a quarter of employees see the agreement to work from home as a sign of trust from their boss. This factor is a sure sign of a strong working relationship, and this feeling of trust is sure to translate into a boost in company morale more generally.
It’s stark that even though UK workers are calling on their employer to trust them to work from home, 16 per cent of those who have this option have suspicions that their remote-working colleagues may not be working hard enough.
We live in a world where there are apps that can do anything, meaning that excuses are out the window, and working from home should be as fruitful as working in the office – if not more so.
Though remote working offers flexibility for working parents, and those with commitments outside of work, employees can no longer use the excuse of working from home to shirk responsibility. Those based remotely can be in constant conversation with their colleagues, regardless of location.
Technology such as the cloud, instant and video messaging providers such as Skype and Slack, and even virtual reality means that communication can be as seamless as discussing a project with a desk-neighbour in an open-plan office.
With over 260,000 job vacancies advertised on Totaljobs at any one time, only 10 per cent of adverts make it clear that the role includes the option to work from home. So while two thirds of employers allow staff to work from home, they are missing a trick by not using this as part of their recruitment strategy.
Our research revealed that one in four workers would change jobs if there was the promise of remote working. This leaves a large group of employers who should be shouting about it from the rooftops to get the best talent through the door. Or at the very least, logged in from home.
Remote working is here to stay. Bosses and employees need to start working together and trusting each other to ensure that neither side loses out. Clear communication and regular updates is the best way for employers and their teams to trust each other when the whole team isn’t under the same roof.
Read more: Remote working: Ensuring an easy ride