Be prepared... for home-working requests

As more council staff return to the workplace, our HR expert Chris Moses has advised council management teams to be prepared to deal with requests for 'home-working'.

'More and more Council offices and facilities are continuing to reopen, and more workers are returning to them,' says Chris.

'However, it's not business as usual. Many Councils are looking to hybrid, flexible approaches and offering a mix of office and home-based working. The overall impression during lockdown is that Employees have shown themselves to be trustworthy and hard-working while working at home.'

Recent research has found that one in five employers is planning to introduce hybrid working following the pandemic. The survey found that two-thirds (65%) of Employees expect to work from home at least two days a week, while almost a third (31%) believe that a return to five-day office working will not happen at all. The study also revealed that the shift towards a more hybrid working model is being driven by younger workers, with three-quarters (75%) saying they expect to work remotely at least two days a week.

There have also been calls from the Labour Party to introduce legislation to enable workers to make such requests.

Chris advises: 'In response to this pressure Councils may need to plan their 'future workplaces' with home working being an intrinsic element, requiring the Council's management team to consider how they support remote workers.

'However, there are pitfalls. Some HR experts believe that Employees are at their most creative at random moments such as at a chat in the office kitchen, and that you can't easily replicate these serendipitous moments on Zoom and, there is a thought that in time Councils will suffer from this lack of new free-flowing ideas and innovation.

'There is also concern that younger workers were missing out on key professional development opportunities with many working from their bedrooms.

'Flexibility and hybrid working is also becoming a significant issue for Councils who are recruiting, with many find that enforcing a full-time office culture is unpopular with recruits and resulting in recruitment difficulties. Potential recruits may now be used to the benefits of working from home, including easier childcare, a better work-life balance and cheaper travelling costs.

'Many Councils and staff now have this insight into what real work-life balance can look like and there might be more reluctance to simply going back to how things were before the pandemic.'

Posted: Tue, 22 Jun 2021 14:28 by Wendy Amis

Tags: Coronavirus, Employment, HR