As the Covid-19 situation continues to escalate many UK companies are having to quickly implement flexible and work from home policies.
However, many companies are unprepared for flexible working on this scale. A recent whitepaper from global recruiter Robert Walters, A Smart Workplace for the Workforce of the Future found that 48% of businesses in the UK are not set up to be able to accommodate employees working from home[i].
Recent research by Flexioffices[ii] found almost a third (31%) of UK employees were not provided the option to work flexibly by their employer.
As companies scramble to put emergency measures in place to lessen the business impact of Covid-19, many are having to manage home workers for the first time. However, Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director, Activ Absence predicts that flexible working policies put in place now may be here to stay.
He says, “Employers who have been reluctant to implement flexible and remote working will now find themselves forced into adopting a more flexible strategy in order to survive.
“We believe that once these businesses have set up the technology and tools to enable home working and witnessed the benefits of these new flexible working policies they will become the new normal once the world returns to business as usual.
“Flexible working is one of the most valued perks for employees and has been proven to increase productivity. It is key to attracting and retaining top talent, especially as more Millennial and Generation Z workers enter the workforce who view flexibility as a top priority when job hunting.”
However, Lewis warns that employers need to implement a digital framework to make home working logistically possible. Currently, businesses will require people to work at home, but in the future flexible working could include many different options, such as flexi-time.
Lewis says, “Changing traditional working patterns can be challenging, the key is having the right IT systems in place, so the business doesn’t suffer. This includes providing remote access to HR and people systems.
“Absence management tools provide visibility of where staff are during the working day. In the current situation where lots of people are working from home and many people may also be affected by illness managers can use the system to track who is working, whether they’re in the office or at home and who is off sick.
“This would be a good time for companies to put absence management software in place. Cloud based software like Activ Absence is quick and easy to implement and intuitive to use. It will help companies keep track of staff more easily over the coming months, as well as record absenteeism and holidays. It will also help businesses future proof,” he concluded.