Research into the impact of hybrid working has found that post-pandemic, almost nine out of ten workers want to continue working remotely for up to three days per week.
The new study by the Work Foundation and Chartered Management Institute (CMI) also found, however, that these preferences did not necessarily match up with those of the employer. For instance, almost half the managers surveyed said that they expected staff to work in an “organisationally hybrid way”. In other words, they wanted some staff to work remotely all the time while others worked on site all the time.
Managers surveyed also reported concerns that remote or hybrid working could exacerbate already existing inequalities in the workplace. In particular, the survey found that managers were concerned that hybrid working could mean younger staff (those under 24) missing out on workplace opportunities.
Evidence from the survey showed that disabled workers were 1.3 times more likely than non-disabled workers to be working remotely (57 per cent compared with 44 per cent), which allowed them to manage their condition better. However, the survey also found that disabled people were at risk of facing particular challenges when working remotely, due to their isolation from the office and potentially missing out on opportunities for learning and development.
The report made a number of recommendations for government which include making flexible working the default position for all employees, with flexible options included in all job adverts, unless employers have a sound business reason for an exemption.
Underpinning these findings, a recent survey by the TUC showed that the overwhelming majority of disabled workers who worked from home during the pandemic wanted to continue doing so, at least some of the time. Nearly two-thirds said that it gave them greater control over their working hours; more than a quarter said their mental health had improved as a result, and more than one in five said that working from home had helped them better manage their caring responsibilities.
The TUC is calling for action to help disabled people get the flexibility they need to stay in work by making flexible working a genuine legal right from day one.
To read the report by the Work Foundation and the CMI, click here.
To read the TUC findings in more detail, click here.