Survey suggests home working could double after Covid crisis
The number of people working from home could double once the Covid-19 crisis is over, according to new research.
A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says employers expected a dramatic increase as employees get used to the advantages of home working and not having to commute.
CIPD surveyed 1,046 UK employers and found that 37% of them expected more employees to be working from home more often after Covid. They expected the proportion of home workers to rise from 9% before the outbreak to 22% afterwards.
The survey was carried out before Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his statement on July 17 urging people to return to their normal workplace if possible, although he put the emphasis on employers having to decide if the workplace was safe.
Mr Johnson said: “Instead of government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion, and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.
“That could mean of course continuing to work from home, which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees.
“Or it could mean making workplaces safe by following Covid Secure guidelines. Whatever employers decide, they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe.
“As we reopen our society and economy, it’s right that we give employers more discretion while continuing to ensure employees are kept safe.”
The CIPD is now calling for workers to have the right to request home working as soon as they start a new job. Currently, they must wait 26 weeks before they become eligible.
Statements made by ministers in the past suggest the government may be open to the idea.
In the Queen’s Speech last year, the government said it planned to consult on whether to require employers to make working arrangements more flexible where possible.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has also indicated that the right to work from home could be something the government looks at in the coming months.
We shall keep clients informed of developments.
Please contact David Rushmere if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.