Business experts at LJMU have set out in a national report how the UK can respond to the opportunities arising from hybrid and remote working.
The Hybrid Work Commission report was compiled with data and analysis from Liverpool Business School’s employment and HR expert Gemma Dale along with Zoom, Vodafone, the CIPD, Indeed, The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Prospect Union and the ONS.
Hybrid and remote work can improving work-life balance, productivity, diversity and inclusion while reducing emissions and costs. But it also poses some challenges and inequalities, such as perception gaps and sectoral differences, they concluded.
The Hybrid Work Commission was established to explore the rise of hybrid working make recommendations to the UK government to harness the benefits for people and communities across the country.
The report produced with Public First offers some of the strongest evidence yet of homeworking benefits. For instance, professional women have become more likely to work full-time - in finance and insurance, up from 75 per cent to 83 per cent. The change was even more pronounced for mothers, with the proportion working full-time increasing by more than 10 percentage points in finance and IT. The boost to women’s working hours is all the more important given the extent to which the UK’s overall workforce has shrunk since the pandemic.
The commission found that three-quarters of hybrid workers felt it improved their work-life balance, and 70 per cent of those with children under 18 said it made juggling their responsibilities easier. However, a majority of employers operating with hybrid work arrangements were not convinced they boosted productivity. The commission said this “perception gap may be enough to stunt British businesses’ ability to maximise the benefits of hybrid and remote work”.
It also produced evidence of benefits to recruitment, retention and diversity.
The report's main recommendations are:
- Employers should seek to create moments for purposeful interaction, connection and collaboration by ensuring that employees have a reason to be in their office if they are so required.
- The Government should develop guidelines to support businesses to measure productivity in a hybrid and remote working environment.
- Employers should offer line managers and those with management responsibilities training on hybrid and remote work to help them support their teams with hybrid working.
- The Government should consider reviewing parental leave policies and the impact this may have on bolstering gender divisions in the workplace.
- In consultation with businesses, the Government should introduce a National Remote and Hybrid Work Strategy to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the UK workplace in a way that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits.
See the full report here.