This week, Joanne Roadnight, Head of Client Services at Turning Point HR Solutions wonders now that “freedom day” is upon us, will the revolution of home working continue?
Will our city centres, that have vibrated with silence, fill up again with daily commuters? I think not. The revolution of home working that was forced upon us will have long standing affects on the need for large offices.
Many Corporates are considering closing large offices, downsizing, or changing layouts to work with the need to social distance. Open plan offices may change back to a more cellular approach, allowing space between workstations to encourage their employees back into the workplace.
Other organisations are considering do we need an office anymore? Should we have a set of smaller offices in different locations nearer to where employees live so less commuting is involved.
What happens with commuting? A lot of people are concerned about being in a confined space for a train or bus journey into work. Why can’t they work remotely as they have done for nearly 18 months? How about reduced office attendance, may twice a week in the office?
Many clients I speak to are considering what options to take and how it will affect their workforce. Do they continue to pay London weighting whilst they only require office attendance once a month? Do they pay a travel allowance instead? Do they just pay expenses? Will hotel accommodation or meals be involved?
Geographical differences do come into this especially if you did work in London and now work remotely in another part of the country. Many organisations changed their recruitment policies and have spread their nets wider to catch the talent needed so where do they point their salaries? The main office location or locally to the employee/recruit?
Current regional weightings in salaries differ in a -25% to +25% around the norm, driven by factors such as astronomical train season ticket prices and everyday items such as sandwich costs. If these scenarios are played out, then these variants will surely normalise, not just across the UK, but across many other jurisdictions.
Companies are also discussing should they offer a working from home allowance? In order to work remotely productively your staff need good equipment, fast internet, a desk and comfortable and supportive chairs, should you the employer pay for this?
In addition, employees are missing out on some perks such as company bought lunches, snacks, coffee etc and other wellbeing benefits such as massages, free gym membership etc.
Some organisations such as Twitter are paying staff to work from home, Twitter pay $1000 remote work allowance. In Belgium, employers have to pay 130 euros per month as a tax free remote work allowance, whereas Switzerland pay 140 euros per month. The UK needs to decide where we need to be, should it be the employers who decide or the government?
Whichever options companies go with, employee welfare is the top priority.
ONS figures during the pandemic have shown that many companies are maintaining similar levels of productivity with remote working and reduced staff numbers.
If you would like to discuss how these issues could affect your business please get in touch using our contact form.