The number of people working from home is expected to double following the coronavirus pandemic, new research suggests.
A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that employers reckon 37% of staff will regularly avoid the journey into the office following COVID-19 – up from 18% before the pandemic.
And the number of people expected to make their home offices a permanent fixture stands at 22% – up from 9% pre-lockdown.
More than a quarter of the 1,000 respondents to the study reported an increase in productivity from the pivot to domestic workplaces.
Other benefits of home working included an improved work-life balance and better collaboration between staff.
However it is not all plain sailing, with the research listing a drop in mental well-being, complications in line management, and trouble monitoring performance as the downsides of employees not commuting into the office.
And the number of people reporting an increase in productivity was matched by an equal percentage saying they get less done at home.
The CIPD’s Chief executive Peter Cheese said: “The step-change shift to home working to adapt to lockdowns has taught us all a lot about how we can be flexible in ways of working in the future.
“Employers have learnt that, if supported and managed properly, home working can be as productive and innovative as office working and we can give more opportunity for people to benefit from better work-life balance.
“But it doesn’t suit everyone and increasingly organisations will have to design working arrangements around people’s choice and personal preference over where and when they would like to work, whilst also meeting the needs of the business.”
Mr Cheese added: “Employers will also have to redouble efforts to introduce flexible working arrangements for staff unable to work from home otherwise they will increasingly have a two-tier workforce of those who have opportunity to benefit from home working and flexibility and those who don’t.
“It is often essential workers and lower paid front-line staff who are not able to work from home and it is crucial these workers are not left behind when we think about flexible working.”