The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that employees who work from home are doing more unpaid overtime than their office-worker counterparts yet are less likely to be promoted or take time off sick.

ONS figures show that remote workers do on average six hours of unpaid overtime a week, compared to 3.6 hours of an office worker, with rates of home working increasing by almost 10% in 2020. Furthermore, sickness absence for homeworkers in 2020 was just 0.9%, equivalent to two days per workers per year, which doubled for those that never worked from home to around 4.3 sick days a year.

Despite spending more time at their jobs, the report also revealed that prior to the pandemic, remote workers were less than half as likely to be promoted than all other workers and 38% less likely to receive a bonus. These findings make interesting reading during a time when research from Grant Thorton confirms what we expect: – that almost half, 44%, of mid-sized firms believe that a remote workplace, rather than office based, is most effective and of these, 37% say a blended approach, with more time spent working remotely than in an office, will be best for the organisation.

Commenting on these findings, Sandra McLellan, founder of hr inspire said: “Now more than ever, with companies operating a hybrid workplace and the potential risk of remote workers left feeling burnt out and undervalued, businesses need to realign their efforts into creating a culture of collaboration – where the focus is more on the quality of the work completed, rather than where the work is being undertaken. Performance mustn’t be measured and rewarded by the number of hours spent on the job but by the outputs and results achieved by the individual or team. Otherwise, companies will just see rising levels of presenteeism.

“Employers along with their HR teams, can look at the barriers in place for remote workers, and what can be done now to ensure employee wellbeing, productivity and performance all continue to improve whether in the office or working from home. To do this effectively, have conversations with your team to agree on arrangements that work for individuals and the organisation. Build a positive work culture that provides employees with the opportunity to speak openly about issues, where expectations are clear, and where leaders walk the talk to show that people are recognised for their achievements, not by the time they spend on the job.”

To speak to a member of the team today about making your hybrid workplace more inclusive, please contact our HR team today.

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