HR · 19 May 2016

Can’t afford to give your staff a pay rise? Let them work from home instead

work from home
Lack of interruptions was a key reason for increased productivity at home

Almost one-quarter of British employees would choose working from home one day a week over receiving a pay rise, according to new research carried out by comparethemarket.com and the University of Sheffield as part of their Institute of Inertia partnership.

The survey results – released in advance of National Work From Home Day on 20 May – also revealed that half of UK workers are happier working from home than when they are in the office, and over 30 per cent think they are more productive.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed rated the lack of interruptions as a key reason for this – and 64 per cent cited the way working outside the office allowed them to better structure their day as an important benefit.

“We have a flexible working policy and so we’ve seen first hand the boost to productivity and engagement that can come as a result of this approach,” said Simon McCulloch, director of insurance at comparethemarket.com.

“Flexible work shows that our employees are a recognised and trusted part of the business – meaning happier staff that stay longer. “

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, the campaigning organisation behind National Work From Home Day, told Business Advice: “Such fundamental change towards home working is recognised by increasing numbers of inspired, and more trusting micro business owners.”

“They recognise that by changing outdated working practices and implementing a Smarter Working strategy, such as home working, provides them with an opportunity to set a road map for real workplace transformation, creating benefits for their employees, themselves as well as contributing to the growth of their business.”

Additional research published by Vodafone in February 2016 highlighted the barriers business leaders perceived to adopting flexible working – and revealed that 22 per cent thought employees would not work as hard if they weren’t in the office, with one-quarter were worried those workers left in the office would suffer.

However, the Institute of Inertia study suggested that flexible workers can be trusted to pull their weight – only 13 per cent admitted to doing the minimum work they could get away with when working remotely.

Thomas Webb, a social psychologist at the University of Sheffield, said: “Working from home not only allows workers to embrace a healthier work-life balance but also gives them the opportunity to focus on the tasks at hand, rather than be distracted by meetings and everyday office life. It also makes employees feel trusted and valued by their bosses leading to higher retention levels.”

Already offer flexible working and on the lookout for some more perks to offer your team? Check out this guide.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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