Global talent acquisition and management specialist, Alexander Mann Solutions has counselled employers to review the way in which they engage with remote workers.
The CIPD published data in its Employee Outlook Spring 2017 report which found that one in three respondents (33%) felt they couldn’t switch off in their personal time while almost one in five (18%) said remote working makes them feel ‘under surveillance’.
With remote workers often using the same smartphones, tablets and laptops in their spare time that they use for working remotely, and routinely checking email outside work hours, the problem can be complicated when other staff and managers actively contact them when they are on holiday or off sick, but fail to include them on team building and internal communications.
Commenting on the findings, Lisa Forrest, Global Head of Internal Talent Acquisition at Alexander Mann Solutions said;
“The success of flexible working initiatives relies on effective employee engagement strategies. However too few organisations are currently ‘getting it right’ to the detriment of not only their employees but also their ongoing success. Failure to embrace flexible working risks alienating huge segments of the workforce – especially amongst the millennial population – and, as the CIPD’s figures demonstrate, can lead to disengagement and demotivation.”
“Companies must set and nurture flexible working policies from the beginning of the employment contract and review practices regularly with employees to ensure mutual understanding and satisfaction, and to foster wider organisational support. After all, these individuals are just as valuable as those based in the office and it’s the responsibility of employers to ensure they feel as though they are part of the business, even if they are not physically in the office.”
“The CIPD also found that almost half (42%) of those who work remotely feel it helps them to stay in control of their workload and over a third (37%) believe they are more productive when working from home – demonstrating the benefits effective flexible working can have on business and individuals alike . As the flexible working population increases, it is key that employers are better equipped to manage remote staff to ensure that employees enjoy these benefits without feeling pressurised, sidelined or disengaged.”
Flexible working commentator Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence strongly agreed, saying:
“If employers do not trust employees to work remotely, then they should not be employing them in the first place.
“However, in our experience, the biggest problem is not a lack of trust between employer and employee, so much as a lack of visibility of who’s off, when. This is simple to achieve using tech. We use Activ Absence to tell us when staff are working remotely – although in my opinion, it is equally important for everyone in the team to know when they are not working.
“Remote workers can be off sick, on holiday or have medical appointments just like anyone else – and it’s bad practice to assume they should be available 24/7 just because they are not sat in the office. Visibility helps everyone know where they are, and also helps keep communication appropriate, relevant and timely.
“While working from home can feel like a perk, the working time regulations still apply.”