The increase in companies offering remote and hybrid working is leading to rising demand for HR cloud-based technology to ease the pressures on HR teams, says Adrian Lewis, Commercial Director at Activ Absence.
New figures from LinkedIn[i] show that remote job postings advertised on the platform have increased substantially across all industries – with some sectors recording five to 19 times the level of remote work postings compared to June 2020.
LinkedIn also found that over one third of UK workers would prefer to work remotely full-time in the future, almost half (49%) prefer hybrid working, and only 12% want to work full-time from the office.
Lewis says, “Changes brought about by the pandemic now look like they are going to become normality, even though businesses could insist that their staff return to the office now. Many firms have seen that what was initially a forced experiment in remote working can work in practice, with no loss of productivity.
“Many employees prefer to work at home, or a mix of home and office, and some employers have decided to make this a permanent fixture. However, this can present a big headache for HR teams who have to manage people working in different locations, adding to their workload.”
A recent survey from Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing[ii] found that two-thirds (64%) of HR specialists are expecting heightened work pressures as their organisations introduce more homeworking, with 18% saying they expected this increase to be significant in the coming months.
Science experts[iii] also warn of a ‘catastrophic’ flu season this winter which could mean higher than usual rates of absenteeism in the workplace.
Lewis says, “HR teams have had an incredibly challenging year dealing with all sorts of people issues from getting staff up and running remotely at the start of the pandemic, to looking after the health and wellbeing of staff over the past 15 months. As we move through the pandemic and can see an end in sight, the challenges aren’t over.
“With many firms looking to continue remote and hybrid working this can add to the pressure as they transition to become a business where this can work on a permanent basis. There are also issues around employees suffering from long Covid and potential for a difficult winter flu season, which could lead to increased absenteeism.
“These are additional work pressures alongside the normal HR functions. As a result we’re seeing growing interest in cloud-based technology that can support HR and help make their job easier when managing these challenges. Absence management technology can help manage staff sickness, holidays, and other absence no matter where employees are working.
“Technology can support remote and hybrid working as it gives employers complete visibility over their workforce in real-time so they always know if employees are working at home, self-isolating, off sick or on holiday – enabling them to plan accordingly. It ensures things like conducting back to work interviews after illness are always done too.
“Using cloud-based HR technology means firms can move away from manual systems for tracking absence, freeing up time to spend on more important tasks. We expect more HR leaders will be investing in this technology in the future to support their team and manage the move to remote and hybrid working effectively.”