Coronavirus self-isolation and remote working: employers should consider flexitime, full time


Flexible working is a perk that would benefit most UK employees, yet not even a third (31%) of UK workers are provided the option by their employer.

This week Prime Minister, Boris Johnson stated that up to fifth of UK workers ‘could be off sick at same time’ due to the coronavirus outbreak, but if the majority of the UK population had the option to work remotely, the worst case scenario might not be necessary.

A recent study conducted by flexible workspace firm Flexioffices questioned 2,000 UK workers about the ‘work perks’ they receive, what they think of them and the benefits they experience from them.

In a week when HSBC workers were sent home from Canary Wharf HQ because someone contracted the Covid-19, the phrase ‘self-isolation’ has been on everyone’s lips and many UK employers will have had to re-think their remote working policies.

With one in 10 Britons applying for their job because of flexible working hours being offered and nearly double that considering leaving their role if it were to be taken away (15%), the study comes at a convenient time.

The top benefits stated by UK workers who have flexible working are those that benefit their employer. Nearly 40% (39%) stated they enjoy work more, 36% stated they were less stressed and a over a third (34%) stated that they are more productive and 32% said that their company provides great perks, surely that’s reason enough for employers to consider the approach on a more permanent basis.

Other personal benefits employees expressed as a result of remote working were that a third felt valued, they get to spend more time with their family (32%) and it saves them money (29%).

Currently the cities that have the most flexible working are Edinburgh with four in ten people surveyed from the Scottish tourist destination stating they do, followed by Leeds (35%), Liverpool (34%) and London (33%) with over a third of workers enjoying this perk.

The cities with the lowest amount of flexible working available are Glasgow and Newcastle with less than a quarter (23%) of people having flexible freedom.

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Zoë Morris, president at Mason Frank International, said: “Our opinion of what a good work-life balance looks like has changed a lot in the past few years. Job seekers today are striving for greater freedom to fit work around other priorities, often prioritizing these kinds of perks over higher salaries.

“There are so many reasons why employers should consider offering flexible working and attracting and retaining great talent is just one of them. It can also play a massive part in making today’s workplaces more diverse and inclusive.

“We recently conducted a survey of tech professionals in which we asked about the kind of benefits participants received, and which were most valuable to them.

“We found that women were more likely to be sold on a job that offered flexible and home working than their male peers. In sectors like tech, providing benefits like flexible working can help businesses attract more female professionals, it also helps tackle the burgeoning skills shortages that many STEM industries are currently facing by bringing in fresh talent.”

Other remote working advantages stated were 21% felt more active, 20% saved time and felt healthier and 19% said they had a better social life.

Michael Dubicki, business director from Flexioffices, added: “Our research indicates it’s time for employers to re-think how they approach remote working and for a lot of companies this will mean a culture change.

“We take a person-centred approach when working with our partners to find their perfect working environment. We believe providing appropriate perks is a great way to show your team you value them.”

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