WFH woes | How does remote working impact workplace culture?

How does remote working impact workplace culture?

A third of workers haven’t been back to their workplace since the pandemic began in March 2020, a new report has found.

Research by global risk management and insurance brokerage Gallagher, of 1,000 business leaders and 1,000 UK office employees, found that 32% of staff have been fully remote since the first lockdown was announced.

The report revealed most businesses are suggesting that workers should be in the office full-time (40%) now or in the near future or a minimum of part-time (39%), as they implement a hybrid working model.

But with the success of digital working tools such as Teams, Zoom and Slack, why is it that employers are placing such importance on getting staff back to the office?

Read more from us

Ranking top among the motivational factors is a feeling that workplace culture suffers with home working, with 31% of the survey’s respondents saying so.

Businesses also remain split over whether they operate equally well (29%) or less efficiently (26%) with employees working from home, the research indicated.

However, a third of workplaces said that they are meeting resistance from their employees regards returning to the workplace even part-time. With one in four (25%) businesses uncertain if they can insist their employees return, business leaders fear an impending wave of complaints and potential litigation from their teams, who claim they are just as effective when working from home.

Commenting on the findings, Neil Hodgson, Managing Director of Risk Management at Gallagher, said: “The return to workplaces is a complicated task for senior leaders at UK businesses. Keeping everyone happy can be challenging, and while some employees feel that they have no need to be in the office, there is an awareness that leadership needs to implement policies consistently. But many businesses remain uncertain just how far they can legally mandate the return to workplaces – leading to concerns about litigation and complaints.

“Even when businesses are sure they are on safe ground with enforcing the return to workplaces, there is always the risk that attempts will be made to fight the decision. The fact is that employee litigation has been on the rise for some time and disagreements as a result of Covid-19 are likely to further exacerbate the issue. No company is immune to it and the costs of defending employee claims can devastate a business. Unfortunately legal fees may need to be paid even if the claim is unsuccessful, which is why it is important to have insurance in place that will cover these costs.

“Businesses should speak to their broker about employee practice liability insurance that will cover costs as a result of certain legal disputes with employees. When a company’s workers claim their legal rights as employees have been violated, this can protect against resulting litigation, including claims of discrimination and wrongful termination. Furthermore businesses can potentially head off any claims by speaking to an insurance broker who can provide risk management advice to guard against any potential claims and mitigate any possible employee concerns about returning to the office.”

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.