The benefits of working from home significantly outweigh the challenges, with many employers planning to expand the practice after the virus crisis is over, new research suggests.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said a survey of 1,000 employers showed the shift to home working has been a positive experience for most organisations.
Benefits include improved work-life balance and better collaboration with staff.
More than one in four respondents reported an increase in productivity because of the switch from offices.
Problems included reduced staff mental wellbeing, difficulties with line managing home workers and monitoring their performance, said the report.
Employers expect the proportion of their staff working from home regularly to double to 37% after the crisis is over, said the CIPD.
Chief executive Peter Cheese said: “The step-change shift to home working to adapt to lockdowns has taught us all a lot about how we can be flexible in ways of working in the future.
“Employers have learnt that, if supported and managed properly, home working can be as productive and innovative as office working and we can give more opportunity for people to benefit from better work-life balance.
“But it doesn’t suit everyone and increasingly organisations will have to design working arrangements around people’s choice and personal preference over where and when they would like to work, whilst also meeting the needs of the business.
“Employers will also have to redouble efforts to introduce flexible working arrangements for staff unable to work from home otherwise they will increasingly have a two-tier workforce of those who have opportunity to benefit from home working and flexibility and those who don’t.
“It is often essential workers and lower paid front-line staff who are not able to work from home and it is crucial these workers are not left behind when we think about flexible working.”