Almost two-thirds of HR professionals believe the shift to greater homeworking will increase their workload, according to consultancy Howden Employee Benefits.
The company found that almost nine in 10 (88%) of organisations plan to introduce at least some homeworking, with 39% expecting at least partial homeworking to be available to employees.
Almost half (46%) will introduce homeworking for some employees only, while 2% said they would move to an entirely home-based working model once pandemic restrictions are removed.
But while employees will be able to enjoy greater flexibility and work-life balance, workload is likely to increase for HR teams as a result, Howden found.
Sixty-four percent said they thought there would be more work pressures as a result of the move towards more homeworking, and 18% thought this would be a significant increase. Only 3% thought shifting working patterns would reduce HR workload.
Almost half (44%) thought their employee benefits package was fit for purpose for employees working from home, but the same proportion felt they should review it.
Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Howden, told Personnel Today: “So many business practices have historically been built around employee attendance at a physical place of work, and the idea of remote or flexible working for most workers was just a pipe-dream for many employees and their employers as recently as February 2020.
“Yet the pandemic has changed this reality markedly, and proved that home-working can be a positive for all concerned. So it follows that HR policies and procedures may also need to alter to reflect this new normal, and that change is likely to generate an extra workload for HR professionals.”
He said that the key challenge for HR would be to “build and maintain policies and practices that equally support two audiences”.
“Another will be establishing just how far – and how intrusive – the employer’s duty of care for home workers may become in the future,” he added.