Employers are missing a trick by not asking seasoned remote workers for advice on how to improve their home and hybrid working regimes.
This is according to flexible work jobs board Working Mums and smart working consultancy The Changing Work Company, which found that 68% of people who had worked remotely pre-pandemic had not been asked about their experiences, which could help smooth the transition for people who have switched to home working because of Covid-19.
Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People – which incorporates Working Mums, Working Dads and Working Wise – suggested that organisations and employees were not reaping the full benefits from remote working because they were too often “left to their own devices”.
“This survey was driven by a sense that the voices and experiences of those who have worked remotely or in a hybrid way for years are often not heard and that they must surely have a valuable contribution to make on how to make remote and hybrid working work better,” she said.
“We know that employers who seek feedback from their employees through employee network groups or other forums, listen to what they are saying and take action are the most innovative and attractive and have the highest engagement scores.”
Bridget Workman, chief executive at The Changing Work Company, said that seasoned home workers knew the challenges of home working and have “learned the necessary skills and tricks through their own resourcefulness and resilience”, yet their colleagues who recently began working from home have had to “learn the hard way”.
“More than four in five people surveyed are either working remotely now or have done so in the past. Half of them have been working that way for more than three years and a quarter for more than five years. This represents a wealth of experience that, surprisingly, most employers have not yet tapped into,” she said.
The survey of remote workers found that:
- 31% missed out on crucial information. Fifty-five per cent who felt they got the information they needed said this was down to their own efforts, with only 32% stating their employer made an effort to ensure they did not miss out
- 36% felt they were not included in decision-making, which 20% identified as the most difficult thing about working remotely
- 58% felt they were valued in the same way as office-based staff
- 80% had not been promoted since they began working remotely
- 44% had not had access to training since they began working remotely.
When asked what skills they felt were needed to work remotely on a permanent basis, 85% agreed self-motivation was vital; 68% said independent thinking; and 58% said resilience.
Three-quarters said they had developed these skills through remote working.
Seventy people took part in the research and were asked 45 in-depth questions.