05 July 2022
Although we no longer follow European Union (EU) decisions since our formal departure from the EU it is interesting to analyse the parallels and differences in various approaches to the issue of remote working, and if so, at what cost.
Employers can choose between three options.
- Full-time back to the office working
- Hybrid working (permitting the workforce to split their time between the office and remote working)
- Fully remote working
Key business considerations
Many organizations have been looking at different types of hybrid arrangements to see what works best for them. Taking into account lease and insurance costs, productivity of the workforce, and mental health implications are some of the considerations that a company takes into account.
An example of a company’s approach is the option to work from home as often as they choose, but only if they get 80% of their current salary. It’s interesting that this approach requires the individual to decide if the benefits of remote working are worth the 20% pay cut. The pay cut is based on the fact that employees don’t have to live in the capital or within a commutable distance.
In the Netherlands, a new tax-free work from home allowance came into effect on January 1, 2022. Increased use of electricity and water are some of the costs that this allowance is intended to cover. Two euros per day is what employees are reimbursed for. This isn’t a lot, but it shows the different stances governments and companies are taking toward working from home. The tax relief for additional household costs when working remotely has been recognised by the UK Government. One can claim tax relief for gas, electricity, metered water and business phone calls.
Allowing staff to work from home will have an impact on other business decisions such as whether to keep their current office space or if they need less square footage. If a company needs a reduced office space, more money from their budget could be spent elsewhere.
The new flexible working world has prompted some employers to be innovative. There is a scheme to have flexible office space in stores. Some employers will be setting up offices for their employees to work from when they enter into the pilot scheme.
Companies are looking at ways to help employees manage their living costs in light of the current cost of living crisis. Allowing employees to work from home more often would be an obvious solution for the job roles that can be done from home. When considering the current situation in which for many travelling to work can be a financial struggle, employers should reexamine whether employees should be in the office. Condensed hours have been offered to employees in order to reduce their commute and overall expenses.
As a business, whether you choose to permanently have your staff working from home or adopt the hybrid style of working, it is important that you continue to ensure that you undertake risk assessments in relation to health and safety checks at an employees home, have clear processes in place to monitor the productivity It is important for managers to check in with their staff to make sure they don’t feel isolated.
Many companies offer the option to work from home as it is often considered an attractive option for applicants in the current climate. It is clear for many sectors that the traditional way of working nine to five in an office has changed as more job adverts offer the option to work from home.
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