Homeworking & Flexible Working

Scottish employees who work from home suffer with excessive workloads and have poorer work-life balance than those working in the office, a survey has found.

The latest Working Lives Scotland report from the CIPD, which polled 1,007 people working in Scotland, found more than a third (37 per cent) of those working fully from home found it hard to relax in their personal time, compared to less than a quarter (23 per cent) of those not working from home at all.

Similarly, two in five (40 per cent) home workers reported excessive workloads, compared to just three in 10 (31 per cent) of those not working from home.

However, the report found that the pandemic – which has seen a huge increase in the number of people working from home – has had little impact on overall job quality, with home workers reporting better relationships at work and more positivity about employee ‘voice’.

Our report shows that some of the concerns many had about a deterioration of relationships at work, mental health or employee voice during the pandemic have not materialised,” said Marek Zemanik, senior public policy adviser at CIPD Scotland and the report’s author.

Investing in better people management, before or during the pandemic, coupled with a focus on communication and wellbeing, seems to have protected employees against some of the potential negative impact of the pandemic on working lives.”

But, Zemanik added, there were still “concerning findings” in the report, particularly around wellbeing, job autonomy and the wider skills mismatch across the Scottish workforce.

The report found a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents felt their work impacted negatively on their mental health; less than a third (31 per cent) believed their job did not offer good prospects; while 28 per cent felt they were over-qualified for their roles – increasing to 51 per cent among the lowest-paid jobs.

Lee Ann Panglea, head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, said moving forward the people profession needed to “learn the lessons” of the pandemic.

Employers need to keep wellbeing top of their agenda and should be considering flexible working options beyond home working, like flexi-time, job sharing or compressed hours if they want to retain and attract employees,” she said.

While those who can work from home would like to continue doing so, the report found more than two in five (43 per cent) of workers in Scotland were in jobs that cannot be done from home.

Similarly, the report found that of the workers fully working from home, more than one in 10 (13 per cent) did not have a suitable space to work, while a similar number (12 per cent) did not have suitable broadband to do their jobs effectively.

Remember that we work with several partnership organisations who can support you with any wellbeing & mental health concerns as well as any health & safety concerns related to both home working and flexible working.

We can also advise on a variety of flexible working options which you may be considering introducing in the future.