Professor Emma Parry from Cranfield School of Management comments on the findings of the Office of National Statistics report ‘Homeworking in the UK: hours, opportunities and rewards’.

Two-tier workforce

“The findings of the ONS report make for worrying reading. They suggest that the hybrid remote/office working model, which many organisations are planning, will create a two-tier workforce where opportunities for pay and promotions are harder to come by for those working from home. Businesses need a change in mindset which dispenses with this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to managing people. Decisions should be based on outputs and outcomes rather that what managers ‘see’ to avoid discriminating against those not visible in the workplace.” 

Online presenteeism

“The report also highlights a concerning phenomenon where the bar for taking time off work due to illness appears to be much higher for remote workers. What we’re seeing is a home-working version of presenteeism when people aren’t taking sick days unless they’re really ill. This is another area where business culture needs to adapt to the new ways of working to get the best out of employees.”