Businesses aware of mental health impacts of home working


The comments come as a national survey shows the majority of firms expect home working for some staff for at least 12 months
The comments come as a national survey shows the majority of firms expect home working for some staff for at least 12 months

The comments, from Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, come after a national survey found 72 per cent of businesses expect some staff to work remotely for at least the next year.

Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber’s director of business, said they believed employers are considering the impact which long-term home working could have on team morale, or the mental health of employees.

She said: “Not all sectors have been able to embrace remote working to the same degree since the start of the pandemic.

“Mental health and wellbeing of employees were cited by more than half the companies surveyed as a barrier to remote working – making it more difficult to foster a team spirit within the business.

“Others mentioned requirements for face-to-face contact with staff or customers, and the need for physical presence to operate equipment as barriers.

“We know only too well ourselves, through events such as our ‘netwalking’ get-togethers and our first corporate golf day, that Shropshire companies hugely value face-to-face contact.”

The British Chambers of Commerce figures show that more than two thirds of businesses are now offering remote working to employees.

Four in five professional services companies, such as finance and law, have been able to offer working from home, compared with 61 per cent of manufacturers and 54 per cent of hospitality and retail businesses.

Ms Ross added: “Flexitime or staggered hours are now being offered by more than a third of employers, according to this survey.

“However, when asked what they considered barriers to implementing remote working in their businesses even further 55 per cent quote staff morale or mental health and wellbeing.

“There are also practical reasons such as poor internet connectivity – something which many rural and remote Shropshire businesses will no doubt be able to relate to.”

She added: “Businesses need to attract the best people with the skills they need to be successful, and in many sectors these people will expect a degree of flexible working.”

British Chambers of Commerce head of people policy, Jane Gratton, said: “During the pandemic, many employers have learned how to manage and motivate people working from home.

“They’ve also experienced the advantages of an agile workforce, in terms of diversity, skills and productivity.

“It’s vital that businesses have access to clear guidance, information and best practice resources to help them embrace the broadest range of remote, workplace and flexible working options as we emerge from the pandemic.

“These results show that nearly three quarters of firms will now continue to benefit from a remote working option during the coming year.

“But it’s clear that some firms and individuals are facing barriers to remote working with many employers concerned about the impact on team morale and employee wellbeing.”



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