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EIC News

27 APR 2022

THE FUTURE OF REMOTE WORK

EIC guide explores practical issues and best-practice to shape your company's approach

HR legal experts Bird & Bird have shared their research into remote working with EIC members. The guidance, which was sent to members via our monthly newsletter EnviroTech news, explores the global trends and issues to be aware of when considering your company’s approach to remote working. 

As well as key takeaways, practical issues to be aware of, and working from abroad, the document provides a country-by-country overview of the legal situation in each jurisdiction. 

Claire Clifford, director of people, skills and culture at EIC said: “Remote working has been the number one topic at our recent HR forum meetings and I know from my discussions with members that it continues to raise questions for many. Many thanks to Bird & Bird for sharing this resource for our members that will provide practical support for any company considering their approach to working from home and working from abroad.” 

“I am sure that we will continue to cover the topic in our HR forum which provides a place for people professionals and senior leaders to bounce ideas and share best-practice in this area.” 

The document highlights eight key-themes to consider: 

Workplace culture: Flexible and remote working models inevitably give rise to wider concerns about how to maintain trust and generate an engaged, collaborative and productive workplace culture necessary to ensure the success of the organisation. These concerns will underpin how organisations approach their longer-term working arrangements. 

Talent attraction and retention: More innovative and flexible working arrangements may be key to attracting and retaining talent. Remote working also opens up a wider, potentially global, talent pool. In some cases this has led to a reconsideration of pay and whether this should be linked to where the employee lives, rather than the office location. 

Job design and contingent labour: New technologies and ways of working may require new skills and reconsideration of roles and responsibilities within organisations. We are also seeing a trend towards increased use of contingent working arrangements giving employers increased workforce management flexibility going forwards. 

Performance and reward: Traditional employee performance evaluations, goal setting and reward frameworks may need to be adapted to assess and motivate employees in a remote context. 

Ethical workplace: There are fears remote work may exacerbate diversity and inclusion challenges requiring organisations to work harder to foster a culture of inclusivity and belonging where all employees have equal opportunity. 

Technology: COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of digital transformation and many organisations have gained efficiencies investing in and embracing new technologies during the pandemic. The focus is now shifting towards finding ways to harness these benefits longer term, including by upskilling and retraining staff. 

Mental health and psychological safety: There is growing evidence that employees are working longer hours at home and the blurring of professional and domestic is leading to rising levels of stress and ‘remote work burnout’. A holistic approach to employee well-being, promoting mental as well as physical health, will be a key component of any longer term remote working strategy.

Employee monitoring: Many employers are considering new ways of monitoring staff and remote monitoring technologies, such as those that track keystrokes, measure active and idle time and even facial recognition software, have seen a surge in popularity. These pose inherent challenges from a privacy and data protection standpoint. 

The next HR forum takes place on Wednesday 11 May at 11.00am. The in-person meeting takes place at Arcadis' offices in central London and features Adrian McDonagh, co-founder of recruitment experts Hireful, to discuss the war on talent, great resignation, and attracting new skills to our sector. 

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