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The four aspects of business that employers are talking about: remote working, recruitment, retention and redundancies. Read on to find out more!

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The Challenges of the 4R’s

By Loch Associates The 4R’s are what we hear many employers talking about – remote working, recruitment,
retention and, more recently, redundancies.

They are to some extent intertwined though.

The facts:

The growth in remote working has been accelerated by the pandemic. In 2019, around 5%
of the workforce worked mainly from home with around 30% reporting they occasionally
worked from home. By April 2020, this had risen to 46.6% of people working from home in
some capacity, and the numbers have continued to rise with the increase in hybrid
working. A recent poll found that 45% of workers are pushing for more remote working
amidst the cost-of-living crisis. This preference to work from home has, in some instances,
led to tensions with employers who want staff back to the office. There is no right to work from

home unless a person’s contract of employment says otherwise, or an employer is legally obliged

to. At present, employees have a right to make a request to work flexibly after 26 weeks of service,

and the employer has to consider that request ‘in a reasonable manner’ within three months of

receipt of the request. If an employee asks for flexible working as a reasonable adjustment

because they have a disability under the Equality Act 2010, the employer has a duty to agree if it

is a reasonable request.

The impact:

Many employers are being forced to rethink their approach and be more accommodating
to allow remote/hybrid working as they find it increasingly difficult to retain or to recruit
staff if they are not prepared to agree to these arrangements.There is evidence that
remote/hybrid working can increase productivity and improve job satisfaction with staff more
engaged and enjoying a better work/life balance. Employees are more motivated to work
hard and enjoy their jobs, making it easier to retain staff and avoid the current recruitment
challenges. Similarly, cultivating a reputation as a flexible employer can also help to attract
fresh new talent. A recent survey found that 69% of employers advertising vacancies were
“open to flexible working”. While being flexible and agreeing to remote/hybrid working can help with recruitment, it
can also present challenges to retaining staff. Managers therefore play an important role in
making sure the remote/hybrid model works and need to be skilled in dealing with issues to
ensure they retain the best staff. Our Nip it in the Bud training helps managers acquire those
skills. Remote working may lead some employers to completely reassess how
they work, potentially deciding to make redundancies, and engage individuals who work
outside the UK to lower their costs. Whilst there may be challenges in the short term, the
impact of remote/hybrid working could ultimately lead to an evolution in the workplace which
could reduce the recruitment challenges and help improve retention for employers in the
longer term.