Case Study: Homeworking - A Lesson in Trust

The Client
A medium-sized company providing software development solutions to both national and international clients.

The Challenge
The client had previously only allowed staff to take up the option of homeworking in exceptional cases where there were health reasons or other pressing requirements. The owner was extremely wary of extending it more widely because past experience had shown that in some cases the flexibility offered had been abused. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the UK government told all businesses that staff should work from home wherever possible, he had to tell his staff to take their laptops home and work from there. He was extremely sceptical that the productivity he expected when they were in the office would remain as high

The Solution
The staff adapted extremely well. Most of them have been happy with the new arrangements as it has saved them lots of commuting time and many said that they would like to work this way permanently. The company has kept in close contact with staff to check that they are OK as well as putting in place video and chat communication systems to allow the project teams to work together virtually. The company consulted Cherington HR about the arrangements and Helen Astill was able to advise them about support for the staff. Questionnaires were regularly circulated to employees about their working arrangements and they were given more time flexibility with regards to undertaking the work.

The Results
The business owner has been really pleased with how well it has all been working. He now plans to make the homeworking arrangement permanent for many roles but will be working on enhancing the job descriptions to ensure that they fit a homeworking environment better. There are plans to ensure that the teams meet in person on a regular basis so that they continue to bond and work well together. New contracts and agreements regarding the arrangements are being put together to confirm the terms and to manage expectations. These will include even greater flexibility as the staff have demonstrated that they can be trusted to get the job done.

Key words: Flexible Working; consultation; part-time; homeworking; trust


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