More than one in three employers have reported a rise in the number of employees working from home this year, new research has revealed.
The findings from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) also showed that more than one in seven organisations had seen a significant increase in home working since 2022.
Acas, which surveyed 1,000-plus employers, believes the results are as expected given the current state of the economy.
Its chief executive Susan Clews said: “The cost-of-living pressures are impacting many people and it is unsurprising that over a third of employers have seen an increase in staff working from home.
“For some workers, the cost of commuting is eating into their budgets while for others, going to their workplaces saves on home energy costs.
“It’s important for businesses to work with staff to agree suitable ways of working for specific roles, taking account of individual circumstances and regularly reviewing arrangements.”
According to Acas, hybrid or home working can help employers attract and retain employees who value flexibility and ensure they remain more competitive. The body is advising organisations to have a flexible working policy in place that explains how staff can request it, as well as how any positions will be assessed and how decisions will be reached.
Clews added that Acas’s new draft code encourages employers to take a positive approach to flexible working.
Last month, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill received Royal Assent, giving millions of people the right to request flexible working arrangements from their first day of employment.
The new rules, which are expected to come into effect next year, include changes to employees’ working times, hours, or location. It will also enable them to make two requests in a 12-month period, rather than one as is currently the case, and will mean they no longer have to explain the effect of the arrangement on the business.
Domonique McRae, lawyer at Payne Hicks Beach, added: “Employers should now familiarise themselves with the changes in the new Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act and update or replace their policies. In some cases, the legislative amendments will also require updates to contracts of employment and may necessitate the introduction of additional training for staff.”