IF the office is looking a little empty today, it’s because it is National Work From Home Day – with a record number of staff taking part.
Studies show flexible working is the most desired perk — above even a pay rise — and the growing trend for home-working can work well for both employers and staff.
Paul Tonge – The Sun Amanda Chaplin, Gibsons’ head of business development, works three days a week – with one day at home in Leamington Spa, Warks
More employers are embracing it in a bid to attract and retain staff who value work/life balance. But studies show that home-working boosts productivity, too.
Research by YouGov reveals a fifth of HR managers believe staff work to a “slightly higher” standard at home than in the office, while a further seven per cent reckon the quality of work is “much higher”.
A similar study by FlexJobs found seven in ten staff work harder at home because they have fewer distractions from colleagues — and because they are freed from the stresses of commuting. Around 4.2million of us regularly work from home — up from 3.4million in 2005 and equivalent to 13.7 per cent of the workforce.
A spokesman for campaign group Workwise, which organises National Work From Home Day, says: “Implementing a smarter working policy can lead to significant gains in productivity as well as better work/life balance — a win-win.”
Find out more at workwiseuk.org/work-wise-week
Games so flexible
IT’S not just major employers who allow working from home – many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) do too, including family business Gibsons Games.
Managing director Kate Gibson said: “As a parent of young children, I know what it’s like to manage the ‘juggle’. I am a real advocate of a good work-life balance which is a win-win for everyone.
Carl Fox – The Sun Family business Gibsons Games’ managing director Kate Gibson
“Many of our team carry out their roles flexibly including part-time, home working and flexible hours, which not only has allowed us to retain exceptional talent but has reaped rewards in terms of the culture of the organisation and productivity of our team.”
Amanda Chaplin, Gibsons’ head of business development, works three days a week – with one day at home in Leamington Spa, Warks.
The 32-year-old mum of two says: “Flexible working means I’m as productive in three days as I ever was in five and I’m able to focus without the distractions of the office.
“Valuing your team by allowing them to work flexibly motivates them to go above and beyond in achieving their objectives.”
Vegans’ big beef
VEGANS get a raw deal at work – almost half feel discriminated against by bosses.
A study from Crossland Employment Solicitors shows 48 per cent of firms “don’t do anything” to accommodate vegan members of staff.
Only 18 per cent of vegan employees said their works canteen had suitable options on the menu, while 96 per cent said they have to sit on leather furniture at work.
Of the bosses that do accommodate vegans, a third said it was costly and difficult, while 21 per cent felt it was risky in case they got it wrong.
MD Beverley Sunderland said: “Our research shows that prejudiced attitudes towards vegan workers is endemic among British employers.”
LOVE a spot of DIY and decorating? Homeless charity Shelter is taking on four DIY Support Advisers for a scheme funded by B&Q.
The service helps people who are settling into a new house after a period of homelessness. Often these places lack carpets or furniture, so this vital role turns an empty shell into a place to live.
DIY Support Adviser Becky Sparrow
DIY Support Adviser Becky Sparrow, 28, says: “Many of my clients are women made homeless as a result of domestic violence. It’s rewarding to see how they grow, gain confidence and feel empowered.”
There are adviser roles available in Manchester, Liverpool, Bournemouth and London and you will need an enhanced DBS check. Apply by May 20 at tinyurl.com/y2a3xo5t.
ESSENTIAL WATER SERVICES needs water utility teams. Please call 01462 675 769 to apply.
Thrill of the upskill
IT’S Learning At Work Week – as staff across the country are encouraged to see how they can upskill and move forward in their careers.
To get started, we have teamed up with Joanne Wass, learning and development consultant at insurer Aviva.
Joanne Wass, learning and development consultant at insurer Aviva
Joanne says: “Now is a great opportunity for people to take stock and take the first steps in a new direction.
“Simply ask yourselves, ‘What do I want to learn? Who might be able to help me? When do I want to achieve this goal?’
“With practical experiences, learning from others and making use of resources, we can unlock our true learning potential.”
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Here are her top tips:
Have three goals at a time. Clear and simple development goals will accelerate your progress and give you a greater chance of achieving them.
Keep timescales short. Allow eight to ten weeks to achieve each goal. This ensures you see progress made and release feelgood hormones in the brain.
Allow time to reflect. Taking 15 minutes a day to reflect on what you did well and want to improve is the most powerful tool you have.
Try new things. Trial and error teaches us what we’re good at and what we want to do more of.
Share experiences. Talk to others who share your goals and be sure to celebrate your achievements and progress.