The UK’s minister for women and equalities, Liz Truss, has called for employers to make flexible working a standard option to help level the digital divide.
The comments, which come ahead of International Women’s Day, appear at odds with a recent government position around the so called ‘new normal’ and whether that should include remote and hybrid working policies.
Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director, Zoho Europe, comments: “Remote and flexible working has been a growing trend over the last decade, and the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption rate.
“As society safely reopens, many office workers will be itching to get back into a physical or on-site environment. However, now that we’ve had a taste of truly flexible working, with the added perks of lower overheads thanks to limited travel and reduced need to pay for office spaces, it’s likely that many organisations will naturally transition to a ‘hybrid’ working model. This sees workers splitting time between home and office locations, experiencing benefits of both.
“Continued remote / hybrid working or flexible working policies draw the added benefit of allowing organisations to better diversify teams – allowing candidate applications from all over the country, and reducing the power that socio-economic hierarchies, place, race and gender may have over hiring initiatives. They can bring more opportunity to people with many individual circumstances which make traditional expectations of working hours and locations prohibitive. For example, those who may previously have had to choose between family and career can have more flexibility in leading balanced lives without foregoing personal choices or ambition.
“Helping businesses to deal with this new normal requires the right tech which will allow HR managers to onboard new hires efficiently, allow managers to facilitate seamless remote training or online work experience, and enable existing workers to move between different working locations easily and without disruption. It also helps to maintain cohesion in flexible working roles, enabling seamless transitions in job-share roles, for example.”