More than half of employees in Scotland are now working from home either all or part of the time, research has found.
A new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found 15% of employees in Scotland are now fully working from home, while 39% work in a hybrid pattern.
Lee Ann Panglea, head of the CIPD in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “We are at the heart of the transition to a post-pandemic workplace, with new ways of working now becoming embedded in our working lives.”
Bosses are being urged to do more to ensure that those who cannot work from home do not lose out on the benefits of flexible working.
Frontline workers want work-life harmony just as much as office workers, and many feel their current role could be more flexible
Lisa Gallagher, Flexibility Works
Lisa Gallagher of social business Flexibility Works said frontline workers should not be “written off when it comes to new ways of working”.
She was speaking as Flexibility Works published research showing almost half (45%) of frontline workers believe their job could be done at different times to normal, while 29% feel some parts of their work could be done from a different location.
Just over half (53%) of frontline workers have had access to some form of flexible working, the research found, which is lower than the 60% average recorded across Scotland for all workers.
While flexible working has increased in the wake of the Covid pandemic, concerns are being raised that it is office workers who have benefited most from the change in working patterns while those in frontline roles – including nurses, carers, delivery drivers and retail staff – have missed out.
Nearly six in 10 (58%) Scottish employers who were unable to offer some form of flexible working to all staff during the pandemic said this was due to frontline and public-facing roles.
Ms Gallagher, the co-founder and director of Flexibility Works, accepted it is “harder to create flexibility in frontline roles”.
But she added: “The fact someone can’t work from home shouldn’t mean they’re written off when it comes to new ways of working.
“We’re urging employers to get more creative or they’re going to lose great workers and struggle to recruit new ones.
“Frontline workers want work-life harmony just as much as office workers, and many feel their current role could be more flexible.
“We’d encourage employers to talk to teams about what might be possible. Managers don’t need to have all the answers, and workers are generally very sensible with suggestions.
“There are lots of relatively small things employers can also do to increase work-life harmony for frontline workers, such as allowing direct input to shift rotas, making it easier to change shifts, offering good quality part-time roles, and allowing people to use leave in different ways to cover short appointments and events.
“It’s not all about wholesale moves to home-working and flexitime.”