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Over the past decade, working from home has crept into corporate life but it’s fair to say that 2020 dramatically tipped the balance, finally normalising the working practice.

However, newly published Government stats reveal that home workers are still subject to bias and discrimination when it comes to payrises or promotion. 

June 24th marks National Work from Home Day and business leaders are urged to use the day to recognise the contributions of their remote workers.

What is National Work from Home Day?

National Work from Home Day was set up over a decade ago to campaign for the benefits of remote working. Not only does working from home give you a better work/life balance but it also reduces stress, particularly when coupled with flexible working hours.

And from a commercial perspective, working from home also makes great business sense. The sickness leave average for home workers was just 0.9% throughout 2020, compared to 2.2% for those working from corporate premises.

According to this latest research, 36% of UK workers spent some or all of last year working from their kitchen tables or couches, finally bringing the practice into the mainstream.

The downside.

For some industries, such as information, communications, professional, scientific, technical and financial services, the vast majority of employees now work from home. This is great news in terms of levelling the playing field.

However, the latest round of stats also show that:

  • Employees who mainly worked from home were less than half as likely to be promoted.
  • Employees who mainly worked from home were around 38% less likely on average to have received a bonus.
  • People who completed any work from home did 6.0 hours of unpaid overtime on average per week in 2020.

It’s clear that although many workers can now work from anywhere, that work needs to be done to ensure that they don’t become ‘invisible’ team members.

Business culture playing catch-up.

With office life now on the ropes, it’s harder for senior managers to keep a line of sight over individual employees. In some ways, this is a good thing as micromanagement and office politics are hardcore enthusiasm killers. 

However, it also means that senior leaders need to work that bit harder to ensure that they are not unfairly sidelining remote workers when it comes to rewards.

One of the companies spearheading the campaign for fair reward is Vestd, the UK’s first and most advanced equity share platform. Company founder, Ifty Nasir said that, “we recently ran a survey with YouGov and uncovered the huge appetite for flexibility and home working. In fact, these benefits would now make two thirds of UK job seekers choose one role over another. So it’s good to see the latest Government stats showing that companies are still encouraging home working.”

“However, we need to equalise the rewards for home workers. In our research, we interviewed 2,000 people and discovered that actually, most UK employees value simply being thanked or sincerely recognised for their contributions. On that score, it’s fundamental that line managers look for opportunities to acknowledge individual achievements.”

“We also saw a growing desire from employees to participate in share schemes – one third would be interested in shares or options. This is a really cost-effective way to reward employees, particularly for companies in covid recovery. In fact, share schemes are more tax-efficient than bonuses so they are all round winners for giving your employees something back.”

“However, if you do have the means and you are on a promotional round, it’s crucial that you consider all members of staff, not just those who are office based. Vestd went fully remote prior to the pandemic and we’ve seen that this method of working actually enhances performance across the organisation.” 

“Given our company ethos, we couldn’t be more behind this campaign.”

Celebrate Working From Home Day with your team!

If the time isn’t right to be dishing out the rewards, you could still mark 2021’s Work from Home Day by following some of the suggestions of the event’s organisers.

They suggest marking the day by having the team ditch the home office. Why not get everybody to work from their gardens (weather permitting) or sofas? 

You could even organise a gourmet lunch to be delivered to the whole team as a small but impactful thank you for their great work over the past challenging year.

Whatever you do, have good one.

Happy Work From Home Day!