Hybrid working (where staff typically work both at home and the workplace) and fully remote working transformed the employment relationship during the pandemic.
A recent YouGov/Acas survey found that the majority of employers have seen an increase in hybrid working for staff compared to before the pandemic. It also found that half of employers have seen an increase in staff working from home full-time.
Hybrid working appears here to stay. According to the ONS, hybrid working in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, was 45%. In spring 2022, it was 38%. Before the pandemic, 12% of workers did any work from home. Furthermore, 63% of 18-24-year-olds would consider looking for a new job if their employer insisted on a full-time return to the workplace (from an ADP Research Institute poll). However, attitudes to hybrid working are far from settled and its scope continues to evolve.
For all hybrid working employers, there is an ongoing challenge of consolidating and improving current arrangements. For example, understanding how it affects organisational issues (such as learning, development, culture and productivity) and addressing any employment law risks (including contractual disputes and potential discrimination claims).
In this briefing, we highlight some emerging legal risks associated with hybrid working and consider how employers should plan going forwards.
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