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Working from home 'transferring cost onto employees'

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More than four in ten (43%) employees think that being offered the chance to work from home is the result of employers transferring workspace costs onto the employee, according to a report by Regus.

The report found that only around a third of people working from home (35%) received a contribution from their organisation towards their home office costs.

This is despite the fact that a quarter (25%) of respondents reported these costs come to an entire monthly salary, with the average cost of running a home office in the UK almost £2,000 a year.

UK CEO of Regus Richard Morris said that if home office costs are passed on to employees, then companies could find themselves flouting health and safety laws and lacking insurance cover. “Nevertheless, the financial benefits of remote working for both staff and employer are clear,” he added.

“By cutting commuting times and working more flexibly, staff become more productive and more likely to remain loyal.”

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School, told HR magazine that while employers might see working from home as an employee benefit, it is often not viewed as such by the employee.

“The question for the employer is, are we saving any money by offering this?” Cooper asked. “Can we reduce our office space, and then save money accordingly? They might be renting the same space, so they don’t save money there.

“But what they ought to do is look at the evidence. Flexible working actually delivers to the bottom line. Employees are more job satisfied, they are more productive; that’s what the evidence shows.

“So actually, employers probably should be investing in it more. And if they did, and more people used it and liked it, then they could reduce their space. That would save money and result in better productivity,” added Cooper.