The current energy and cost of living crisis will undoubtedly have a high impact on working from home, working from the office and hybrid forms of working involving both. 

This interesting article by Jane Parry, Associate Professor of Work and Employment and Director of the Centre for Research on Work and Organisations at Southampton Business School lays out a number of scenarios, warning that hard-won gains for improved well-being and productivity could be at risk. 

  • Those who live together are likely to start sharing their home offices rather than working in (and heating up) separate rooms.
  • More people may consider house sharing, leading to more house occupants and therefore more chaos. 
  • Schools may choose to be open for shorter amounts of time or even decide to provide lessons remotely for a day or two per week. 
  • Some people may prefer to actually come into the office if they live within walking distance or a short bus ride, in an effort to save on overall costs. 
  • Perhaps employers will want to close their offices during the winter. 

All of this may happen to make savings on energy and other costs.

A recent article from People Management, following an Instantprint survey, appears to suggest many more people may choose to go back into the office in order to save costs at home.  If more people want to return to work to reduce their costs, employers may not have sufficient capacity to accommodate, particularly if they have downsized their real estate following this change in working culture. 

Such socio-economic uncertainly is likely going to affect employee's stress levels and productivity. It may be more difficult to manage homeworking employees in the midst of the crisis due to the personal pressures they may be facing at home. There are likely to be more flexible working requests submitted in order to deal with childcare responsibilities. The issues in the labour market imposed by the energy crisis are not limited to the ones listed here.

Our employment team in Bristol is here to answer any questions you may have on how to manage your employee-employer relationships through this difficult period and to achieve the best result for all concerned. 

Watch out for our webinar in October, co-hosted by Bath's largest independent firm of Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisors, Richardson Swift, which aims to address some of the legal and tax considerations for employers of homeworking and hybrid working models.