Live panel debate: Is homeworking bad for our health? - Business Leader

Live panel debate: Is homeworking bad for our health?

New research conducted by law firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys suggests that the mental and physical health of employees could be at risk if businesses fail to adapt to the long-term impacts of home and office working environments.

Brought to you by Harrison Clark Rickerbys

While the rapid roll-out of flexible working in response to COVID-19 has had many positive impacts, its long-term deployment poses a dual challenge to businesses. The firm says bosses must manage risks to staff wellbeing from remote working and improve post-COVID office workspaces.

We assembled a prestigious panel for this discussion:

Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed during the debate:

  • Harriet Murray Jones: Can you tell us more about your recent research and what you found? (1:40)
  • Harriet Murray Jones: Do you believe firms are doing all they can to ensure safe and fulfilling work at home? (2:44)
  • Rob Vivian: What is your take on the statement that homeworking can be bad for a person’s health? And how have you found these last 9 months in regards to managing your staff’s working patterns? (3:35)
  • George Dexter: What is your take on the proliferation of homeworking – can be it bad for long-term health do you feel? (5:32)
  • Mike Beesley: As somebody that has grown and run recruitment businesses – an environment where being the office and creating energy seems key – what is your take on remote working, and do you see any implications for long-term health and productivity? (9:55)
  • Yetunde Hofmann: As a previous HR director – obviously, the latest lockdown has required many to work from home as a matter of national urgency, but I just wanted to get your take on whether you feel remote working can be bad for a person’s health? (13:26)
  • Eugene Farrell: From a mental health perspective – how can firms ensure employees are supported in your opinion? (15:35)
  • Harriet Murray Jones: I just want to get your views on how you see employers enticing staff back to the office when the lockdown is over; and then hopefully the pandemic. Do employers have the right to make staff come to the office for example, and is there anything they need to change to do so? (19:31)
  • Rob Vivian: As an employer – what is your view around this? Do you see your business being run from the office in the future or a hybrid model? (21:48)
  • George Dexter: Some say offices may be made redundant in some sectors, do you agree? Or will the real estate obligations companies have, mean this doesn’t happen? (23:49)
  • Mike Beesley: There is chatter about the downsides of a model where working from home is the norm. For example, where companies decide to outsource their workers to areas where labour is cheaper. What is your view on this? (27:42)
  • Yetunde Hofmann: Do you see remote working staying at this level? (31:29)
  • Eugene Farrell: In terms of mental health, would you say that there’s never been a time where businesses are more aware of the importance of mental health or do you think there is more that should be done? (33:57)

Questions from the public

  • Mike Beesley, George Dexter & Harriet Murray Jones: Have any participants done staff surveys on what balance of home/office working staff would prefer once we come out of lockdown and social distancing? (36:28)
  • Rob Vivian, Mike Beesley, Yetunde Hofmann & Eugene Farrell: Deutsche Bank have said there should be a remote worker tax – due to the benefit they get reduced travel etc – do you agree with this? (39:40)
  • Rob Vivian & Harriet Murray Jones: Given the restrictive and difficult nature of Zoom meetings for all the staff, can anyone recommend ways of making it more interactive and fun than just talking heads? (43:00)

• Final word from George Dexter (45:51)
• Final word from Rob Vivian (47:15)
• Final word from Mike Beesley (48:37)
• Final word from Eugene Farrell (50:13)
• Final word from Yetunde Hofmann (51:00)
• Final word from Harriet Murray Jones (52:15)

A special thanks to Harrison Clark Rickerbys for sponsoring this very special panel debate.

Be sure to subscribe to the Business Leader YouTube channel for more interviews with some of the UK’s leading business figures.

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