COVID-19: not all businesses have the ability to work from home

As more and more people are testing positive for COVID-19, employers seem to be backing remote working in a way to curb the spread of the virus. Still, some businesses cannot apply this measure to their employees, due to their line of work, with only a small amount of companies being able to have their entire workforce at home.

Incomes Data Research (IDR) found that only 4 per cent of companies have the ability for their entire workforce to work from home. Remote working tends to be available for roughly a quarter of the workforce.

Employees who work in manufacturing, customer facing-jobs or drivers often have limited access to remote working.

However, Lord Mark Price, founder of Engaging Works, a platform that helps people get happier at work and former trade minister has given tips on how to keep the wellbeing of employees up for those who are able to work from home. They are:


“Many employers have shied away from giving employees the freedom and flexibility to work from home because they fear that they simply won’t get the job done.  Research, again and again, shows that many employees are more productive working from home.  It is vital however that employers show they trust their employees working from home.  Show this trust through rewarding them by giving them this freedom and allowing them to coordinate their own working day.”


“The aim of any business is surely to make employees feel empowered.  There may be stumbling blocks when having an entire team suddenly working from home.  Listen to your employees and their ideas – they will bring solutions to these stumbling blocks and it will make them feel empowered in their new working environment.”


“Could working from home bring new opportunities to develop your team?  Online courses and training can be incredibly helpful for employees and importantly it makes them feel a valued member of the team.”


“Sharing information is the most important and difficult element of achieving an engaged workforce and with having your teamwork from home this could prove problematic.  It could be very easy to slide into a ‘closed-door approach’ but putting in place daily meetings via conference call will make the team feel that they are across any new information.  Giving employees information means they will understand the business and strategy, making a stronger organisation.”

Lord Price said:

More and more people are working from home. Whilst benefiting from not commuting our research at Engaging Works shows many feel isolated, miss contact with colleagues and training and development opportunities. Our new Working at Home survey enables organisations to ensure that home workers are happy and engaged.

Amazon has announced that all of its workers can take unlimited sick days this month (March) due to COVID-19. Across the pond, US workers are often only entitled to 10 days leave, for all holidays, sickness and emergencies.

IDR polled 81 HR professionals to obtain these results.