Made Members Discuss 'Remote working in Manufacturing' with Hosts Wright Hassall

Made Members Discuss 'Remote working in Manufacturing' with Hosts Wright Hassall

Made in Group

Made in the Midlands patron Wright Hassall hosted a round table with eight members of MIM on Remote Working in Manufacturing. Since the pandemic, there has been an increasing demand for employers to offer remote or hybrid working to staff. This can be difficult for manufacturing businesses where staff are required to be present. Wright Hassall offered members advice on the difference between Flexible and Hybrid working and what is considered a legal request. 

The aim of the roundtable was for manufacturing leaders  to understand how they can  incorporate flexible working patterns into their businesses and limit risk factors posed by remote working culture. Offering their expertise on the topic, Wright Hassall LLP are one of the largest independent law firms in the West Midlands with over 250 people operating from a single site in Leamington Spa.

During the 2020 pandemic many businesses across the UK introduced a ‘work from home’ policy to avoid furloughing staff. Manufacturing businesses took part in this for office staff, with operational staff still working in the workshop. Many took part in the Ventilator Challenge which saw firms produce parts and assemble critical ventilators for those suffering with COVID-19. 

Since 2021 many businesses have started to bring staff back into the office, with the offer of hybrid working - the option to work from home and in the office. Participants who took part in the roundtable believe that since the pandemic, staff may be abusing the hybrid working policy. 

Flexible working is different to hybrid, as this is less rigid, giving staff the option as to how often they work from the office and at home. Wright Hassall highlighted that this is usually something requested by women who have returned from maternity leave.  

In recent months it has become apparent to the Made in Group that many manufacturing businesses are struggling to recruit skilled staff and retain current employees. The overwhelming pressure to do this has been elevated by new recruits requesting or looking for employers who offer  hybrid working. 

Wright Hassall reminded industry leaders that they must have a consistent approach to hybrid working that staff are aware of. This should include a paper trail and a formal hybrid policy. This can also make the employer look more attractive to potential recruits. Whilst it was necessary to work from home during COVID, it seems to be a perc now and a request in order to retain staff. Employers can introduce an online portal to monitor staff activity when working from home, however many currently rely on trust when it comes to working from home. 

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