The month of July signaled changes in restrictions across some parts of the UK and brought discussions around the future of work to the forefront of the media agenda.
The CIPD has been helping navigate organisations through such change by engaging with several key issues to continue championing better working lives for everyone. Flexible working remains a key topic of discussion with the effects of the pandemic still providing challenges for business.
As restrictions across parts of the UK eased on Monday 19 July, ACAS released guidance for businesses on hybrid working practices – a type of flexible working where employees split their time between the workplace and working remotely. The guidance was developed as part of the Flexible Working Taskforce, of which CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese is chair. The taskforce is focused on learnings from the pandemic and developing policies and practices that support employers and workers to adapt to new ways of working.
When discussing the importance of flexible working in attracting top talent and retaining workers, Peter Cheese, said: ‘As we see a tightening labour market and recruitment challenges in sectors and key skill areas, flexible working provision should be seen as a strategic differentiator,’ as reported by Reuters Foundation. Peter further commented on the ‘mismatch of supply and demand in the overall labour market’ and the different dynamics that have been created in the labour market by the pandemic during an interview with Bloomberg.
Industry leaders across Scotland also cited the importance of flexible and dynamic approaches to recruitment and work. The CIPD’s report on Working Lives Scotland 2021 highlighted the serious impact jobs have on mental well-being, with the Sunday Post commenting that more than a quarter of Scottish employees admitted they found it hard to relax in their personal time because of their job. Lee Ann Panglea, Head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, told Insider: ‘Scottish employers should think creatively about the flexibility they can provide to those that need to be in the physical workplace as well as those who can work remotely, ensuring everyone has fairness of opportunity.’
Many businesses across England voiced their frustration on staff shortages due to employees being notified to self-isolate by NHS Track and Trace. The CIPD released a statement calling on the government to review the self-isolation requirements, citing the issue would only continue to grow and cause further disruption to business. The commentary was featured in The Mirror with The Telegraph, Channel 5 and several BBC regional stations echoing the statement.
In a BBC article, Gerwyn Davies, Senior Policy Advisor at CIPD, commented on the impact of Brexit on job vacancies, saying: ‘a perfect storm’ had occurred ‘where we're seeing a demand for labour occur alongside a sharp fall in the stock of EU workers.
Gerwyn warned of the danger of overhyping the current staffing shortages, stating that employers would need to ‘work harder to recruit and train their staff’ in order to combat the increased need for workers. The statement was echoed in the Telegraph.
The CIPD was shocked and appalled by the unacceptable racist abuse targeted towards black England football players following the EURO 2020 final. The online abuse served as a stark reminder of the prevalence of racism in English society and highlighted the work yet to be done to stamp it out. The people profession has a fundamental role to play in leading the awareness and understanding of racism at work, and the changes in culture, behaviours, policies, practices and learning to make a difference. The CIPD has a dedicated anti-racism hub providing people professionals with the resources and guidance to help them tackle racism and racial discrimination in the workplace.
Conversations around women’s health including the menopause and perimenopause continue to be an important consideration for employers. The Guardian cited a 2019 CIPD survey which found nearly a third of women experiencing menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms of all kinds, had taken sick leave as a result and most also reported feeling unable to tell their manager the real reason.
CIPD Advisor, Rachel Suff, featured in Bloomberg’s Stephanomics podcast to discuss normalising the menopause in the workplace. Rachel advised businesses to take some practical steps to minimise the negative impact of work on people experiencing menopause in the workplace, including ‘having fans,’ ‘good ventilation’ and easy access to washrooms.
Championing better work and working lives
About the CIPD
At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.