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Nearly one third of charities working fully remotely, research suggests 

14 Jul 2022 News

Just under a third of charities that responded to a recent survey said their staff now work fully remotely.

nfpResearch, a market research agency, surveyed more than 100 charities to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed their working patterns.

It found that less than one in 20 charity staff go to their office five days a week. 

More than a third of respondents were health charities that have more than 200 employees.

Meanwhile, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (RSPCA) recently revealed that it had sold its West Sussex headquarters as part of a shift to more remote working.

Working policies in the Covid-19 era 

More than a quarter of those surveyed said their staff now work “totally remotely”, while another quarter spend one day or less in the office. 

Almost a quarter reported working two days a week in the office and less than one in five came in for three days. Less than one in 20 said they worked four days a week in the office. 

nfpResearch also asked respondents about the policies they have been enforcing in recent years. Just over one in 20 responded that they still expect pre-pandemic attendance in the office.

Just under a third had an open and self-led policy, with employees allowed to choose when they want to work in the office. Two-fifths still require their staff to work a fixed number of days in the office. 

Looking at satisfaction levels among staff, the survey found that four-fifths were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current charity’s policies. 

Just over one in ten said they were “dissatisfied”. The researchers said that three-quarters of those managing their own office attendance and having no requirements to go in regularly were likely to be “very satisfied”. 

Positive impacts on staff

One respondent said that their quality of life is “vastly better now I’m not commuting three hours a day and spending £400 a month on travel”.

Others reported a positive impact on their organisations, explaining that their teams “became more geographically diverse” and that they were able to “expand our talent pool”. 

In a nfpResearch blog, marketing coordinator Ben Roberts wrote: “This is all in support of what has quickly become common thinking within the job market. Though it may have felt experimental over lockdown, remote working seems to have quickly become a staple of working life, and increasingly, flexibility in this area is becoming an expectation of the workforce. 

“It’s not difficult to see why: the personal freedoms it provides are empowering to workers and can apparently boost productivity. It’s no wonder then that Dutch lawmakers are currently poised to make the practice a legal right in some circumstances, and with the rising cost of fuel, it’s unlikely that charity workers will be thrilled to be back to their commute any time soon. For the time being at least, remote work is king.” 

RSPCA: Embedding flexible working practices 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (RSPCA) recently revealed that it had sold its West Sussex headquarters.

The sale came after the large welfare animal charity, which refused to disclose the amount it received for the 6.2-acre site, said that it was planning to embrace a more modern and flexible approach to the workplace.  

An RSPCA spokesperson told Civil Society News: “As a result of the pandemic, feedback from our staff was that for those where their role allows e.g. office-based support functions, that they would like to work more flexibly including from home. In response, we have sold our office building Southwater and will be relocating to smaller offices nearby.

“The Southwater office has sold and will be developed to provide energy efficient industrial and office space. The new owners are committed to having as little environmental impact as possible while the site is developed and during its future operation.”

They added: “As part of our drive to become a more modern and sustainable organisation, we will move to a smaller, rented building, which will significantly reduce our running costs. These savings will be refocused to our vital animal welfare work.

“A new office will allow us to be closer to rail links, reduce our carbon footprint, and make us more accessible to a more diverse pool of candidates when we are recruiting.

“We are still exploring options for our future office and will remain in the Southwater building until March 2023.”

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