According to new research from specialist recruiter Hobson Prior, home-working is growing ever more popular in the life sciences sector: 32 percent of professionals surveyed have seen an increase in the number of home-working opportunities available. Almost three quarters of these individuals reported working from home at least occasionally, 37 percent do so at least one day per week, and 11 percent are fully home-based.
Career trends in life sciences surveyed 1,527 individuals working in the European life sciences industry. Focusing on skills shortage and its impact on careers, the report suggests employers are increasingly acknowledging the usefulness of home-working as a way to reduce overheads, recruit remote workforces, and attract and retain top talent.
The benefits for employees are manifold. “Working from home can promote a healthier work-life balance, as well as creating a greater sense of trust and autonomy,” comments Jake Thomas, Managing Director of Hobson Prior. “Some people feel it makes them much more productive too.”
According to the report, flexible working is most common in the Netherlands, with 70 percent working from home at least occasionally. Yet Spain has the most professionals who are completely home-based (34 percent), and an impressive 48 percent of French respondents say they work from home at least one day per week. France has long been ahead of the curve in promoting work-life balance, and its consultancies are now banned from asking staff to check emails outside of 9am-6pm. The UK sits just above average, with 39 percent working from home at least one day per week.
Conversely, Ireland has the highest percentage of respondents who never or rarely work from home (63 percent), as well as the lowest percentage that have seen an increase in home-working opportunities (14 percent).
Those in clinical operations and clinical research and development are the most likely to work mostly from home. “Home-working can really suit CRAs and CPMs, as their work allows much of their interaction with colleagues to be done remotely,” explains James Inwood, Hobson Prior’s Clinical Team Leader. “It’s certainly becoming more common in CROs, which aim to cut costs by reducing office-based staff.”
Yet although a more cost-efficient and content workforce may sound appealing, the report warns employers to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place before encouraging employees to work from home. On the subject, one respondent commented: “Home-working requires a good attitude from colleagues, management skills from managers and technical support for the employee.”
Without these fundamentals, home working can quickly lead to employees feeling isolated and lacking control, with one respondent commenting: “In my last company I was completely home-based, but with no support or integration I decided I would rather leave and commute to another country instead.”
Filed Under: Drug Discovery