Charities: Working from anywhere

The charity sector has always had a hard time competing for talent in the job market, as well as facing challenges with a high staff turnover. In recent years, many charity workers left their jobs to work elsewhere, seeking higher salaries and more flexible working options. This meant many organisations have struggled to find enough talent to replace those who left, or the resources to cover the cost.

The good news is that there’s been a recent surge in people searching for jobs in the sector. In the past year, according to Google, there’s been a staggering 88% increase in searches for ‘charity jobs remote’.1 People want to work and they’re telling you exactly what they want – a job with purpose.

If you want to attract new talent and keep staff happy, it seems giving your employees the option to work remotely is key.

Office working vs remote working

Across the sector, many organisations have started to listen to what their employees want. Some have chosen to completely eliminate the need to come into the office, having fully embraced remote working over the pandemic.

Charities with outreach centres closed some of their locations and started offering services via Teams or Zoom. This helped them save on costs such as; office space, utilities, travel and time, while also allowing them to fit in more appointments for example. While these cuts could help you become more cost and time efficient, there’s a risk of sacrificing ‘quality’ for ‘quantity’. For example, losing the personal touch from a face-to-face meeting in exchange for mass video conference calls.

Some charities have offered remote working as an option to staff whose roles allow for it, and flexible hours for those with customer-facing responsibilities. Offering these choices to employees could help combat the particularly high staff turnover in the charity sector, but it can be complex to set up and organise.

While there have been cutbacks, others have invested in new state of the art offices to entice employees to come back to the office, offering a refurbished modern workplace and a friendly office culture.

The challenge is their entire workforce having spent months at home, have grown accustomed to managing their own work/life balance and no daily commute. We’ve found that nearly 75% of employees believe that their workplace would be more successful if they were offered remote working.2   With this in mind, giving staff no choice but to return to the office, even a new improved one, might not be cost-effective and could lead to resentment.

The key benefit every employee is searching for is choice. Whether it’s ‘flexible working’ or ‘charity remote jobs’, people are searching for charity jobs that allow them to choose the working environment that’s right for them.

Wage expectations in the charity sector

Charities are limited in how much they can offer employees in terms of a salary. This is especially off-putting for those worried about the recession, which is already causing a disparity between wages and the cost of living.

If charities want to attract the talent they need, it’s a good idea to start broadcasting the benefits of working in the sector, including:

  • Meaningful work
  • Friendly team culture
  • Opportunities for progression
  • Rewards for employee achievements

Offering flexible remote working can provide employees the option to manage their own schedule in order to reduce their day-to-day costs. Many people will even accept a lower salary just to have the freedom to work where and when they want, in the sector they want.

We already know remote workers save charities on travel and office costs but it’s also worth considering how much you could save on employee expenses and potentially pass those on in salaries.

Charities supplementing their workforce with overseas employees

Instead of making charity jobs more attractive to the UK market, some organisations have looked for ways to recruit staff from overseas. Remote working skilled professionals from other countries may be happy to accept a lower wage and work longer hours. There are many variants to consider such as; tax implications, insurance requirements and health and safety issues around remote working, as well as providing required training.3

If your UK employees work overseas for a short time, it may be unlikely to trigger any unexpected liabilities. But employing permanent staff to work overseas increases certain tax and insurance implications, so it may not be as cost-effective as you might think.

Having a remote workforce

Embracing remote working is a substantial shift, it can significantly reduce your overheads and help you attract and retain the talented professionals you need at a lower overall cost.

But having a remote or partially remote workforce won’t be right for every charity. It really depends on a fine balance between how much work you can deliver remotely and how much extra value it’ll bring to your organisation.

With more people searching for remote charity jobs than ever before, this is a great time to consider where and how remote working could fit into the future and structure of your organisation for the long term.

Get in touch with a charity insurance expert