Are we ready for the flexible working revolution?

On 30 June, every employee in Britain will be giving the green light to request flexible working. Up until now, the assumption has been that this kind of benefit was reserved for parents and careers, but the government are keen to let everyone know they have the right to change up their routine.

Flexible working is great. It keeps businesses and people working at their peak, at the times and places that fit everyone. But you need to make sure you’re ready to assess every request properly and with the right priorities in mind.

What can employees ask for?

  • Part-time working
  • Flexi-time
  • Job-sharing
  • Working from home or remotely
  • Compressed hours
  • Term-time working
  • Annual hours

A lot of the above could work for you as well as your employees. Staff that are given the freedom to fit work around their life will be happier, more loyal and more efficient than those who have to make sacrifices for the 9 to 5.

But, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a green light for employees to demand anything at the hindrance of your business.

Steve Williams, Head of equality services at Acas said, "it's only a right to ask, and it's certainly not a right to have - and this is a key element."

It's only a right to ask, and it's certainly not a right to have - and this is a key element."

Steve Williams, Head of equality services at Acas

Reasons you can say no

  • Burden of additional costs
  • Inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • Inability to recruit additional staff
  • Detrimental impact on quality
  • Detrimental impact on performance
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • Planned structural change to the business

We should all be welcoming this boost to flexible working. Giving people the power to do the work you need, at the time and place that fits them, will push businesses into the modern world. But it needs to work for everyone. Make sure you know the rules so you know what to say come 30 June.

Will this change affect your business? Do you welcome the rise of flexible working? Let us know in the comments below.

For more on how to make flexible working for you, download your free Elastic Enterprise ebook here


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