From June this year all employees in the UK (who’ve been employed for 6 months) can now request flexible working.

Just because they can, doesn’t mean they will or that it will suit every employee or business.  Don’t panic – this could be great for your business.

Flexible working allows people to work in a different way:

  • reduced working hours – either permanently or temporarily
  • compressed hours – contracted hours in fewer (longer) days
  • park time working
  • overtime – to cover peaks in demand
  • working from home – full-time, part-time, occasional
  • job-share
  • different start/end times (flexitime)

You can attract the right people for your business – not everyone wants to work a standard 9-5, five days a week or your business might not need full-time staff.

You’ll have a more productive, motivated and loyal workforce if people are able to work hours that fit around their lifestyle or other commitments – childcare, carer, life changes, study etc.

Saves time for travel and commuting which can be quite significant for many people.

Having a flexible working environment in your business could enable you to extend your business hours outside a standard working day by having staff who start early or finish later in the day.  Good for businesses with overseas customers or providers, as they can cover a broader timezone.

Reduces overtime and overhead costs, potentially freeing up office space or reducing the need for expansion.

You build a level of trust with your employees.  Once you’ve got over the idea they’ll be sitting around watching daytime TV, they’ll actually get a lot more done if they’re working flexibly from home, away from the everyday distractions and interruptions in the office.

What you need to consider:

  • additional costs involved
  • reorganise, managing the existing workload
  • recruiting temporary or agency staff
  • skills and potential within the business
  • impact on quality and performance

Consider the needs of the business and your staff member before making a decision on whether flexible working is appropriate.

Useful resources:

The Right To Request Flexible Working (ACAS Guide)
Code of Practice (ACAS Guide)
Liberating or isolating – working from home
The benefits of flexible working