9-5 Desk Job? – Unchained!

16 Apr
In the past five years we have seen a huge increase in technology and how it is used. Previously, if you travelled to work on a train you would see a number of commuters reading a newspaper, talking on their mobile and possibly using a laptop. Currently with smart phones, tablets, face time and Skype we are now seeing something very different.

Flexible Working Takes On A Whole New Dimension

The working culture has shifted from the standard 9-5, where you were expected to be at your desk between certain hours to be considered working. Nowadays, companies are seeing the benefits of offering a more flexible working environment. The benefit of flexible working is undisputed. Research shows that employees feel more valued and display higher levels of motivation and loyalty. This has a positive impact on employee retention, thereby enhancing the employer’s return on investment.
In April 2003, the Employment Act introduced the right for parents of young and disabled children to apply to work flexibly. Amendments to this right, have been ongoing since then and from June 2014, the right to request flexible working, will be available to everyone with six months of continuous service. 
Flexible working isn’t just for employees wishing to reduce their hours. It covers a wide range of employment arrangements such as job shares, working from home, condensed hours and even flexi hours.
Smaller businesses will be anxious that such requests will be impractical and put further pressures on the business. However, in the majority of cases, benefits outweigh impracticalities. The employer needs to be seen as reviewing each request fairly and reasonably and be able to provide objective information on the reasons, if the request is refused.
With the ever increasing cost of living and the hefty costs associated with childcare, employees want flexibility and stability. The opportunity to work flexibly is an important way to attract and retain talent. This can be a win-win for both parties.

Practical Tips for handling flexible working requests

Check the employee’s eligibility
Have a clear procedure for dealing with requests
Beware of falling foul of discrimination rules by unreasonable refusal (usually based on spurious and stereotypical assumptions). An unreasonable refusal can expose the employer to challenges of unfair, indirect discrimination
When a request is made, apply sound reasoning to the decision to either grant or refuse the request; keep records
If you need to review a request that was previously granted, and need to alter those arrangements, don’t impose the change. Instead seek mutual agreement (if that’s possible!!)
Ensure that you deal with requests in a consistent manner
Weigh-up the reasonableness of your response, applying common sense judgement (difficult in some circumstances)
Do you require an update to you flexible working policy? Our consultants are frequently advising clients on such matters. Why not book a Zero cost advice session?  Call us today.