Flexible working can take various forms, such as home working or mobile working, or flexible contracts (job sharing, part-time working, etc.). Since 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment.
Being open to requests for flexible (or remote) working can have a number of benefits for organisations including:
- Allowing them to grow without necessarily needing a larger workplace.
- Attracting better staff by:
- showing commitment to employees’ work/life balance;
- not necessarily requiring employees to live in the local area (therefore being able to recruit from a wider pool of people).
- Improving staff retention as people have the flexibility to work when, where and how they want to.
- Helping to keep staff happy and motivated, which could reduce levels of sickness absence and increase productivity.
Large organisation such as Microsoft UK have long been benefiting from flexible working arrangements. According to Gordon Frazer, Managing Director at Microsoft UK, flexible working is important for organisations that want to remain competitive:
“It’s no longer viable for businesses to stick to rigid, inefficient ways of working if they want to compete successfully in the market.”
However, it is often even simpler for smaller organisations, with less in the way of hierarchy and structures, to allow their staff to work flexibly. Clearly, flexible working arrangements need to be tightly managed to ensure that work is being completed effectively, and appropriate procedures have been put in place to ensure that remote staff:
- remain motivated;
- don’t feel isolated;
- are performing as well as they should;
- have all the necessary equipment and facilities in place to be able to work productively away from the workplace.
For more information on flexible working and its possible health benefits, visit the Acas website, or to get guidance on work and health, visit the Fit for Work website or call the free advice line on 0800 032 6235.