Many companies see flexible working as an option, however it is not. All workers within the UK have a legal right to request flexible working if they have been working for the same company for 26 weeks and the company has to review all requests in a reasonable manner. There should be a sound business reason as to why they are not able to consider flexible working.
You can find more information on the ACAS website:ACAS: The right to request flexible working
Many reasons are given as to why employees’ cannot work flexibly, however with technology today, these arguments do not stand. With cloud based tools and conference calls being able to be done via a computer, means there is very little reason as to why companies should not adopt it.
Challenges will be experienced when working from home, but they can be overcome, and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Flexible working can lead to a happier and productive workforce. It can have a huge impact on employee satisfaction. Inevitably employees are more committed to their role knowing they are working from home and do not want to leave the perception of that they are skiving off work.
Research has shown that employees are less stressed as flexible working allows them to work around responsibilities outside of their job. It helps them balance their work-life schedule better. It in turn leads to improved employee health.
Flexibility works both ways. The upside for the company is that with fewer people in the office, office space could be reduced which helps save costs.
Inadvertently, with employees being less stressed, it has an impact on their health which results in fewer sick days having to be paid.
It is a good attraction tool if companies are looking to recruit potential employees. Not all employees will take up the offer, but knowing that the choice is there, gives them an opportunity to make a decision later should they want to.
It improves the company’s rate of retention as employees’ would be less likely leave for a company who does not offer this benefit.
With the focus these days on sustainability and the footprint companies are leaving on the environment, work flexibility assist companies in becoming more greener – employees do not have to travel to work which leaves a smaller carbon footprint and as already mentioned, smaller work space is required.
As can be seen, there are benefits for both employers and employees by adopting flexible working. By setting clear boundaries it can work.
Written by Alison Charles and Reyhana Jano