Under the law, employees are entitled to request a flexible working pattern; this could include home working, flexi-time, job sharing, compressed hours, staggered hours etc…
As an employer you are required to seriously consider this application for flexible working, and you may only reject it if you have good business reasons for doing it.
Requests for flexible working can be met with apprehension, however, I believe that flexible working should be viewed far more positively as, if applied well, I believe it can be of mutual benefit to employee and employer, by helping the employee to maintain a better work life balance and by helping the employer to become a magnet of talent and employer of choice.
For example, consider that a recent Accor survey of 1200 employees indicated that flexible working is one of three perks most employees would like to be offered. This suggests that flexible working can actually be used as an incentive to attract the most talented staff.
Also, a recent study by the NSPCC, the FSB and the British Chamber of Commerce in to work-life balance revealed that ‘there were clear business benefits to the employer of having work-life balance policies in place, in particular, the ability to retain experienced and valuable members of staff. ‘
11 companies were surveyed in this study, with ConocoPhillips the multinational 200Billion energy giant at one end of the spectrum and the Wind in Willows nursery of 16 staff being at the other end of the scale. This showed that flexible working was effective in a range of environments.
It is my belief that flexible working should not be looked upon with apprehension but be considered as part of any business’s core people strategy. Where possible, I believe that businesses should proactively build an environment that can thrive with flexible working, helping to turn your business into an employer of choice and magnet for talent.
From a legalistic point of view, if you don’t have one already, I recommend that you establish a flexible working policy which helps you to meet your statutory obligations. You can purchase a legally compliant Flexible Working Policy by clicking here.
If you would like to build a more tailored flexible working policy to suit your company and help to improve your employer value proposition, then please contact me.