Although employees with less than 26 weeks service do not have a statutory right to request flexible working, some employers may allow all staff to make a request.
To make a request for flexible working employees must:
- make their request in writing, state the date the request is made, the change to working conditions they are seeking, and the date they would like the change to take effect
- state whether they have made a previous application for flexible work and the date of that application
- what change to working conditions they are seeking and how they think this may affect the business e.g. cost saving to the business
- if they are making their request in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for disabled employee.
There are numerous potential benefits of flexible working which include:
- happier employees
- loyal employees
- more productive workforce
- reduced sick days
- attracting talent
- avoiding redundancies
- being seen as a progressive company
- engaging with the needs of staff
- potential savings on office costs
- potential savings on commuting times
- encouraging a more diverse workforce
The potential challenges include:
- difficulty dealing with competing requests to work flexibly
- potential discrimination claims
- possible resentment from staff who have had their requests denied whilst others have been accepted
- loss of contact with colleagues limiting a sense of ‘team’ and exchange of knowledge and ideas
It is important to recognise the possible benefits of enabling flexible working within your company or organisation.
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