Flexible Working: The Real Pros and Cons
Following employment law solicitor Philip Landau's look at what flexible working time is and how to apply for it, we look at both the pros and the cons of putting it into practice.
From 30th June 2014, employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment with their employer will be able to make a request for flexible working. Up until now, it has only been available to those who have children under 17 (or 18 if they have a disability) or who care for an adult dependant.
Are the new flexible working rights a good thing?
As always, there are pros and cons:-
- Flexible working is intended to promote a happier, loyal, and more productive workforce, and therefore benefit both employees and employers alike. There are likely to be reduced sick days.
- Flexible working is a perk that could encourage talented job-seekers to work for a particular company.
- It can enable employers avoid redundancies.
- It shows that a company is progressive and listening to the needs of its staff.
- There is a cost saving to employers, who may be able to save office rental and ancillary expenses with more employees working at home. “Hot-desking “ is usually also more economical.
- Employees can save on commuting time and costs.
- It enables an employer to handle more business outside normal office hours.
- A more diverse workforce is possible.
- Modern technology means remote working is far more achievable now than ever before.
- Employers may have difficulty dealing with competing requests to work flexibly. ACAS has suggested employers may wish to “put names in a hat”.
- Employers could lay themselves open to discrimination claims if they only agree flexible working requests for parents and carers, or vice versa. They will need to make “value judgments” that are not limited to the personal reasons behind the request.
- There could be resentment amongst staff who have had their requests denied, whilst others have been accepted.
- Employers may feel a lack of control and/or awareness of the work being carried out in a flexible basis.
- A lack of contact with colleagues at the office could limit the cohesiveness of teams and exchange of ideas.
- There may be communication breakdowns if it is difficult to get hold of staff which may impact on the co-ordination of projects/meetings/phone calls.
Want to read more employment law blogs? See all of Philip's blogs here »
Philip Landau is an employment law solicitor and partner at London firm Landau Law. Follow him on Twitter at @philiplandau or on LinkedIn.
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