How to introduce flexible working to your business

How to introduce flexible working to your business

According to Statista, around 4.42 million employees in the United Kingdom had employment contracts that allowed for flexible working hours, making it the most common flexible working practice in that year.

Whilst this is great news in principle for employees, how can business owners offer it without impacting their bottom line?

Updates to the Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 also mean that employees can request flexible working from day one of their employment. In addition, employees can make two requests in 12 months. Employers will have two months to respond to the request and must consult with the employee and provide a reason for rejecting a request. Employees will not be required to explain the effect, if any, the change might have on the employer.

Flexible working policy

Employers should ensure that they have a policy in place, so that the correct process is followed as and when requests are received. The policy should ensure they reflect these rights.

Consider things like:

  • Core working hours
  • Working abroad
  • Office working
  • Who is eligible
  • Business needs
  • Impact on wellbeing
  • The application process, including application, consultation and the decision.

For support with your policy, please get in touch.

Type of flexible working

There are a number options available when we talk about flexible working, these can include:

  • job-sharing
  • part-time working
  • annualised hours
  • compressed hours
  • flexitime
  • term-time working
  • swapping hours
  • working from home
  • career breaks
  • flexible shift working.

There may be additional options that are better suited to particular individuals which could also combine some of the above.

Considerations for employers

  • Consult with staff to understand what they would like in an ideal situation (flexible hours, early finishes or working from home arrangements?) A staff survey is a quick way to do this and understand what the different requirements are within your business.
  • Look at the job roles and analyse them in line with peak times for your business to help you to understand where you could allow flexibility with hours.
  • Establish core hours / days – where key staff are working so that your business is not left short or under-staffed.
  • Communicate changes and rules to staff clearly so that they understand what is expected of them and what will not be tolerated.
  • Look at systems and processes which will make flexible working easier. At Bespoke HR, we run a flexible working policy but use tools such as FreeAgent to track time and instant messaging platform Slack to communicate with the rest of our team no matter where they are.

Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023

Be aware that an employee may not lawfully be dismissed, selected for redundancy, victimised, or subjected to any other detriment for asserting their right to apply for flexible working. They should also be aware that refusal to grant a request for flexible working may risk a discrimination claim.

For additional support with flexible working, or writing your policy from our team of outsource HR Consultants, you can find out how to work with Bespoke HR here.

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Written by:

Marketing Team
Marketing Team - We are a team of HR and business consultants based in Guildford, Surrey and work with hundreds of clients across a range of industries ranging from healthcare, hospitality and finance to media, manufacturing and IT.