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10th July 2015

Flexible working requests: How attitudes can change in 12 months?

It’s just over a year since the right for all employees to request to work flexibility came into force.  I recall a number of managers from small and medium-sized businesses worrying what this change in legislation meant for them, fearing the fact that all their employers with 26 weeks service were able to request to work flexibly.

So, 12 months later I am pleased to see all the businesses involved have survived the flexible working legislation and began to embrace this with their employees, having got over the initial worry.

Their main concerns were:

  • How would they cope with part time workers?
  • Would they need to recruit more employees?
  • How will this effect group dynamics and teamwork?

Just some of the questions they initially asked.  My response to each of them was to try look at the positives of a flexible working business rather than the barriers that you may face.  To consider how flexible working could benefit their business, and how this could be mutually beneficial to both the employer and the employee – you can find useful information here.

The positives that I would advise you to consider may assist you:

  • Reduced absence levels, lateness and employees generally adding more value when they are at work
  • Happier employees as they are working the shift pattern that they requested. This may be to care for a family member or to undertake a new hobby/interest that they wish to pursue
  • A more engaged employee which means higher productivity
  • A reduction in employee turnover may result in important benefits such as retaining key workers, lower recruitment costs and training costs
  • Poor health and stress is lower for employees who have access to flexible working compared to those that don’t have it – another positive effect on productivity

So consider these points the next time you receive a request from an employee to work flexibly as they highlight how employees who work flexibly bring many positive factors with them. Further evidence is in a report from the CIPD showing the benefits of flexible working, which can be found here.

If your employees, customers and clients are feeling more satisfied, then in turn this is going to lead to more success for your business and, ultimately, less stress for you.

Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS Expert Expert HR Contributor

Topics: Human Resources

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