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Flexible Working

Updated: Apr 29

Types of flexible working

Flexiable working UK
Flexiable working

Flexible working refers to a work arrangement tailored to accommodate an individual employee’s preferences. It encompasses various options, including:

  1. Working from Home:

  • This involves performing some or all work duties from your own home.

  • Feasibility depends on factors such as job type, available facilities, and the ability to work remotely.

  • Generally, roles with minimal human interaction are more suitable for remote work. 2. Hybrid Working:

  • A variation of working from home where you split your time between home and the office (e.g., two or three days at home and the rest in the office). 3. Part-Time Work:

  • Working fewer hours than standard full-time hours in your industry.

  • For instance, an office worker might work three full days a week (9 am to 5 pm) instead of five. 4. Job Sharing:

  • Sharing responsibilities of a full-time role between two individuals.

  • One person might work two days, while the other works three. 5. Condensed Hours:

  • Working full-time hours but compressing them into fewer days.

  • For example, if standard hours are 7 hours per day for a five-day week, condensed hours might be 8 hours 45 minutes over four days, with the fifth day off. 6. Flexitime:

  • Core hours align with other employees (e.g., 10 am to 4 pm).

  • You have flexibility in choosing your daily start and end times.

  • A daily time band (e.g., 8 am to 8 pm) may apply for scheduling.

Remember that flexible working arrangements can enhance work-life balance and productivity while meeting individual needs

What advantages does flexible working offer?

Flexible working provides several benefits for employees:

Improved Work-Life Balance:

Spending more time at home with family and escaping the pressures of a traditional work environment can reduce stress and burnout.

Increased Productivity:

Having greater control over working hours is empowering and tends to boost happiness and productivity, benefiting both employees and employers

Enhanced Retention Rates:

Access to flexible working hours encourages longer employment tenure, aligning with individual needs.

Lower staff turnover contributes to better teamwork and retention of key personnel.

Cost Savings:

Employees save money by reducing commuting, lunch, and childcare expenses.

Employers benefit from lower overhead costs per desk (electricity, water), positively impacting the environment.

Enhanced Brand Value:

Offering flexible working makes the company more appealing to job seekers.

It attracts high-quality staff who value this benefit.

Does flexible working have any drawbacks?

Not Suitable for All Employees:

Some individuals thrive in structured work environments, preferring clear guidelines on when and where to work.

For them, a traditional 9-to-5 office day provides a distinct separation between work and leisure time.

Lack of Home/Work Divide:

Working from home can blur the lines between professional and personal responsibilities.

These blurred boundaries may cause additional stress for both you and anyone sharing your home.

Employers may also have varying expectations regarding your availability to address work-related matters.

Reduced Social Contact:

Flexible working, especially when working remotely, often leads to isolation from colleagues.

Some people miss the camaraderie and atmosphere of a traditional office environment.

Communication Challenges:

Flexible work arrangements require coordinated communication with colleagues, often relying heavily on technology.

Technological hiccups can add administrative tasks and consume valuable work time.

Diminished Benefits:

In certain cases, flexible working may result in fewer working hours, leading to reduced earnings and fewer accrued paid holidays.

If you participate in a company pension scheme, your contributions may also be lower, impacting your retirement income.

Who is legally entitled to request flexible working?

Before April 2024, you had the legal right to request flexible working if you met the following criteria:

  • You were classified as an employee.

  • You had been employed by the company for 26 weeks or longer.

  • You hadn’t made a previous request for flexible working within the past 12 months.

Starting from April 6, 2024, you can request flexible working arrangements without needing to justify your request or explain its impact on your employer’s business. Additionally:

  • You can make flexible working requests twice a year, not just once.

  • Employers must respond to these requests within two months instead of three.

In general, you are considered an employee if:

  • You receive regular work from the company in exchange for an agreed salary or wage.

  • You perform the work personally.

  • You agree to carry out the work according to your employer’s specifications (e.g., working at an agreed location or specific hours/days).

Even if you don’t meet all the above criteria, you can still apply for flexible working, although your employer isn’t bound by the same legal obligations to consider or grant it.

Is your employer obligated to approve your request for flexible working?

Your employer is not legally required to agree to your request for flexible working. However, if they deny a statutory request from you, they must provide a valid business reason.

For instance, an employer can decline a flexible working request if they believe:

  1. It could adversely impact the organization’s ability to maintain service quality.

  2. Hiring additional staff would be financially unfeasible.

  3. The overall cost would be too high for the organization.

  4. Performance levels might decrease.

  5. There isn’t sufficient work available during the hours you propose.

  6. Your request doesn’t align with planned business changes.

How to Apply for Flexible Working

There are two ways to request flexible working from your employer:

  1. Statutory Request:

If you meet the legal eligibility criteria (as mentioned above), you can formally ask for flexible working conditions through a ‘statutory request.’

A statutory request grants you legal rights under the Flexible Working Regulations 2014.

Key points:

Always submit your request in writing.

Both you and your employer must follow formal procedures.

Your employer must consider your request reasonably.

They must provide a written response within three months (or two months after April 6, 2024) from the date of your request.

2. Making a Non-Statutory Request for Flexible Working

Alternatively, you can opt for a ‘non-statutory request,’ which is a less formal approach but doesn’t grant the same legal rights as a statutory request.

There’s no prescribed procedure for non-statutory requests since they aren’t governed by flexible working laws. However, we strongly recommend making such requests in writing to maintain a clear record.

Even if you meet the criteria for a statutory request, you might prefer a non-statutory approach for temporary or minor changes. For more significant changes, a statutory request remains the better option.

What to Include in Your Flexible Working Request

flexiable working checklist
flexiable working checklist

While the following points specifically apply to statutory requests, consider using a similar format for non-statutory requests to facilitate your employer’s decision-making process:

Written Format:

Always submit your request in writing.

Mention the current date.

Clearly State It’s a Flexible Working Request:

Specify that your request pertains to flexible working.

Previous Requests:

Indicate whether you’ve made a previous request for flexible working.

If so, mention when and whether it was statutory or non-statutory.

Start Date:

State when you’d like the flexible working arrangement to begin.

Details of Change:

Specify the change you’re seeking (e.g., new location, hours, shifts).

Clarify whether you want this change to be regular, temporary, or specific to certain times of the year.

Benefits of Proposed Changes:

Explain how the proposed changes could benefit you (e.g., increased productivity).

Optionally, highlight benefits for the organization (e.g., cost savings) to strengthen your request.


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