Business Update December 2011 - Flexible Working


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Business Update December 2011 - Flexible Working

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Business Update December 2011 - Flexible Working

  1. 1. Active PrActice UPDATES DeceMBer 2011 plummerparsons apdec2011-fwFlexible working: a smarterway to run a business?What is flexible working? A number of surveys have revealed thatmore than 95 per cent of workers relate flexible working to havingthe ability to adapt their way of working, to suit both the employee Business UPDATEand the employer.Research indicates that more than 55 per sickness absence, increased staff loyalty and Employees ought to be consulted on anycent of companies have introduced flexible commitment (and, in turn, reduced recruitment changes; this will help them appreciate theworking solutions for their staff. costs) and higher workforce morale. effects of particular flexible working patterns from their own point of view and from thatIn recent years, an increasing number There are other advantages that can of the business too.of employers have reacted to social sharpen competitiveness. Properly managed,and economic changes – for example,the need for many families to have two flexible working patterns can produce a more agile business, one better able to Survey response?earners - by introducing working patterns cope with fluctuations in demand and shifts What is the hardest part of implementing athat enable employees better to balance in the market. Shift work and flexi-time, flexible working strategy?their responsibilities to their jobs and their for example, allow a business to remainresponsibilities to their home lives. productive for longer without increasing the Reasons given include: number of hours that individual employees • Too expensive to implement andThe effect of increased employment work. Home working can help reduce office supportlegislation also means that many more overheads. • Lack of knowledge/commitment atemployees are now entitled to request more Board levelflexible working patterns. Introducing work-home • Fear of fragmenting the team structureHowever, introducing good work-home life life policies • Lack of commitment from employeespractices benefits not only employees but • Senior management doesn’t trust its staffalso employers. By reducing the amount of Before implementing flexible working to flexi-workstress that many workers feel attempting to policies, you should first assess your businessjuggle both careers and the demands of needs and how these can be furthered by • Supplying/supporting resourcesfamily life, employers can help to create a new working practices. The type of flexible needed by flexible workershappier and, therefore, more productive working must also be considered: how doesworking environment. it fit both the operation of the business and the lives of the employees?As well as boosting productivity, goodwork-home life arrangements can leadto better quality of work, a reduction in18 Hyde Gardens BN21 4PT01323 431 200
  2. 2. Flexible working: a smarter way to run abusiness?Statutory flexible Types of flexible Annual hours The hours an employee works isworking regulations working calculated across a whole year, taking holidays and the number of contractedDo you have the statutory right to request There are various types of flexible hours into account. Most of the hours areflexible working? Not everyone has a working. Flexible working patterns can divided into a number of set shifts; thestatutory right to flexible working as rights affect the number of hours employees remaining hours can be used to worktend to relate to applying for a different work, the times they work and where they at short notice when, perhaps cover isworking arrangement to help for the care work. Which types best suit an employer needed to help with peaks in demand.of a child or an adult. The directgov will depend on the size and nature of thewebsite provides a series of questions business and on its workforce. Zero-hours contracts(search flexible working) which will advise Workers agree to make themselvesup-to-date indication as to statutory rights. Part-time available for work when required butRegardless of your statutory rights you can Part-time working is useful for covering without setting a fixed number of hours orstill ask your employer if you can work breaks in the normal working day, times.flexibly. extending working hours or covering peak or busy times. Teleworking and homeworkingThe request for Term-time working Employees work from home or from somewhere other than their employer’sflexible working This enables employees to cut back on office or premises. their hours or to take paid or unpaid leaveAlthough parents have the right to apply during school holidays.for a change in their work patterns, the Job sharinglaw does not give them an automatic rightto work flexibly. This is because employers A version of part-time working, job sharing Summarywill not always be able, through force involves dividing the duties and hours Not all businesses are necessarily in aof circumstance, to accommodate the of a full-time position between two (or position to offer their employees flexiblechanges asked for by working parents. sometimes more) people. working. Those that are, however, couldEmployees should make their applications Flexi-time find there are a number of benefits. Flexi-time means that employees can And, with the nature of work changingin writing. The first thing the employer decide when they start and finish work and with the technologies availableshould do on receiving a written provided they work a number of core to employers developing all the time,application is to arrange a meeting hours. they could well be helping to shape thewith the employee. The meeting will workplaces and offices of the future.give everyone the chance to discuss Compressed working weeksthe employee’s request for a new work The number of hours worked by anpattern and to examine whether it can be employee in a week are concentrated intomanaged by the business. fewer working days or longer blocks ofAfter the meeting, the employer should working time. Although the total numberwrite to the employee either agreeing of hours remains the same, by workingto or refusing the application. If the early or late an employee can use theapplication is accepted by the employer, additional hours to take a morning,then that employee’s terms and conditions afternoon or whole day off work at somemay have to change accordingly. If the point during the week.employer has turned down the request, Staggered hoursthen they must set out, clearly and briefly, Employees start and finish work atthe business grounds on which the different times. Staff have the opportunityproposed work pattern was not accepted. to re-arrange their work times whileThe employer must also explain the the employer can keep the businessappeal procedure open to the employee. operational for longer.