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Flexible working

What is it and does it work


flexible helical spring with words flexibility at work on bannerFlexible working involves being flexible in relation to where and when employees work. It also covers the length of the working day. There has always been a demand for flexible working arrangements. Since the Covid-19 pandemic that demand has increased. As employers and employees look at innovative ways to get the job done amid the Covid-19 challenges, we take a closer look at how flexible working can help both the worker and the organisation.


What types of flexible working are there?

The following can be regarded as flexible working:

  • Flexitime: The employee can choose when to start and end the work day, within defined limits

  • Job sharing: where two or more people share the tasks involved in one job, between them.

  • Part-time working: Working less than full time hours. For more see here

  • Compressed hours: This involves working a mixture of shorter and longer working blocks. For example, two days on, three days off followed by three days on and two days off.

  • Annual hours: The employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year, including certain core hours. The non core hours can be worked with some flexibility, including when there is extra demand.

  • Staggered hours: Different workers have different start, finish and break times.

  • Working remotely: This allows the employee to work from home or elsewhere on a regular basis. For more see here

  • Career breaks: Agreed extended periods of leave. For more see here

  • Phased retirement: With the slow demise of compulsory retirement, many employers and employees are exploring the benefits of phased retirement. This involves an agreed reduction in hours, and part time work. This allows the employee adjust to retirement and also allows for the transfer of knowledge from the experienced retiree to the incoming replacement.


What are the potential benefits of flexible working?

The old adage that “A happy worker is a good worker” applies here. Flexible workers tend to have a higher level of job satisfaction, commitment and loyalty, compared to those who are not working remotely. It can help workers who have to cope with the additional pressure of caring for others. Time saved by not having to commute to work is a major factor. There is also the practical saving on office space.

Many new recruits and employees have a greater understanding of the benefits of remote working, and look for it in a career.


How do I implement flexible working practices?


  • Examine what benefits accrue to the company and the workers

  • Figure out how best to communicate this to management and staff

  • Educate and communicate so as to build acceptance and eventually enthusiasm

  • Have a clearly defined career path for all workers including flexible workers

  • Consult, listen, communicate

  • Take it in stages and evaluate progress

  • Always consider Equality at work. For more see here

  • Consider online training for line managers


Where can I get more assistance and advice on flexible working practices?

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