At the time of writing this (September 2021), the government have just launched consultation on the day one right to flexible working, ‘Making Flexible Working default’. This consultation seeks views from individuals and businesses on proposals to reform flexible working regulations and responds to the 2019 ‘Good Work Plan’.
As a reminder, since 2014 any employee with at least 26 weeks tenure is permitted to make a flexible working request, providing they have not made a request in the prior 12 months. Although employers are not necessarily bound to accept that request.
The consultation proposes that employees should be permitted to request flexible working from the first day of employment, i.e. that the requirement for qualifying service be removed, and that the ‘right to request’ be changed to ‘the right to have’.
The consultation document states…
Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to promote flexible working and, subject to consultation, introduce measures to help make it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.
There are 5 proposals included for reshaping the existing regulatory framework so that it better supports the objective of making flexible working the default.
Consultation ends on 1st December 2021, clearly the outcome of this consultation has the potential to transform the workplace in the future.
What do some of our trusted industry bodies say the workplace of the future will feel like?
CBI’s ‘The Revolution of Work’ published in July 2021, say COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the workplace. The majority of us will agree with that!
The report focuses on a survey which CBI Economics has undertaken on behalf of Nexus, drilling into the full experience of remote working felt by companies, and how that’s shaping their future plans.
The report finds that the majority of firms are already implementing a hybrid working practice and assessing the cultural shift required to support this. Although, one area of concern highlighted for organisations is collaboration and innovation.
Key insights from the survey on the experience of businesses during the pandemic and their expectations for the future, include:
The CIPD have produced a useful guide ’Coronavirus: Flexible working during the pandemic and beyond’!
It could be argued that the CIPD response is more cautious than employees will demand, but HR/employers may find this guide useful to plan their own flexible working (or hybrid) approach in the short term.
The guide reminds us that 2020 was not reflective of normal flexible working and organisations should take care not to make any decisions around flexible working based purely on this period. However, this is a good opportunity to review the benefits which flexible working can offer. CIPD remind us not to confuse ‘flexible working’ and ‘homeworking’. Remote or homeworking is just one form of flexible working, the type of home working we have experienced throughout the pandemic is not the usual experience.
However, CIPD do state that there are early indications that many employees will wish to continue to undertake some degree of homeworking. The CIPD guide might help us to plan our response and to address short term employee needs.
Through our network of HR professionals we gather a lot of opinion and what actually happens in reality. Become a member to access a whole range of resources but in the meantime read or download our latest opinion below.