Changes in flexible working in the UK

How, when and where we work has changed for ever, not just in the UK but globally.

The last few years we have seen the rise of the ‘social nomad,’ solopreneurs who can work anywhere in the world, often chasing the weather, cheaper accommodation, and alternative lifestyles, they provide support for marketing companies on social media platforms and work around the global clock.

Although not as radical, ‘nomadic working’ has now become the norm, with the explosion of flexible working during and post Covid lots of employers offer some sort of flexible working even if the role does not naturally lean towards flexitime.

Although the pandemic catapulted us into home working, this is only one aspect of flexible working arrangements: we have seen the hours of the working work change as well as the nature of how we carry out our jobs, technology has been a huge driver of change, and this will only continue to grow.

In September 21, the Government published a consultation document to reform the right to request flexible working under a new employment bill. This would mean that a new employee does not have to wait the 26 weeks to request flexible working, they can request this from day one and employers will now have to justify their reasons for refusal.

Even though the talent market is becoming candidate driven, the employer still has multiple reasons to reject a request.

  • Planned changes to the business.
  • Unable to meet customer demands.
  • Insufficient work during the period of request.
  • Could have a negative impact on the business’s performance or quality.
  • Unable to organise the work amongst the rest if the team.
  • The costs are prohibitively high for the business.

Employers are having to re-evaluate working practices to attract quality candidates and many progressive employers are innovating with examples such as employees self-rostering and shift swapping.

Operating a flexible approach to the work force can improve loyalty, reduce absenteeism, attract new talent, and improve wellbeing. The CIPD offer some excellent guides and factsheets to its members but also good guidance to non-members.

The TUC conducted research in 2021 on a range of flexible working options and 82% of workers in Britain today are looking for more flexibility and that increases to 87% for women.

We have signed up to receive updates on the governments consultation and look forward to the changes this may bring in legislation.

If you are an employer and are looking for a recruiter who can work with you to attract the best candidates for your business, get in touch with one of our team today.