Guide to flexible working

As of the 2nd January 2014, rail fares once again rose by 2.8%. This move will no doubt push flexible working to the front of any commuter’s mind. To help employees and managers alike decide if flexible working could be the right solution for you, we at Honeydew have written a guide to flexible working for you, right here. Please share!

What is flexible working?

Flexible working is defined by the Government as a way of working that suits the employee’s needs e.g. working from home or being able to work certain hours.This definition is very broad with the intention of encouraging many different, personal, interpretations.

However, to give you a better idea of how others design their schedule, CIPD has created a list of the most common flexible working patterns found in the UK.

Is flexible working only beneficial to the employee?

No, not at all. Although this statement may give the impression that flexible working aims to only help the individual employee, it actually benefits both parties. Firstly, flexible working has become one of the greatest engagement tools of recent times. Non-monetary incentives are now more effective than monetary ones thanks to the economic crisis. Allowing people the freedom to work to a more personal schedule, in their own environment and with the trust implied, not only increases productivity but it can increase the general wellbeing and health of the employee by allowing them more free time and reducing stress and cost of the commute. Additionally, loyalty is likely to increase to allow your company to attract and retain the best talent. Employees are far more likely to be happy with (and recommend) their place of employment if it suits the life they want to lead outside of work.

Employers do also have the right to decline requests for flexible working patterns if the application is deemed to comply with one of the 7 official reasons employers can use to decline a request.

How does an employee apply for flexible working?

Absolutely anybody can ask their employer for the right to flexible working and those who care for somebody, whether that be a child or an adult, even have the legal right to ask. If you have worked for your employer continuously for the past 26 weeks, you should follow the formal application procedure, known as ‘making a statutory application’.

The 4 simple steps to making this application are outlined byGOV.UKhere.

How should an employer respond to the application?

An employer should write back to the employee within 14 days to let them know of their decision. However this 14 days can of course be extended if both parties agree. Again, the content for the reply is outlined here and all steps are relatively simple to complete.

If the request is accepted then a new contract of employment should be drawn up and agreed on. If declined, then the employer must state why.

Can an employee appeal a decision?

Yes, employees do have the right to appeal but not if they simply disagree with the decision. Appeals can only be submitted if the information that the employer used to make their decision was incomplete or incorrect. The employer must then hold a meeting within 14 days of the appeal’s application to resolve the issue which must again result in a decision no more than 14 days after.

Honeydew’s conclusion

Flexible working can be a great benefit to all, and is easier than ever given the technology available to us. We at Honeydew run a flexible working schedule of working from home with flexible hours and we feel that our business thrives in this environment. It is, however, important not to forget each other. Don’t be so remote that you never maintain contact with an employee or colleagues and be sure to manage your absence levels. Just get in touch for tips on how to do so and for any other advice for maintaining a flexible organisation.