THERE is growing evidence that employers are looking to change their long-term approach to flexible working, according to figures from employment law and HR specialists, Law at Work.
April 2021 saw a 158% increase in enquiries from businesses looking to explore a more flexible approach to staff working patterns beyond the pandemic, when compared to the equivalent period last year.
With many organisations forced to send their employees home due to COVID restrictions, both employers and employees are seeing the benefits of a different approach to the working week. The reduction in commuting times, costs savings and a more productive environment are just some of the advantages being heralded by businesses exploring a more hybrid approach.
Daniel Gorry, Head of Employment Law, at Law at Work said: “The concept of hybrid or flexible working has been discussed amongst businesses for many years but since the COVID restrictions first came into force, employers have now been forced to completely re-evaluate how they manage their employees.
“While we were expecting more organisations to enquire about the approach, the number of businesses considering a switch has far exceeded our expectations. From our data it would appear that this new model we’ve all become accustomed to is here to stay, even after the pandemic ends.
“Most of the companies we speak to would like to incorporate some kind of office-based working but a desire to return to a centralised environment full time is increasingly unpopular.
“For many employers it makes sense as not only is it a way of maintaining a happy workforce, but it can also provide an opportunity for cost reduction as there is less of a requirement for a large office space to accommodate staff.
“Clearly this more flexible approach isn’t appropriate for every employer and even those that can deliver it need to be aware that they are still responsible for the health and safety of those workers who are working from home. It’s also important that there are appropriate performance checks in place to ensure that the arrangement is working for all parties.”