Flexible working is becoming more regularly available for workers in the UK, with many employers now offering ways of working flexibly as a perk to staff; this can include anything from flexible working hours to phased retirement options.
As well as being offered as a job benefit, employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks have a legal right to be able to request flexible working, this legal right applies to all employees and not just those who are parents or carers as is often thought.
Whilst employers may reject these requests, it is becoming more and more important for businesses to be able to offer flexible working to their staff. Find out more about the benefits of offering flexible working and how your business can ensure you are set up to offer it.
Types of Flexible Working
Contrary to popular belief, flexible working encompasses more than just working outside of normal hours (known as flexitime), other ways of working flexibly include:
- Job sharing – Splitting a role between two people to reduce hours for each or enable 2 part-time workers to be accommodated.
- Remote working – Working from home (either part of the time or even full time) as opposed to in an office.
- Part-time – Working part-time hours.
- Compressed hours – Working a full week in terms of hours but across fewer days.
- Flexitime – Allowing the employee to choose when they start and finish work within agreed core hours.
- Annualised hours – Working an agreed number of hours over the year but with flexibility over when an employee works.
- Staggered hours – Allowing employees to have a different start, finish and break times.
- Phased retirement – Reducing working hours for older workers before retirement.
- Extended parental leave – Extended parental leave may be offered to employees to allow them to spend more time with their children in some scenarios such as when they are moving schools or settling into new childcare arrangements.
- Extended maternity and paternity leave – Employers may choose to offer extended maternity and paternity leave for employees.
- Emergency leave – Employees are entitled to time off in the event of an emergency involving one of their dependents. Employers may choose to pay you for this time off or offer you ‘compassionate leave’ to deal with these situations.
The Benefits of Offering Flexible Working
Offering flexible working hours can have several benefits to both employees and staff including:
- Higher job satisfaction leading to greater productivity.
- Contributes to good company culture and image which can help to attract talent.
- Staff may take less unplanned leave.
- Reduce stress levels within the workplace.
- Reduces turnover of staff and enables the business to attract workers that are unable to commit to more traditional working hours.
- Reduces commuting costs and time for employees.
How to Ensure Your Business Can offer Flexible Working
In order to ensure that offering flexible working has no negative impacts on your business, implementation of new processes and investment in new technology and infrastructure may be required. Before offering flexible working, you should consider the following:
Update Your Technology
One form of flexible working is giving employees the ability to work from home. In order to make sure this doesn’t impact how well they can do their jobs, investment in new technology may be required. Remote workers will need:
- A computer or laptop with access to their company email.
- A business mobile or telephone that can accept forwarded calls from the office.
- Video conferencing equipment such as a webcam to partake in catch up calls.
- File sharing software such as DropBox to share multiple files and ensure remote working doesn’t impact collaboration with other employees.
- Instant chat software such as Slack to keep in touch with co-workers.
- Access to their day to day workplace tools such as the company CRM system.
- Adequate spyware and antivirus software to ensure that all company data is protected.
Review Your Payroll Process
If you manage your payroll in-house, you will need to make sure that your staff and software can adapt your payroll to suit flexible working, this may include shorter or longer working days in a given period, shared roles, part-time working, compressed hours and flexitime.
Similarly, if you use an outsourced payroll provider, ensure that they have the software and experience to manage payroll for a business that offers flexible working arrangements.
Review Employee Contracts
Should your business be prepared to offer flexible working to members of staff, ensure your employee contracts reflect this. Whilst there may be a blanket approach to some kinds of flexible working, others will work better on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the needs of both the employee and employer.
Additionally, there may be Health and Safety issues to consider such as the working environment for employees working from home or lone working policies where staff are working later in an office. A review of current Health and Safety policies would, therefore, need to take place at the same time.
Payroll Experts Bristol
At FCF, we provide a hassle-free managed payroll service for businesses of all sizes in the South West. If you’re looking towards offering employees a more flexible way of working and want to make your payroll can cope, call us today on 0117 379 0810 to book in for a free initial consultation.
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This post was written by Steph Roffey