54% expect an increased flexible working demand


More than half of British employers predict an increase in demand for flexible working from employees following the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) commissioned YouGov to ask 2,030 senior decision makers in British businesses about changes to working practices that they are anticipating once the pandemic is over, compared to before it took place.

The poll found that regarding flexible working demand, 54% expected an increase, 2% predicted a decrease 39% anticipated no change and 5% did not know.

More than half (55%) expected an increase in staff working from home or remotely for part of the week, with 4% predicting a decrease, 37% anticipating no change and another 4% stating they did not know.

Conversely, nearly half (49%) expected an increase in staff working remotely or from home all week, with 5% predicting a decrease, 42% anticipating no change and 4% saying they did not know.

As a result, Acas has published new advice developed in consultation with the Flexible Working Taskforce that can help employers introduce hybrid working, as well as managing requests from staff who wish to split their time between working remotely and in the workplace to improve their work-life balance. The taskforce is co-chaired by officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Acas chief executive Susan Clews explained that the pandemic has “greatly” impacted working life and that it is unsurprising many employers and staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this period.

Hybrid working existed before Covid-19 and our survey reveals that more than half of employers in Britain expect this type of flexible working to increase once we come out of the pandemic. Our new advice can help employers look at the potential benefits of hybrid working, consider whether it is suitable for their workplace, and fairly manage any staff requests,” she said.