Kavitha’s keynote: Flexible working requests to rise

Findings from The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) earlier this week revealed that more than half of British employers are expecting more flexible working requests post-pandemic, with roughly the same percentage anticipating an increase in hybrid working.

Since so many employees having become accustomed to home working during the past year or so, these statistics may not be surprising. However, the fact that nearly half (49%) of businesses are predicting a rise in the number of staff who work from home all week, while only 5% are expecting this to decrease, is curious because these individuals will be effectively asking for their homes to become their chosen place of work.

Meanwhile, travel company TUI UK has decided to shift to permanent flexible working in order to improve the work-life balance of its employees from next week (19 July), when UK lockdown restrictions are expected to be completely lifted.

Following a survey of its workforce and recognition by the company’s senior leadership team that nearly all office-based roles could be carried out remotely, staff will primarily be permitted to choose their working location. They will only need to attend the office once a month for meetings or events.

TUI believes the move is a win-win because while its existing workers benefits from greater choice and flexibility, the business itself will benefit from being able to attract new recruits from a wider employment market.

New research by Avon also seems to suggest more flexible working options would be well received. Its study revealed nearly a third of women want the flexibility to choose when they work from home or the office for wellbeing reasons, while 55% wish they were offered more flexible working hours.

The survey found that flexibility is so important to working women that almost half (46%) of those unable to choose their own working pattern were reconsidering their career options.

So not only is the demand for flexibility here to stay, but more flexible working requests can and should be expected by employers.


Kavitha Sivasubramaniam
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