Flexible working rights give any employee with more 6 months service the right to request flexible working arrangements. This doesn’t mean there’s an automatic right to have their request agreed though. There is a process to follow and refusal can be made for sound business reasons relating to a number of specified reasons. Before refusing though it is worth considering the many benefits of allowing more flexibility in the workplace. We all have a tendency to resist change, worry about setting precedents and changing the ‘status quo’. If you have an up-to-date strategy in place you will be in a better position to understand the pros and cons of more varied working patterns. You can consider each employee’s request in turn and agree to a request for one and refuse it for another, if the reason is sound.
A common request these days is to be allowed to work for some part of the week from home. With the advances in technology that may be worth considering for certain employees. You will need to make sure you have a policy in place and your IT systems, GDPR Data Protection procedures are secure and that appropriate insurance is in place. Or the request may be for part-time (with less, or shorter days) or increasingly people are asking to work the same hours but over 4 days rather than 5. Managed properly flexible working patterns can lead to increased productivity, improved work-life balance, less stress and retention of your good employees. It’s worth giving it some thought even before you receive a request!