Does Flexible Working = Work/Life Balance? Now You Can Find Out

4th July 2014
work_life_balance

All the major media channels reported on Monday 30th June about changes to employees’ rights to request flexible working. We’ve got what you need to know from both the business and worker side right here…

Why The Change?
FINALLY - the superabundant number of studies showing that flexible working increases employee engagement, morale…and company profits have been listened to! The work/life balance is something that’s brought up regularly in the media in addition to stress and lifestyle, and the data shows flexible working helps all of it – hence it’s here.

Who Is Affected?
If you’ve been working for your employer for more than six months, happy days you’re in! From the employer standpoint they must consider each flexible working request “in a reasonable manner”. Government predictions are that of the 20 million employees that are eligible, there will be 180,000 requests – 81,000 of these as a direct result of the new right. Additionally, of the total 180,000, 144,000 are forecast to be granted, with 64,000 of these as a result of the new right. More statistics here.

What Are The Employers’ Rights?
In addition to considering each flexible working request “in a reasonable manner”, employees can refuse a request on the following (copied directly from www.gov.uk):

• burden of additional costs
• detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
• inability to reorganise work among existing staff
• inability to recruit additional staff
• detrimental impact on quality
• detrimental impact on performance
• iInsufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
• planned structural changes

Should I Go For It?
If you’re an employee and thinking about asking for flexible working, think carefully. One concern that’s been raised is that refusal of flexible working by an employer could harm professional working relations, lowering morale. Another point explained perfectly by Guardian writer Stuart Heritage is that flexible working often blurs the work/life balance rather than enhancing it. With experience working from home myself I feel Stuart’s article summises it perfectly; you don’t switch off, you do work weekends and your hour tally come month-end does tend to be higher. However, if your time management skills are good and you are intrinsically motivated, then absolutely - go for it!

From the employer standpoint, if you are unsure where your responsibilites and rights lie, this Acas document is Government approved – read it here.

Finally, if flexible working is something your company is set to introduce and you’re unsure how to manage a mobile workforce, our article on mobile workforce management is a useful read.

So, looking to meet your low cost online recruitment needs in a slightly different way now? We’re your guys! Let’s get to work.

Jamie Mistlin find me on Google+.

"Government predictions are that of the 20 million employees that are eligible, there will be 180,000 requests – 81,000 of these as a direct result of the new right."