54% employees could quit without flexible working

Kate Palmer - HR Advice and Consultancy Director

August 03 2021

According to a recent survey, 54% of employees would consider quitting unless their bosses allow flexible working.

Which means it’s more important than ever to have a clear policy on flexible working—even if you plan to bring everyone back into work.

Here’s how to create a flexible working policy that works for your business.

Step 1: Learn the rules on flexible working

First off, make sure you know the rules around flexible working.

For example, your staff do not have the right to work from home, even if they did so during the pandemic.

The only exception is for employees who have home working as part of their contracts. 

Your employees do have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of continuous service. You need to consider this request, but you don’t have to agree to it.

That may be upsetting to employees who feel they’ve earned the right to work away from the office. And if your people do work well from home, you might want to make flexible working permanent.

Because even though you have a legal right to refuse flexible working requests, saying no could still hurt your bottom line.

Step 2: Work out the risks of not allowing flexible working

Some jobs can’t be done flexibly. And some employers can’t build the business cultures they want with staff working off site.

But it’s still worth weighing up the costs and benefits when you consider flexible working. Because the impact on your business could be greater than you think.

In addition to people resigning, not offering flexible working could make it harder to recruit the best talent. And your remaining staff may suffer poor morale and lower productivity, too.

Every workplace will be different, and every employer will have different needs. It’s up to you decide what works best for your business.

Step 3: Consider flexible working options

If you decide to consider flexible working, then lots of options are available to you. Flexible working can cover:

  • Reducing hours to go part time
  • Changing start and finish time
  • Introducing flexibility in start and finish times
  • Compressing hours over fewer day
  • Job sharing

Make sure you speak with your staff to understand what they’re looking for. Remember, some types of flexible working will be better suited for certain roles than others.

You also need to decide whether to factor flexible working into an individual’s contract or take a broad approach that applies to most staff.

Again, do a cost and benefit analysis and consider how practical it would be for your business. For example, you may find flexible start and finish times easier to implement than mass home working.  

Step 4: Set out the rules for flexible working

Make sure your flexible working policy is clear on what staff can and can’t do when working flexibly.

For example, if employees have the option to work a couple of days a week from home, do they need to stick to the same days?

Should they work from a single location, or can they mix up their workplace – like working from a cafe?

And are there limits for certain teams, like making sure at least one person is always in the workplace?

It’s important to be honest and upfront with staff from the start. That means setting out the consequences of breaking your rules and how you plan to measure performance and productivity.

Step 5: Decide how to monitor flexible working performance

Often, the biggest issue with flexible working is staff monitoring. This is particularly tricky if you normally judge performance by supervising the hours that your employees work.

If your staff are starting earlier, finishing later, or working from home, consider how to monitor productivity in the hours unsupervised. For example, you might want to adopt tools that allow you to monitor and review employees’ internet usage.

Or, rather than focus on hours worked, measure staff on output. Set clear targets and create daily or weekly goals for staff to work towards.

Once you’ve decided on a way to measure individual performance, look at the impact of flexible working on your business. Collect and analyse data on recruitment, staff turnover and absence to judge whether your new approach is having the desired effect.

And remember, not all improvement can be measured to so easily. Benefits like staff happiness and wellbeing may not show up in your analysis, but still have a major impact on your business.

Step 6: Talk to a Peninsula consultant

If you’re already a Peninsula client, then call your 24/7 HR advice line for expert advice on how to create a flexible working policy that gets the best for your business.

Not yet a Peninsula client? No problem. We’re here to create watertight policies that help you comply with UK laws and get the best for your business. See for yourself.

Find out how to enjoy affordable HR support for your business. Click here to view our plans & pricing.

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