Millions of British workers will benefit from the new flexible working measures as the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill received Royal Assent last week (20 July) granting employees across England, Scotland and Wales more flexibility over where and when they work.
Employees can now make up to two flexible working requests within 12 months, and employers will have to consider and discuss any requests made by their employee within two months of the request (down from three months). Separate legislation introduced alongside the bill has also granted workers the right to request flexible working from the first day of a new job.
The benefits of flexible working for employees
Embracing flexible working arrangements will grant employees the ability to better balance their personal and professional lives, leading to increased overall job satisfaction. It can also lead to enhanced productivity, with the flexibility to choose their work hours, employees can align their schedules with their most productive periods, resulting in improved efficiency and output.
By reducing the stress of rigid schedules and long commutes, employees can also experience better mental and physical well-being. This in turn leads to happier, more productive employees. Flexible working provisions can significantly benefit individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and those with other personal commitments. By accommodating diverse needs, companies can foster a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
The benefits of flexible working for employers
Alongside the clear benefits to employees, providing more flexible jobs and workplaces will help organisations attract and retain a more diverse workforce and boost their ability to address skills and labour shortages. It also helps retain existing employees who may otherwise seek opportunities with companies that offer greater work-life balance. Meanwhile, more flexibility built into the workplace could help to reduce sickness and absenteeism and help to extend working hours to better suit their business needs.
Companies may also be able to reduce expenses related to office space, utilities, and other overhead costs by adopting flexible working practices. This can be particularly advantageous for small and medium-sized businesses.
By embracing this legislation, both employees and employers stand to benefit significantly. Employees will enjoy improved work-life balance, enhanced productivity, and better overall well-being, while employers can attract and retain top talent, increase productivity, and cultivate a more adaptable workforce.
If you are an employer and would like further advice on flexible working and what it might mean for your organisation, please contact hr inspire’s expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy which can bring your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.