July 25, 2014
There has been a rush of people looking to take advantage of the new flexible working laws which came into place on June 30. A survey by Powwownow found that seven out of 10 people were aware of the change in the law, with many of them considering making requests for flexible hours. The survey amongst office workers around the country found that, within a week of the rule change, 8 per cent of respondents had already filed a request for flexible hours, with a further 11 per cent saying they wanted to follow suit. Just over one in three people in the survey said that in the future, flexible working was something they would consider. The most popular request made to date was for a change in working times; 52 per cent opted for this and 47 per cent said they wanted to change their working hours, possibly to allow for other commitments outside of work.
Flexible working so far
Following a change in the law, anyone who has been with their present employer for at least six months automatically has the right to request to work flexibly whereas before, this was restricted to carers and parents of young children.
Employers are left with little choice, as every request must be fairly considered. Something else they’re also left with is coping with the initial surge in demand from their employees to work more flexibly, which may mean having to keep the office open for longer than before, in some circumstances. However, as we reported this week, technology is making flexible working less of an issue than ever before.
The advantage of flexible working is that staff could be on hand to work late into the night or on weekends. This could also mean that if there’s anything urgent that needs doing, those on flexible hours may be able to get the task completed before the deadline approaches.
In the longer term, the normal weekday shift may become less common, as members of staff are likely to want to work from home in order to cut travel costs or to be closer to their families. We’ll wait to see if the number of people asking to work flexibly drops when awareness of the new law becomes universal.