From 30 June 2014, every employee who’s been at a company for at least 26 weeks has the right to request flexible working. Hooray?
The government is trumpeting its legislation on flexible working as a victory for employees. But how excited should people be?
Here’s a summary of the process:
- Your request needs to be in writing
- You can put in a request once every 12 months
- Employers have three months to give you an answer
- Employers must have a sound business reason for saying no
I happened to chat about this subject a few weeks ago with an expert in employment law for a firm of blue-chip solicitors. He wasn’t that impressed.
He felt that companies that value their employees already have discussions about flexitime and flexible working. It keeps workers happy and means they are more loyal. If your boss isn’t amenable to talking about this stuff now, the legislation isn’t suddenly going to make him or her nicer.
While it’s good that the right to ask has now become law, it feels rather like this is just legalising ‘best practice’ instead of doing anything innovative.
If you are able to arrange #flexitime with your office, you should probably be prepared to work at home.
You will also need to set a routine and have some privacy. It’s easy to get pulled in different directions when you’re working at home, so use your routine as your compass. Whether that’s checking email in the morning or filing after lunch, stick to it and don’t let work bleed into your home life (and vice versa).
As for privacy, if you can’t shut the door to your home office then you need a do not disturb signand headphones. When the sign is up and the ‘phones are on, people (i.e. kids and partners) should understand they need to leave you alone.
- Code of Practice on handling in a reasonable manner requests to work flexibly
- The right to request flexible working: an ACAS guide (from June 2014)