The ‘you must stay at home’ order during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a significant number of employees working from home.
Recent months have demonstrated that a great deal of work can be undertaken from the home and employees have been able to work more flexibly, working the hours and days to enable them to also balance their other responsibilities, such as childcare, home-schooling or looking after vulnerable relatives.
Before the pandemic, according to the CIPD, only 5% of employees worked from home, and it was assumed that only a limited number of roles could be home based. Since the Covid-19 pandemic some organisations feel that this is not the case, and that certain office-based jobs can successfully be performed from home.
The Work Trend Index survey, conducted in the UK by research firm Edelman and Data Intelligence, discovered that 71% of UK workers would prefer flexible working options to remain after the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.
With the government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ promising a lifting of restrictions, and companies starting to plan a return to the workplace, employers should be prepared for a possible increase in flexible working requests, especially for homeworking.
Employers planning a return to office will need to provide clear evidence as to why this flexibility is no longer possible considering it has worked this way over the past 12 months.
Flexible working encompasses more than working from home, other requests to consider are part time/reduced hours, flexi-time, job shares and compressed hours.
Consistency in your approach to flexible working requests is essential, and you should have a clear process in place. If you need any advice on how to deal with flexible working requests and the correct procedure to follow then please get in touch.