Did you know all employees have the legal right to request flexible working? So long as the employee has worked for at least 6 months, they are eligible to apply.
A Regus survey found that more than nine in 10 people, given the choice of two jobs, would take the one that offered more flexible working options. Moreover, a RSA study found that flexible working can lead to 5:1 more productive hours per week per employee.
What kind of flexible working can be requested?
- Job sharing
Two people do one job and split the hours.
- Working from home
It might be possible to do some or all of the work from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work.
- Part time
Working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days).
- Compressed hours
Working full-time hours but over fewer days.
The employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain ‘core hours’, i.e. 10am to 4pm every day.
- Annualised hours
The employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work. There are sometimes ‘core hours’ which the employee regularly works each week, and they work the rest of their hours flexibly or when there’s extra demand at work.
- Staggered hours
The employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers.
- Phased retirement
Default retirement age has been phased out and older workers can choose when they want to retire. This means they can reduce their hours and work part time.
Employers can reject a request for flexible working based on the following reasons:
- extra costs that will damage the business
- the work can’t be reorganised among other staff
- people can’t be recruited to do the work
- flexible working will affect quality and performance
- the business won’t be able to meet customer demand
- there’s a lack of work to do during the proposed working times
- the business is planning changes to the workforce
But flexible working can be accommodated in most instances with three easy-to-implement and affordable technologies, saving businesses money and keeping employees happy.
Three technologies that enable easy flexible working include:
- Secure VPN network connections
With Virtual Private Networks in place, it is comparatively simple and safe to grant workers remote access to company networks. They can access all their company’s local network resources at home without having them exposed directly to the Internet.
- VoIP business phone systems
With a VoIP business phone system, home workers can have a phone that operates exactly like their phone at work—using the same number, settings and speed-dials, etc. Moreover it can be ‘on network’ with the office(s), so that calls can be transferred simply by dialling an extension. If the employee doesn’t work at home often enough to warrant having a physical phone on their home office desk, they can use their mobile in exactly the same way via the Bria Mobile app. The app enables the employee to make and receive calls from their office number, as well as transfer and conference calls just as if they were on their office phone. It doesn’t use their mobile minutes, so personal mobiles can be used.
VoIP business phone systems start at £8 a user per month and are relatively quick to set up.
- Video & Web Conferencing
There are a lot of easy, affordable options for video and web conferencing that making setting up a video meeting with screen sharing virtually effortless. We like Zoom and GotoMeeting, both of which you can trial or use via the free option.
The trend towards flexible working as a standard option for employees is gaining pace. Why not ensure your business can offer it, without having to struggle to make it work? With happier employees and the implementation of affordable new technology, it is a win-win for everyone.
VTSL is the leader in unified communications and VoIP business phone systems for SMEs in the UK and Ireland. With affordable, easy-to-implement solutions for businesses that need powerful telephony, VTSL remains an ideal option for organisations seeking to balance capability with ease of use. VTSL is the only company in the UK to offer hosted VoIP on the Silhouette platform, and has over 10,000 users and growing. For more information call VTSL today on 0207 078 3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.