Back to the office or flexible working?

Back to the office or flexible working?

With the end to some of the Covid restrictions imminent many people who have been happily and productively working from home have been called back to their offices.

This is despite the fact that it has been proven that people could work responsibly—and often more efficiently—from home.

However, an analysis by Wired, has suggested that in the UK the legislation needed to protect employees in newer employment models such as hybrid and remote working is much in need of an update.

The article highlights some of the issues.

It says: “Currently, after 26 weeks of service with their employer, every employee has the right to make one flexible working request a year. Once a request has been made, if it’s rejected, the employee must wait a year before submitting a new request”.

It cites evidence that as many as 42% of working mothers, for example, are afraid of even requesting flexible working either because the request would be rejected or because they think it would adversely affect their employment chances.

“The majority (86 percent) have faced discrimination and disadvantage because of their flexible working arrangements.” It says.

There are currently eight grounds on which employers can reject requests for flexible working, most of them, according to the TUC, are too wide and too vague.

Then there are the problems with finding affordable childcare, which may effectively deter people from even taking a job.

These are just a few of the issues that need addressing by government if the newer flexible working arrangements are going to be workable.