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September 6, 2021

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flexible working

CIPD releases guidance on how to manage an increase in flexible working requests

The CIPD has issued guidance for employers and line managers to help them navigate the expected upsurge in flexible working requests.

Woman sat at laptop at homeIt suggests that flexible working has clear business benefits for organisations and individuals: quality flexible working can help attract talent, improve employee job satisfaction and loyalty, reduce absenteeism, enhance wellbeing, and make businesses more responsive to change, it says.

The guidance explains the different options to flexible working, which include:

  • Staggered hours: This type of flexible working arrangement sees an employee having different start, finish and break times compared to other workers. It could be beneficial for service or manufacturing staff, who often can’t work from home but want more flexibility. Staggered shifts or hours also reduces the likelihood of large numbers of people travelling at peak times and groups of employees arriving and leaving at the end of the day. Staggering employees’ lunch breaks can help prevent groups from gathering in rest areas or in queues at local shops/lunch providers, thus reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. A staggered hours system allows workers some discretion, within prescribed limits, to fix the times when they start and finish work. However, once those times have been chosen or agreed with the employer, they remain unchanged, making them different from flexitime working.
  • Flexitime: Choosing when to start and end work, often while maintaining a core set of hours, such as 10am to 4pm every day.
  • Part-time working: Reducing one’s hours, often by working fewer days a week.
  • Compressed hours: The central feature here is the reallocation of work into fewer and longer blocks during the week – for example, working full-time hours over fewer days.

Advice is also given about how to respond to flexible working requests, setting out eleven recommendations to help organisations encourage a culture of flexible working while ensuring requests are dealt with in a fair, consistent manner.

It is suggested that trial flexible working arrangements for a set period of time can help employers see what works and address any issued that may arise.

Those planning to make permanent changes to shifts and working hours will need to follow the rules governing contractual changes, as employers who attempt unilateral changes to employees’ contracts without agreement will be in breach of contract.

The how to manage an increase in flexible working requests guidance is available, here.

Read SHP’s guide to home working, here.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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