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Flexible working

Felicity Alexander

Editor's message: Providing opportunities for employees for homeworking and flexibility on hours may be advantageous for employers in terms of reducing the need for workspace and increasing productivity. Giving staff greater control over their work-life balance can also have a positive impact on their general health and wellbeing.

Based on their experiences and business needs, employers may consider a full or partial switch to homeworking for staff (which can be introduced under a hybrid working scheme) and flexible arrangements such as compressed hours (full-time hours over fewer days), annualised hours (fixed number of annual hours with core hours), job sharing and changes to start and finish times (flexitime). Agile working, a term used to describe a method of adaptable working that can respond quickly to business need, can include flexible working arrangements.

Employers should adopt a fair and consistent approach for flexible working for their workforce that avoids a potential discrimination claim. A permanent change to working hours or location will require a variation to employment contracts.

Felicity Alexander, managing editor, employment law

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