Editor's message: Flexible working arrangements allow workers to have some say over, when, how and where they work. This can include arrangements such as working from home, working part time or working flexible hours.
Employees with at least 26 weeks’ service have the right to request flexible working. While you are not obliged to agree to a request, it is worth considering the advantages of allowing staff to work flexibly. Giving staff greater control over their work-life balance can have a big impact on their general health and wellbeing. This may also result in practical benefits for you as an employer, such as higher productivity and engagement.
Where it is not feasible to approve a flexible working request in its entirety, you may be able to consider compromises or agree to a trial period to test the viability of the proposed working arrangement.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in many organisations having to adapt quickly to more flexible ways of working. A review of what has worked well will be a useful exercise for employers to undertake, as requests to work flexibly are likely to increase in the future.
Felicity Alexander, managing editor, employment law
HR and legal information and guidance relating to flexible working.