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Flexible Working Solutions, The Future Of The Workplace

30 March 2022

We've had to reconsider our work arrangements as a result of the pandemic. Workplace views toward flexible working arrangement varied before the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies have been adopting flexible working for years, while others are still caught in the old fashioned '9 to 5' work hours. In response to the global epidemic, the majority of workplaces have adopted flexible working patterns, allowing workers to work when, where, and how they choose to do their work. The majority of office workers are not interested in returning to pre-pandemic working patterns i.e. 5 days in the office, spending time driving to and from work, and a lack of mental space during the day.

What is the definition of flexible working?

Flexible working is an alternative to traditional-working hours. Examples of flexible working practices include working from home or flexi-time. Whether it’s part-time working, job sharing, working from home, hot desking or even choosing your own hours, flexible working helps put people first.

Types of Flexible Working

Part-time or reduced hours- When an individual is contracted to work less than the typical full-time hours for that organisation, this is known as working part-time or reduced working hours. (For example, 2 or 3 days a week, or shorter days than standard, such as 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when standard hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Job-Sharing- Job-sharing is a type of part-time job in which one full-time position is shared by two (or more) individuals.

Homeworking/ remote working- Working from the comfort of your own home (all or part of the time). Working at a location other than the contractual place of work or the employee's home – for example, at clients' offices, at a different site owned by the employer, while traveling by train or air (e.g., to work or meetings), or at other locations such as the employee's home – is known as mobile working or remote working. Employees can also work at other locations such as restaurants, cafes and/or bars.

Condensed/compressed hours - these arrangements usually entail re-allocating working time over the course of a week or two. For example, if the regular hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch break), an employee may work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (for a total of six additional hours) Monday through Wednesday, then 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday (for one additional hour), and then take Friday off.

Annual hours – the individual is engaged for a total amount of working hours over the course of the year (this could be full-time or part-time), but will work different hours on different days and weeks. Pay and benefits are usually computed as if the employee worked.

Term-time employment — when an employee is employed on a permanent basis but takes paid or unpaid leave during the school vacations (in addition to their normal holiday allowance). This is sometimes done as a type of annual hours contract, in which the employee receives the same pay and benefits on each pay day, regardless of how many hours they worked during that period.

Flexi-Time- Employees can choose their working hours within specific agreed-upon parameters under a flexi-time arrangement. This pattern is frequently in place for an entire team rather than just one person. For example, a team may be expected to be at work between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., but each member may choose which hours to work outside of those hours —So one person might work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while their colleague might work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Employee self-rostering — employees in a team are given the duty of determining who will work each shift as a group in order to cover the entire work week.

Shift-swapping — team members may agree to swap their assigned working shifts (usually with the approval of a manager or supervisor). This is frequently done on an ad hoc basis to give team members flexibility when they require it.

Contracts with zero hours - where the number of hours agreed upon is fully adjustable. These contracts can be problematic because they do not provide any promises to the employee, and therefore should be utilised with caution. To provide the employee a sense of stability, it's a good idea to guarantee an agreed-upon minimum number of hours each week, and it should always be apparent that the employee has the right to refuse additional hours that you offer without fear of repercussions.

4 day week work trials in the UK- The Four-Day Week Campaign has gained traction in recent weeks, with three new companies joining the project in the last few days. This pilot is a 6-month coordinated trial of a 4-day work week with no pay loss for employees. If the trials are successful, the four-day workweek may become widespread across industries in the next few years.

Flexible Working is Here to Stay

To achieve a healthier work-life balance, employees are seeking companies that provide flexibility. A new study has found that talented young people won't join companies who are inflexible about how their employees choose to work. According to the research, flexible work culture is now one of the key factors young workers consider when searching for a job.

Offering flexible working arrangements can be a huge benefit for applicants seeking new jobs. It can demonstrate that you are a liberal and open-minded organisation, and you are willing to listen and accommodate employees’ needs and responsibilities. Attracting a wider selection of candidates can also lead to having a more skilled, talented, and diverse workforce.

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