Common Forms of Flexible Working
The phrase ‘flexible working’ refers both to time – the hours employees work – and location – where the work is performed. The most common forms of flexible working are explained below:
- Compressed Working Hours – the usual hours worked are completed over fewer working days. If the hours worked are more important to when the work is performed, this option gives employees the opportunity to work longer days in a shorter working week, and can work in most cases, although phone or other cover may need to be managed for all working days.
- Flexi-time – sometimes referred to as Flexi Working Hours (FWH), this involves giving staff flexibility on the starting & finishing times of a working day, and can also include compressed working hours. With many options on how this policy is applied, this can give huge flexibility for both the employer & their workers with few complications if implemented & managed properly.
- Home-Working – this involves the work being performed away from the employer’s premises. Health & safety of the staff would need to be considered, as well as protection of the employer’s data, but IT will often allow employees to work (including taking calls) at any location where they can get internet access, or can use a computer to fulfil their duties.
- Job-Sharing – a job is split between more than one employee, who work the necessary hours between them. This option can be difficult for some small employers where training may be necessary, but there may be savings on National Insurance contributions.
- Part-time – any arrangement where the worker is employed for less than the normal full-time hours, part-time working is a very common form of flexible working.
- Sabbaticals or Career Breaks – staff are given a long break in their employment. This may not be suitable for all small employers, and in dealing with any request, they would need to consider whether the business can afford any extra cost associated with temps, or a fixed-term appointment to cover the absent employee.
- Shift Swapping – workers given freedom to swap shifts between themselves, ensuring the shifts are covered. With good management procedures in place, to ensure the employer knows who is due in on any given shift, this gives employees more freedom, and can work for most employers where the staff perform the same tasks.
- Staggered hours – different workers having different start & finishing times. These policies can serve the interests of both employers & employees, giving attendance in the workplace over a longer period of the day, and providing staff the option of getting off work earlier or arriving later, either of which can help manage work & child care or other responsibilities.
- Term-Time Working – staff only attend the workplace during a school term, but are on leave at school holidays. This flexible working can be useful to employees without child care arrangements, and can often be coupled with part-time working.
- Zero-Hours Contracts – employers only provide employment when there is work to be done. The staff remain employees, but are contracted for no set out hours. Popular among small employers, particularly those looking at their first recruits.
For more advice or information on any of these types of Flexible Working, assistance in introducing these into your business, or dealing with a request from your staff for any of these or any other type of flexible working, contact Employment Law Clinic: