The Great Reset on Flexible Working

The Great Reset on Flexible Working

Re-thinking your approach to flexible working, challenging your own and your managers’ assumptions and making it part of a workforce’s DNA can have multiple benefits for employers, employees, and the wider community.  Hybrid working patterns are the future argues Alan Felstead in his book Remote Working: An Overview [1] and having a ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ approach to hybrid working may improve engagement and loyalty of employees. We have identified the major drivers of this shift, potential approaches to take going forward, and how it can benefit you as an employer.

What is driving demand for new ways of working

A significant paradigm shift is that retaining employees doesn’t just come from simply paying the best wages.  According to research by the HR Review, flexibility is now the most sought-after component, and more so on how and when employees work[2] .   There is a strong unmet demand for more flexible jobs and with 45% (64% in Greater London) of employees considering a pay cut if it means a better work life balance, this cannot be ignored.

The drivers of this demand are the result of (and this list is not exhaustive):

·       The war in Ukraine prompting a move away from a reliance on oil[3]and the subsequent impact of higher fuel prices resulting in a demand for fewer journeys into the office.

·       High-cost accommodation close to city centres[4]which forces employees to undertake long commutes to source affordable accommodation.

·       Employees approaching retirement creating a demand for reduced working hours or simply travelling less to the office.

·       The growing need to care for elderly relatives

·       Changing childcare arrangements

·       Medical treatment, and attending appointments

·       Increasing mental health issues.

Furthermore, the Harvard Business Review[5] recently discussed how the employment and living landscape is changing with employees looking to work not just different hours but from anywhere.  Due to technological advances employees are considering living in a more desirable location.  Employers that recognise this shift in behaviours and demands from employees (namely Twitter and AirBnB) are gaining greater company loyalty, increased productivity, and can cast a wider hiring net.

What could you do going forward?

Focusing less on policies and adopting principles that support working arrangements can be a effective approach.  Encouraging your managers and employees to be open minded and take a consultative approach which is both genuine and allows for flexibility on both sides will promote an attractive employee proposition and provide an innovative way to working going forward.

The benefits of being a flexible employer

The benefits of all these approaches are many and include, retaining key employees, attracting talent from a wider pool, providing adaptability as an employer to adjust to competing markets when and where required if you have to adapt quickly to competition or supply chain issues.  Can also increase productivity and  company loyalty.

If you want to realise these benefits, what should you consider?  The starting points according to ACAS[6] are:

·       Improve awareness and understanding of your employees as individuals

·        Provide support to managers and give them ability to offer flexibility as long as business needs are met

·       Challenge old assumptions.

For more support on flexible working and reviewing your current offering in your organisation, please get in touch for a chat. We’d love to help., 0131 364 4186.



[1] Felstead, Alan. Remote Working: A Research Overview. s.l. : Routledge, 2021.

[2] Brand, Amelia. How can Employers Make a Four-Day Working Week Work? HR Strategy News – HR review. 2022.

[3] Morrin, Siobhan. LinkedIn UK. LinkedIn.[Online] 2022.

[4] Government Paper. Making Flexible Working the Default. 2021.

[5] Baskin, Kara, Ina Work-from-Anywhere World, How Remote Will Workers Go? s.l. : Harvard Business School, 2022.

[6] . ACAS. Working from Home & Hybrid Working. s.l. : ACAS, 2021.