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Hybrid Working Requests

Following almost two years of disruption and the emergence of home working, online meetings and IT reliance, businesses and their workers are now assessing how the future for workplace attendance looks. Put simply, is the future a hybrid version of home and office working?

Since the beginning of COVID there has been an increasing surge in cases for flexible working requests, with many companies seriously considering a blended approach of home and office working. Every employee with more than 26 weeks continual service can make a flexible working request once every 12 months. There are a number of pros and cons of hybrid working to consider.

Pros of hybrid working

  • Better work-life balance
  • Saved commuting time and costs
  • Higher levels of motivation
  • Improved employee experience
  • Access to a broader talent pool when hiring or expanding
  • Reduced environmental impacts
  • Saves money for both company and worker

Cons of hybrid working

  • Businesses give up a sense of control over employees
  • Distractions
  • Loneliness
  • Lose the social aspect to working life
  • Communication needs to be considered

That being said, not all jobs can be done from home and a number of flexible working requests are being rejected based on one, or more, of the nine reasons set out under s80G of the Employment Rights Act.

However, it may be that the business can accommodate such requests, even if only on a temporary basis to support their staff with changes in their personnel and domestic circumstances. Associated discrimination has been cited in some of the cases relating to caring for dependents who cannot necessarily access the same care arrangements that they may have pre-COVID. Case law expects businesses to be reasonable when considering such requests, and to have founded operational reasons when rejecting a request.

Consider the application and possible temporary arrangements if permanent changes to work cannot be accommodated. Make sure your policy is up to date, implemented and followed. One of the biggest failings occurs when the request is not formally handled. There are laws around this and need to be considered.

Need help with any of this? Contact our team of Employment Lawyers on 03456 122 144.