If you are an employer, has one of your employees asked about flexible working? Sage Business Expert Antonia Chitty runs through what you need to know and what your options can be.
Anyone can ask you to work flexibly, and your employees who care for someone have the legal right to ask for flexible working. This applies to both those who care for a child or for an adult. You need to consider the application seriously, and there is a process for this. Even if your employee doesn’t care for anyone, it can be beneficial both for you and for them to allow them to work flexibly.
There are many different ways your employees can fit in their hours. Allowing flexible working can work for your company as you can have more staff on hand at busy times and fewer when it is quiet. You should be open minded if your staff suggest different ways that they can do their job, and try to negotiate a solution that suits both you and your staff. Look at the ideas below and see which might work for your business and your staff.
- Annualised hours: An annual number of hours are agreed, and you then work out with your employee when they will work. This could be something like two weeks on, two weeks off, or say term time only.
- Compressed hours: The employee does the same hours, but over fewer days. This could mean doing four 10 hour days, or perhaps working a nine day fortnight of nine hour days.
- Flexitime: This usually means that your employee works seven and a half or eight hours between seven a.m. and seven p.m. This a good arrangement if they need to be doing the school run at one end of the day or the other.
- Homeworking: Could all or part of a job be done just as effectively from home? The employee will need to make sure that they stay in touch with the office, and may need to come in to attend meetings.
- Job-sharing: This is where the employee works with a partner, covering a single job but splitting the days of the week. You will need to ensure there are good handovers, perhaps with a time where both sharers are in the office to discuss what is going on. The main risk lies in finding the right job share partner, which can be problematic.
- Self-rostering: This is where the employee selects which hours they hours work.
- Shift working: There are many jobs outside the traditional nine to five. Consider evening and weekend working.
- Staggered hours: Start and finish times can vary for different people in a team, so some finish early, while others start and finish late.
- Term-time working: This works well if your company has seasonal demands, and is likely to be quiet during August, Christmas and Easter
The government provides a good overview of the laws around flexible working here.
Does your business offer flexible working to its employees? What do you think? Let us know your comments below
Antonia helps business owners succeed. She provides practical training and helpful tips at www.antoniachitty.co.uk and www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk. Her latest books include Blogging: The Essential Guide (Need2Know) and Making Money Online (Hale Books).