Can you object to flexible working and if you can should you?
There are many options of flexible working that employees may want to consider such as working from home, working part-time or working flexible hours.
But, if an employee requests to have flexible working, can you object to it and if you can, should you, or is it beneficial for you to have a flexible policy for your workforce? All employees have the legal right to request for flexible working if they have been working for you for more than 26 weeks.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to handle the application in a ‘reasonable manner’ as stated by the government. You can indeed object to a flexible working request from an employee, but only under strict reasoning.
These could be due to extensive costs of doing so, your inability to make up for their absence with additional staff, that it will have a major negative impact on the performance of their own work or that it results in insufficient work periods.
Many employers are bitter towards a flexible working request, but there are many benefits for a company who promote and support a flexible working policy to their employees. A major benefit is how it can increase your company’s attractiveness to prospective employees significantly.
If you promote flexibility when advertising roles or are open to discussing the options of flexible working in the recruitment process, you are much more likely to attract better candidates and secure the best talent during the recruitment process. Flexibility in a job can be a deal breaker for many professionals, so offering it in the first place puts you in a good position compared to your competitors.
And don’t be fooled that flexible working encourages less productivity, as research is beginning to show the complete opposite. Many professionals work better in a non-traditional environment and if that’s the case then you will see a better rate of productivity in your staff by giving them that flexibility they need.
After all, it doesn’t make sense for you pay an employee to work 8am-5pm when they are more productive 12pm-9pm. If an employee is requesting to be flexible it is because they know that they can do a job as good or better in a more fitting environment for them.
By giving them the trust to work their way, you may find that employees will put more effort into their work to honour your trust in them. We know the importance of a good work-life balance is becoming more predominant for employees, and if your company isn’t one to promote a great one, you may find that you start to lose some of your best talent.
Offering flexibility is one way of promoting a healthy work-life balance and will help boost retention rates and pose as another benefit to prospective employees. So, do you really think you should object to flexible working?
Yes, there may be the odd case where it wouldn’t be suitable because of the nature of the job, but as employers it is your responsibility to keep up with the growing demand of flexibility.
If you want to retain your best employees and attract the best talent, you are going to have to be open to flexible working to keep the company’s best interests of running successfully and have a great reputation for employee satisfaction.