Lockdown Legacy

Flexible Future

One positive legacy of the Covid pandemic has been the rise in flexible  and hybrid working arrangements offered by employers. For many organisations, the ability of staff to work remotely was essential to their survival,. It also offered proof that many tasks could be carried out equally well away from the traditional office nine-to-five.

While Covid accelerated an exiting trend, there are still many employers who are reluctant to allow remote or flexible working, and currently only employees with at least 26 weeks continuous service have the legal right to request it. There are moves to make this available to employees when they start employment, and a draft bill before Parliament has this under consideration. However, given the current political climate, any legal changes appear to be some way off.

It is more likely that the tight employment market will drive this change, as more employees place the right to flexible and remote working high on their list of priorities when considering whether to remain or look for a new opportunity.

According to a survey published last year by recruitment website Reed.co.uk, the ability to work flexible hours has become the second-biggest factor after a pay increase motivating people to stay with their employer.

Whether legal reform or market forces play the major role, employers who fail to respond to these changes will struggle to recruit and retain the best talent.

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