Covid-19: Flexible working

03 June 2020 | Anoop Sodhi

The Coronavirus epidemic has forced many businesses to look at new ways of working to ensure that business needs are met.

Working from home

One way to ensure work gets done is to get staff to work from home.

There is a plethora of staff who are able to work from home namely office staff.  Provided that office staff have access to a laptop, internet and phone this strong possibility has turned into a proven reality and success for many.  However, it is also worth noting that one size does not fit all, for example factory operatives cannot work from home, so there needs to be a degree of sensibility about this.

The way we work has evolved and changed. The traditional Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm has reduced and employers have had to become flexible to the employees needs as well as the business. 

Flexible working

With the recent announcements from the Prime Minister to encourage workers to start to return back to some normality namely to go back to work, employees now question the possibility of a permanent flexible working status and to continue to work from home with reduced working hours.

There are many positives as to working from home as, for example, it cuts the commute time, assists with family work life balance and more importantly, reduces the spread of coronavirus.  Some staff have commented that their mental well being has improved with this flexibility. Should employees wish to approach management about the possibility of continuing to work from home on a permanent basis, employees must make a flexible working application. 

The law states any employee with 26 weeks continuous service has the statutory right to apply for flexible working.  Employees can make one written request per year.  The gov.uk flexible working application is available online to use.  An employee does not need to give a reason why they wish to make a request. 

The Employer should review the request and it should be dealt within a 3 month period.  Should the employer agree, it is wise to confirm the agreement in writing.

The Employer can decline the request based on 8 business reasons as detailed below.

  • burden of additional costs;
  • inability to re organise work among existing staff;
  • inability to recruit additional staff;
  • detrimental impact on quality;
  • detrimental impact on performance;
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand;
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work; or
  • planned structural changes.

Employers must think rationally before considering rejecting homeworking more so now as reliable business sources have highlighted the success in this new method of working since Covid-19. Many employers are now embracing this as a new agile way of working as the reality is staff can be trusted to work from home and to get their work done. 

For further advice and guidance on flexible working and the easing of the lockdown restrictions; call the advice line on 01455852028.

Meet the Quest Experts

Hema Mistry

Head of Operations

With over 20 years experience in HR, Hema draws her expert specialist knowledge from a broad range of industries, including employment advisory and consultancy services, retail, manufacturing and leisure. Being MCIPD qualified enables her to quickly understand how organisations operate, how to interact with their business leaders and to deliver effective commercial and practical solutions.

Andy Hooke

Health, Safety & Training Business Partner

Andy is NEBOSH trained and a technical member of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH). Andy is often found studying the latest updates to legislation to keep his knowledge up to date and provide the best advice. With a passion for health and safety and experience in a range of environments from large corporates to small business, Andy is well placed to support you in all your health and safety needs.

Jill Colston

HR and Training Business Partner

Jill has over 14 years’ experience in HR & Training. Having started a career as a police officer; she changed careers to HR & Training dealing with Equality & Diversity in the workplace. Jill is passionate about Diversity, Inclusion and HR and has supported companies in managing their HR and training needs. She has a wealth of expertise across HR, dealing with challenging casework, company restructure projects, mediation, training, organisational development systems; equality and diversity.

Arti Patel

HR Business Partner

Arti has a strong background in HR and is a fully qualified CIPD member. She has worked with challenging casework and has a good understanding of how to deal with workplace matters as they arise.

Jatinder Tara

Advice Line Team Leader

Jatinder is qualified non-practising Solicitor, he has over 22 years advisory experience in Employment law, HR matters and Employment Tribunal litigation. He manages the legal and HR advice line team ensuring the delivery of advice is effective verbally and in correspondence. He has experience in training and coaching work colleagues in all aspects of legal and employment matters. With his sound understanding of issues arising with in the workplace environment, Jatinder aims to deliver clear and concise client focussed advice.

Anoop Sodhi

HR Employment Relations Advisor

Anoop is an experienced HR Advisor and is part of the Telephone Advice Line Team. Anoop has worked in both the public and private sector, providing Employment Law advice ranging from grievances, disciplinaries, performance management, attendance management and mediation. Anoop is a trained mediator and provides down to earth, pragmatic, commercial advice. Outside of work, Anoop actively participates as a CIPD Board Member of East Midlands.

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