A recent change in the law now gives all employees the right to request flexible working. But what does this really mean and how will it impact upon your business?
Firstly, this is a change that is more about closing a loophole than anything else. There has never been a law to say that employees cannot ask about flexible working. However, there was a law stating that carers and those looking after children could request flexible working. This change will prevent future claims of discrimination against non-carers. In reality this means that anyone can request flexible working from their employer, who in turn has an obligation to provide it, and certainly should not actively discriminate against it.
Flexible working has increased significantly in recent years, in fact, according to the TUC last year, the number of people working from home has increased by 13 per cent in the last five years. According to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills around 20 million workers will be able to request flexible working provision. Whilst flexible working is not right for every business or everyone within a business, for many people it can provide a solution to improving work life balance, increasing productivity and helping with things such as childcare.
One of the main challenges in providing delivering flexible working is providing secure access to company IT systems such as Email, Files and Communications. The paradox of having to open up your critical IT Systems to remote users, whilst protecting your data and information is something that requires significant thought for each organisation, not to mention user training, equipment and also access to decent broadband.
That said, with the increased adoption of Cloud Technology, improvements in Fixed & Mobile Broadband and the proliferation of Smartphones & Tablet devices in the work place, you can now access information from pretty much anywhere. All of your key business tools such as Email, Calendars, Documents, Telephony, Accounting and Marketing applications can run over the internet, from the office, home or on the move.
iSuite is currently offering a free of charge flexible working consultation, consisting of an initial assessment followed up with a full report to detail the potential cost savings, risks and benefits to your business. We can also offer a range of solutions to help your business offer flexible working to your employees. If you would like to book a consultation please contact us.