There has been a lot of media coverage lately about where employees will be working in future in organisations which are usually office or similarly based. Many well-known organisations have announced their plans to move towards remote or hybrid working whilst others have said they intend to return all employees to the workplace as soon as they feel able to safely do so.
If your organisation is one of those that is considering whether to permanently change where your employees work (including making any temporary arrangements such as working from home permanent), there’s a lot to think about, so here are a few things you may find it helpful to know.
1. Why are some employers changing the way they work?
There are many reasons for this including:
- Some organisations have become more open to new ideas about different ways of working as they have had to become adaptable during the pandemic
- Some employers have found that working arrangements that were temporarily required, such as remote working, have been successful and brought positive benefits for the organisation and employees alike and wish to continue some / all of the arrangements
- Some organisations identifying that introducing changes longer term to where employees will work, such as remote working, can enable them to access a wider pool of talent and support them in retaining employees in a competitive sector
2. There has been a lot of talk about hybrid working, what’s all the fuss about?
Hybrid working is where an employee spends some of their time working at the workplace (e.g. the office) and the rest working remotely. Depending on the arrangement, remote working could be from home, a co-working space or other location.
Whilst it’s not suitable for all organisations / roles, it’s proving a popular idea amongst some employers and employees as it can balance the benefits of working remotely with those of working in the workplace.
3. What should the first steps be if an employer is considering whether to make changes to where work is done?
Every business is different so it’s important to assess what would work best for your organisation. One of the first steps will be to put together a clear business case regarding any changes the organisation is proposing. Key things to consider include:
- What change(s) you are proposing to make and why and which roles would potentially be affected
- Identifying any practical issues that may need to be addressed (including working safely during coronavirus)
- How employees are likely to feel about the change(s) you may wish to make
- When you are proposing the changes would be implemented
Remember, no employee should be discriminated against whether directly or indirectly when it comes to any proposed changes and that you may need to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.
4. Consultation will be needed
It’s important to bear in mind that consultation with employees regarding proposed changes will be required, and in some cases, it may be necessary to comply with collective consultation obligations which place additional duties on employers. You should seek advice from Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd on your situation before taking any action in relation to changes you may wish to make.
5. It’s not only employers who may be thinking about making changes
It’s likely that some employers will find themselves receiving more flexible working requests than usual over the coming months as employees too may be thinking about their long term working arrangements. If your organisation receives a flexible working request it’s important that it is dealt with appropriately. Remember, Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd are here to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice on your situation.
If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.