How the flexible working bill can work for you: the future of socially sustainable businesses

Business Express - 25 September 2023
Simon Eastlake
5 min read
Published: 13 Dec 2023 9:7

Employers, on the other hand, are left with the pressing question ‘What does the bill mean to me and how should I preempt its ratifications?’.

The Flexible Working Bill provides company leaders with an invaluable opportunity to embrace a change that could increase productivity, attract top-tier talent, and drive socially sustainable business. Businesses that take the time to understand the Flexible Working Bill, support employees, and embrace hybrid working by turning to flexible, serviced offices, set themselves up to reap the rewards of this new way of doing business. By grasping the bill’s implications, embracing the opportunities provided by flexible working, and establishing a sustainable long-term work approach, employers can effectively tailor the changes brought about by the Flexible Working Bill to their advantage.

Understanding the Implications of the Flexible Working Bill

In light of the impending implementation of the Flexible Working Bill, businesses are urged to embark on a journey of understanding regarding its far-reaching implications. It is important to recognise that while the bill affords workers the right to request flexible working arrangements, it doesn’t mandate employers to provide remote work on a universal basis.

But change is on the horizon. Whilst companies can, and in some cases may be forced to, reject employee requests for flexible working, the long-term benefits of embracing hybrid working measures are hard to ignore. 53% of those who are dissatisfied with their level of flexibility at work say they are burned out, and employees who enjoy the flexibility of working in various locations exhibit productivity scores 8% higher than those who work solely in the office.[ii] As such, businesses should take proactive measures to understand their responsibilities under the Flexible Working Bill. Rather than resisting the transition to flexible working, companies need to embrace its potential and seek ways to make it work for them.

Embracing the Potential of Flexible Work

Creating clear policies for flexible work requests is a key step for companies looking to get hybrid right. To develop such a policy, businesses will need to clearly define the criteria for eligibility, evaluate department needs, and identify which roles are suited to remote working. This approach balances employee preferences with operational efficiency, positioning companies in good stead to navigate evolving work arrangements while prioritising employee well-being.

To prepare for the Flexible Working Bill, businesses should reevaluate their internal communications systems and embrace hybrid work environments. The need for seamless collaboration between remote and in-office teams is of the upmost importance, and this is where turning to a flexible, serviced office can help to foster a hybrid approach. Be it an online company-wide conference or a sensitive office-based meeting, flexible office spaces provide bespoke, adaptable settings for all forms of collaboration. State-of-the-art conference rooms, a blend of individual and co-working spaces and, most importantly, high-speed Wi-Fi, are all vital offerings that make a flexible office the perfect base for hybrid working businesses. To fully embrace the age of flexibility, companies need to consider the relative merits of where they work, and ask themselves the question, “Does our in-person office support flexibility for our employees, and if not, what can we do to make sure it does?”

Fostering Collaborative and Inclusive Workspaces

The Flexible Working Bill does not imply the end of collaborative working or the physical office space. To support employees’ time in the office, businesses must create a compelling and inclusive work environment that complements remote work options. Providing quiet spaces to work with others who are dialling in from home, such as the sound-proofed booths we offer in a number of Office Space in Town (OSiT) sites, in addition to the traditional meeting rooms is key for employers to consider.

Moreover, with employees given increasing rights to work from home, businesses now need to earn the commute if they want to bring workers back together. The social draws of office life may differ from company to company, and flexible office spaces provide the amenities for each business to figure out a social balance that works for them. OSiT’s Monument office, for example, offers businesses the opportunity to host parties and events on our rooftop terrace, and many flexible office providers will provide that extra level of support in helping to manage these events. Beyond the scope of company-based functions, flexible offices can also put on their own regular social events such as monthly quizzes or seasonal events, helping to build company connections and generate networking opportunities with other businesses.

The onsite amenities provided by a serviced flexible office add another layer of support for companies venturing into hybrid working. Amenities such as gyms, bike racks, relaxation areas, and beverage stations incentivise employees to participate in office days more often, whilst helping employees keep a healthy work-life balance. A positive work-life balance is known to increase productivity as much as twofold, so offering high-quality services and amenities can be beneficial to both employees and employers.[iii]

As the Flexible Working Bill becomes a reality, businesses must proactively prepare to adapt to the changing landscape of work. Understanding the implications of the bill, embracing flexible work options, and fostering collaborative and inclusive workspaces are essential steps for companies to navigate this new era successfully. By doing so, businesses can not only comply with the law but also harness the benefits of flexible working, leading to a more engaged and productive workforce in the post-pandemic world.