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How Flexible Working Can Increase Productivity and Employee Engagement

Apr 11, 2023

Key Takeaways from the UK 2022 Autumn Statement
Paul Kramer

Paul Kramer

Director of Compliance

Flexible working is transforming how we approach work, and the proposed Employee Relations (Flexible Working) Bill will enable employees to request it as a legal right. In this blog post, we’ll explore how flexible working options can boost productivity and employee engagement and how the right modern workforce management solution can ensure compliance with this legislation. 

Some examples of flexible working options include: 

Flexitime Scheme: Outside of the given core hours, employees can choose which hours they work. This option is employee focused, allowing them to define their availability. Deficit or surplus hours are calculated, and any surplus can be taken back as additional holiday time. After a period of time, usually four weeks, a comparison is made with contracted hours. 

Annualised Hours Scheme: Similar to flexitime, employees can accumulate hours, with the main difference being that AHS plans the year in advance, determining working hours, holiday time and shift patterns. This option is employer focused. 

Casual Contract: Employees are free to work when and how often they want and are not tied to a specific employer. They can define their availability, and their work is scheduled to meet the employer’s customer demand based on their availability and skillset.  

Self-Scheduling: Employees select the shifts that suit their personal circumstances. Employers define the required shifts to support the business, and employees can choose some or all. This new initiative needs careful design, implementation, and management to ensure compliance and fairness. 

Why Flexible Working Matters

Flexible working can improve work/life balance, employee well-being, productivity, talent attraction and retention and have positive environmental impacts. With the new legislation, millions of employees can request flexible working from day one. Around 1.5 million low-paid workers will gain more flexibility by removing exclusivity clause restrictions.* 

Who Is Impacted?

The proposed Flexible Working Bill impacts both employers and employees. Employees benefit from the immediate impact of the associated benefits. Employers need to ensure that the chosen scheme benefits both employees and satisfies the needs of the organization. 

The Risk of Doing Nothing

Neglecting to adapt to flexible working may harm the quality of service offered to customers, as it can hinder employee recruitment and retention efforts. 

Industry-Specific Use Cases

  • Annualised hours are more suitable for manufacturing, where demand is stable throughout the year and rotational shift patterns are common. 
  • Flexitime is ideal for professional services, local/central government, financial, and other service organisations where demand is not customer driven. 
  • Casual working/self-scheduling is aligned with retail and hospitality, where demand is highly customer driven, seasonal and involves a higher proportion of part-time, flexible workers. 

Modern Workforce Management Solution Benefits

Modern workforce management solutions, such as the WorkForce Suite, can support flexible working through features like shift offering, shift swapping, annualised hours, demand scheduling, management of flexitime schemes, and employee-driven availability management. 

Final Thoughts

With the demand for talent at an all-time high, offering flexible working options has become a crucial element in attracting and retaining employees. By understanding the different flexible working options and using modern workforce management solutions to ensure compliance, organizations can effectively adapt to the changing work landscape and reap the benefits of increased productivity and employee engagement. 

Visit WorkForce Software’s Compliance Navigator to learn more, including information about new and changing workplace legislation. 

*Lowest Paid Workers to Be given Flexibility to Top up Their Pay under Government Reforms.” n.d. GOV.UK.

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