Responding to requests
As an employer, someone might ask you about working from home or hybrid working. You should consider their request.
Follow the law
Make sure you know why they're asking – they could be making a request for a reasonable adjustment under the law (Equality Act 2010).
If someone asks in writing to change the terms and conditions of their employment, this might be a formal flexible working request. You must respond to flexible working requests appropriately.
Consider the benefits
Working from home and hybrid working can help:
- increase productivity and job satisfaction
- attract and retain a more diverse workforce
- improve trust and working relationships
When considering working from home and hybrid working, you should discuss how other types of flexible working might help. For example, different working patterns.
Example of home and hybrid working
Ali began working from home after the covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic started.
This allowed Ali to save money by not commuting, and to better look after their children. However, they sometimes felt lonely and found it difficult to collaborate on some work.
Ali does not want to return to the workplace full-time. Ali's employer could consider offering hybrid working and flexible working hours to help with childcare.
Have a policy
A policy can help you to:
- consider requests appropriately
- make transparent, fair and objective decisions
- explain the process to your employees
If you are considering making changes, you should consult your employees, managers and unions as soon as possible.
You could agree to try working from home or hybrid working for a short amount of time (a 'trial period').
This would allow you to see:
- how it works
- whether any adjustments need to be discussed
- if there's more or less flexibility than originally expected
Before you begin a trial period, you should agree what might happen at the end of the trial period and how it will be reviewed.
Alternatives to home or hybrid working
You might not currently be able to support the same working from home or hybrid working arrangements for every role in your organisation.
You should discuss alternatives with employees and their representatives, for example:
- working in other locations
- different working patterns
- other ways of flexible working
These alternatives could help to reduce feelings of unfairness.
You should regularly review things, as you might be able to support different arrangements in the future.