04/11/2014

By AXA PPP healthcare,

Small businesses rarely work Monday to Friday 9-5, but the government’s new legislation to allow all employees to request flexible working arrangements, could prove to be a great benefit for small business owners. Providing they have worked for the company for at least 26 weeks, employees can now request flexing working arrangements. However, employers don’t have to accept this request, as long as they have a good business reason for objecting.

Types of flexible working

Flexible working can relate to working time, working location and pattern of working. Flexible working arrangements could include:

Part-time working - this is anything less than full-time hours
Term time working - this allows employees to co-ordinate their work with school holidays
Job sharing - this is a type of part-time working where two people share the responsibility for a job between them
Flexitime - this allows employees to choose, within certain set limits, when to begin and end work
Compressed hours - this is generally when working hours are compressed into fewer days during a working week e.g. a nine day fortnight
Annual hours - this sets the number of hours employees must work in the year and have that agreed between you and your employee
Working from home - this is when employees regularly work from home
Mobile working - this is when employees work part of their working week at a location which is different to the normal workplace
A career break or sabbatical - this is where employees leave work for an extended period which is unpaid.

This list is not exhaustive. Flexible working can include informal arrangements such as employee self-roistering or shift swapping as well as the formal arrangements listed above.

How can it benefit my business?

Enabling employees to work flexibly can offer great advantages to small businesses.

Decrease overheads.

From a practical point of view, flexible arrangements such as remote working can decrease overheads and the need for office space, positively affecting operating costs.

Retain valuable staff.

Flexibly working can make staff feel valued and are more likely to stay rather than being forced to leave due to practical reasons.

Attract new staff.

Flexibly working can add to your benefits package without adding extra costs and could attract a wider pool of talent who might not have looked at your company otherwise.

Improve productivity.

Offering more flexibility about the times of day that staff are required to work can enable employers to tap into the most productive time of their employees' day.

Happier staff

Agreeing flexible working arrangements between you and your staff, could increase the internal relationships, commitment to the company and overall happiness of your workforce. This boost of moral, should positively impact the productivity in your business.