People Resourcing week 4.
Case studies of flexible working (Names have been changed):
Jim has two young children who are under school age. He works a compressed 3-week period, which means that every third Friday he is not at work. The arrangement is subject to work pressures and so the Friday is flexible and can change with mutual agreement. Both he and his manager gain from this arrangement, he can take care of his children every third Friday and save on childcare costs and his manager benefits from a committed worker who works outside core office hours and can therefore be more productive during ‘quieter periods’.
Keith is a senior manager. His partner gave birth to their premature baby while they were on annual leave outside the UK. Mother and baby could not be discharged from hospital care for a number of weeks. Keith and his manager agreed that remote working would work on a short-term basis. Everyone gained. Mother and baby are well and back in the UK. Father was able to provide support to his family at a worrying time, reduce his level of stress and continue to work at the same time. And his manager was able to manage business continuity, did not need to arrange replacement cover, and retained a valued and even more committed member of staff.
James has two school-age children. He starts work at 8am, which means that he is able to be at home when his children finish school and his manager has someone in the office who can offer a customer service outside office hours.
Ann is disabled because of a health condition and has an elderly widowed mother who lives over 250 kilometres away from her without any close family support. She works a 9-day fortnight, which means that she can look after own health whilst at the same time visiting her mother on a regular basis to provide support. This type of flexible working fits in with the nature of her work and she uses her iPhone and laptop to check if there are urgent messages and act on these on the day that she is not in the office. Her manager gains because Ann’s sickness absence is below the School’s average of 3.8 days per calendar year.
Geraldine is a senior manager of a large team of staff and a single mother of a school-age child. The Easter and Christmas School closures are very convenient for her in terms of childcare and she takes paid and unpaid leave every summer for the same reason. The unpaid leave arrangement suits her manager very well because most of some of units close down over the summer period.
Rosemary works for an hour at home from 6am, then stops to get her children up and have breakfast with them, so that she has a little time with them before leaving for work. She then travels to work to resume working. Her manager travels abroad a great deal and he appreciates getting a response to the emails that he has sent from the other side of the world during the early hours of UK time. One day of the week she works from home so that she can take her children to and from school. Her manager knows that the flexibility works both ways, and if there are urgent deadlines or meetings she is happy to come in early or work late on those occasions.
Matthew is a new father and he wants to be home for his baby’s final feed of the day so his manager has agreed to change his working hours to 8.30-16.30. His manager gains because he knows that Matthew is prepared to log on to his email inbox in the evening in order to meet any urgent deadlines.
Greg has two children aged 24 months and 7 months and works full time. His wife is a part-time solicitor. Before Greg came to the LSE four years ago he worked in the private sector and had a very rigid working pattern and 12- hour days. After attending the ‘Balancing Work and Being Dad’ he felt confident about talking to his manager about working flexibly. Now he can do the nursery run with his eldest child and be on hand to help out at bedtime. His manager judges him on his output rather than the hours he works. “Everyone trusts that I will do the work and I am judged on getting the work done rather than the hours I do. Knowing that I need to get the work done so I can leave on time, I am much more focused rather than pondering on things”. The benefits for the LSE of this flexible approach are that they have a happy, motivated employee who is not constantly stressed about missing his children and is less likely to leave the organisation. Plus, says Greg, going home to a ‘completely different world’, he says, puts work issues in perspective. “I can step back a little more and take a different perspective on the issues and not be totally consumed by the pressures of work or end up running on empty,” he says.
London School of Economics
The mini case studies above outline 8 different personal scenarios for working in a flexible capacity. Examine each of these in turn and consider the extent to which flexible arrangements are justified.
Employees have a right to request flexible working, however If the organization is not able to accommodate arrangements for some of the staff, identify who would have priority and why
Please refer to the ACAS guidelines below
The right to request flexible working The right to request flexible working http://www.acas.org.uk/flexibleworking
From 30 June 2014 every employee has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service.
(Before 30 June 2014, the right only applies to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers.)
• Requests should be in writing stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application.
• Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the request.
• Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request.
• Employees can only make one request in any 12 month period.
Handling requests to work flexibly
Once a request has been received the employee should arrange a meeting to discuss the request, this should be done as soon as possible, this is not a statutory requirement but is good practice.
This meeting can provide an opportunity to see what changes the employee is asking for and reasons for the change, although the employee may not wish to say why it also allows any compromise to be explored. Although not a statutory requirement, it would be good practice to allow the employee to be accompanied at a meeting by a work colleague or trade union representative.
The law requires the process to be completed within three months of the request being received, this includes any appeals.
Any request that is accepted will make a permanent change to the employment contract, so if the employee wants a temporary change then an agreement may be reached together with any comprise if the original request cannot be accommodated.
However, if the employer is willing to grant a request then meeting may not be necessary, but it still may be useful to discuss a request to ensure that the proposal made by the employee is the best solution for both employer and employee.
Employers should considered requests in a reasonable manner and can only refuse them if there is a business reasons for doing so, this reason must be from the following list:
• the burden of additional costs
• an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
• an inability to recruit additional staff
• a detrimental impact on quality
• a detrimental impact on performance
• detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
• insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
• a planned structural changes to the business.
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