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There is increasing pressure on employers in the UK to allow flexible working including remote working. This article, from a leading law firm, emphasises the pressure arising from the statutory right to (request) flexible working; from a forthcoming statutory Acas code of practice; and from equality legislation.
Many argue that home-working is more productive.Certainly commuting consumes time and  energy (mental and physical) that could be better used.  It has been a feature of shoe manufacturing for decades; so nothing is new. But some will feel that shoe-workers, paid by piece work, were exploited. Today the most attractive form of home working (for employers) is work that can be measured and monitored. Will those employees who see home working as a new freedom come to regret it?
Against this background of an increasing trend towards remote working Yahoo (far from a backward company) has taken the view that “some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings”. Work is also more than simply accomplishing tasks. There is a social aspect to working with others, working on one’s own is, frankly, not much fun. Something for which, as a part-time author, I can vouch.  Furthermore it has long been argued that the contribution of a team is always greater than the sum of its individuals’ contributions. Team members need to see one another. Primarily this is because feelings matter and they cannot be ignored when decisions are made. Feelings are not communicated effectively by email or even by conferencing facilities.
Of course, the new Chief Executive at Yahoo comes from Google where employees (in my perception) are mollycoddled. Their meals are provided; their clothes laundered; and shopping delivered to work. Why would their employees ever want to go home?
Employers need to be alert. Flexible working is undoubtedly on the increase and some care will be required in deciding whether to allow it, or even encourage it, in any particular case. If an employer decides not to do so, even more care may be required in refusing a request.