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12 August 2016

WITH more than a third of employees saying they would prefer to be offered flexible working arrangements rather than a pay rise, leading workplace equipment supplier Slingsby has compiled a list of guidelines to help employers introduce a successful flexible working scheme.

The research, from the Investors in People’s Job Exodus Trends poll, asked employees whether they would prefer a 3% pay rise in line with recent UK increases, or an alternative benefit. In total, 34% of employees surveyed said they would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than the pay rise.

Slingsby supplies more than 35,000 workplace products across all industries including an extensive range of equipment and home office furniture that can help to facilitate flexible working arrangements. The company has seen demand for these products increase after new legislation was introduced during summer 2014, which means all employees with 26 weeks or more service can request flexible working. The legislation states employers must consider all requests objectively and in a reasonable manner.

Dominic Slingsby, Operations Director at Slingsby, explains: “Flexible working means adapting to the needs of an employee. This might mean giving people the opportunity to work from home, introducing flexible start and finish times or offering job share schemes. There’s a common perception that flexible working is mainly aimed at career mums who want to balance their work and home life. However this is definitely not the case and it’s worth remembering that everyone is legally entitled to request flexible working arrangements, regardless of their personal circumstances and whether or not they have children. 

“Flexible working generally suits desk based workers who rely on computers, broadband and telephone connections to do their work. This research demonstrates how introducing flexible working can help to retain and motivate employees and evidence also suggests it can reduce absenteeism and increase productivity which make it difficult to ignore.”

Despite the benefits of flexible working, it’s not something that can be rushed into, so Slingsby has compiled a list of 10 guidelines that workplaces need to consider before offering such a scheme:-

*It generally makes sense to run a trial, with a small number of people, before rolling flexible working arrangements out – how will you do this and who will participate in it?

*How will you ensure the quality of your company’s service and the way it’s delivered, will be maintained?

*What are your busiest days and times, and will you require extra cover on-site during these times?

*How will you ensure that additional burdens and responsibilities are not placed on workers that don’t participate in flexible working?

*What resistance is there likely to be to flexible working from either customers or employees and how can this be overcome?

*Are there benefits of your flexible working scheme that you can communicate to clients and customers?

*How can the success of the scheme be measured or what warning signs will you look for that will highlight potential problems with it?

*What additional equipment or technology will employees require to ensure they remain effective and efficient?

*It is generally good practice for employers to make flexible working open to the whole workforce – is this possible?

*What formal procedure will you put in place for handling flexible working requests and ensuring the criteria for agreeing to a request is both objective and business related?

For more information, please contact:

HC Slingsby plc
Otley Road
West Yorkshire
BD17 7LW
Tel:  0800 294 4440
Fax:  0800 294 4442
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