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How to support flexible working

🌈 A diverse workforce has diverse needs.


Implementing a flexible working policy is a part of having reasonable adjustments that help employers understand a “substantial disadvantage” affecting one or a group of employees and trying to correct for that.


For example, extending adjustments to employees whilst they’re unwell or upon their return to work ensures they make a proper and lasting recovery and stay engaged and productive.


Experts say flexible working is guaranteed to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism. Head of HR at Telefónica UK identified the top three benefits she has seen from their flexible working policy:


  1. Cost saving
  2. Productivity
  3. Attraction and retention of top talent

However, there are no limits on the number of flexible working requests an employee can make. So how do you deal with all of this conundrum efficiently and fairly?



✅ How employees should apply. For your records, this should be written. We suggest an application form that is available to all employees and is signposted and explained at onboarding.


✅ Where the application should be sent.


✅ What the next steps will be.


✅ The appeals process and time limits.


✅ The right to be accompanied by a legal representative or advocate to any discussion.


✅ How to work out costs and merits of the proposed working arrangements and, ultimately, make a fair decision.



What if you wanted to roll out flexible working benefits for the whole workforce? How can you unlock the advantages and make the benefits work for everybody?


Watch this 2:36 video to see how an HR generalist at Delta Dental put flexible working into action for 3,000+ employees at the US’s largest dental benefits carrier.


The top three lessons from Delta Dental

⚡ Use what everyone is already familiar with. Chyann knew everyone at Delta Dental was comfortable with Office 365. What does your organisation already use?


⚡ Track processes collaboratively and in real time. This means everyone always has the latest and greatest documents, data and processes at their fingertips.


⚡ Emphasise the magic of engagement and help everyone stay connected. Help your people balance deep, private productivity with coming together and connecting. Suggest teams have dedicated days where they regroup in the office for functional meetings or fun social activities!



The bottom line?

A flexible working policy helps employers understand disadvantageous factors affecting one or a group of employees and trying to balance the playing field. Of course, managing absences shouldn’t be all fluff and rainbows. It’s your duty to protect the business and the team members left behind that pick up the slack. So, use a clear policy to support applications for individual working arrangements. Better yet, go the whole hog and roll out the policy to everybody using technology.

How to support flexible working

How are you creating an inclusive and equitable environment at your workplace? We’re are always keen to hear your stories!

Fiyona Young Img Fiona Young (she/her)

Having previously led Learning and Development for 3,000 people at Europe’s leading venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, Fiona knows a thing or two about how to build high performance culture. As Content Director at Hive Learning, Fiona pioneered the organisation's leading guided content programmes which are designed to turn learning into action. Most recently, Fiona led the inception, development and delivery of Inclusion Works by Hive Learning - the world’s first diversity and inclusion programme focused on turning unconscious bias into conscious action - created from over 1,000 leading sources.