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Flexible Working – the cure for World Cup Fever?

23 May 2014

Every four years a month-long ‘sickness’ spreads across many workplaces in the UK, leaving empty desks, but this year’s changes to flexible working could be the cure for World Cup fever, says law firm Adams & Remers.

This year’s World Cup tournament is set to kick off in Brazil on Thursday 12 June, with the final match taking place on Sunday 13 July. Most matches are scheduled outside of normal 9 to 5 working hours, however many employers are still likely to see higher than average levels of staff ‘sickness’ and poor performance following late night celebrations. There may also be squabbles amongst colleagues about working particular shifts and days.

From 30 June 2014 all employees, with 26 weeks’ continuous service, have the right to put forward a case for flexible working, regardless of whether they are a parent or carer. Employers could consider using the World Cup as an opportunity to trial flexible working in the workplace.

Jennifer Mansoor, Solicitor at Adams and Remers, comments: “Flexible working can cover anything from the hours of work, place of work and time of work and employees will be able to request different kinds of flexible working such as flexi-time, part-time working, compressed working hours, term-time working, shift working and job sharing.”

With growth in technology, working from home has become more viable for many employees. Many have faster broadband, laptops and smartphones, and with remote email access, face time applications and online file sharing, employees do not need to be at their desks to carry out their work.

Jennifer continues: “Employers are expected to deal with requests in a ‘reasonable manner’, and are only able to reject flexible working requests on specified business grounds. Trialing flexible working during the World Cup could help pre-empt suspiciously high levels of sickness or workplace squabbles and provides an opportunity to see first hand how granting flexible working requests could affect the business in the future.

“If employers find that the trial has a detrimental impact on the business such as increased costs, an inability to reorganise work among existing staff, poor quality of work, low performance and an inability to meet customer demand then requests could be rejected at the end of the trial period or at a later date.”

Jennifer concludes: “Flexible working can increase productivity, loyalty and motivation amongst employees, however it will not be suitable or logistically possibly for every business but employers should consider having regular reviews to re-assess rights vs the business needs.”



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