Under new rulings announced in the last couple of weeks, all 30 million British workers now have the right to request flexible hours, as opposed to just parents or carers.
This change in the law has been heralded as a move to make workers happier and improve their productivity, and the advancements in technology certainly mean it is easier than ever before to find homeworking jobs or a job-share.
The news has been greeted with some caution from the legal sector however, with some employment lawyers warning that it could lead to a huge surge in the number of workplace grievances and rising resentment between employees.
That doesn’t have to be the case and there are a number of reasons why this move is a positive one:
Flexi-time can improve staff attraction
It is one of the main things that is mentioned by candidates we meet, as increasing workloads and life pressures mean that people are juggling many responsibilities. By offering flexi-time, employers could attract a much wider cross section of people and skillsets.
It can improve staff retention
Recent annual salary and benefits benchmarkers revealed that almost half of legal employees would like flexi-time, and that retaining more staff could be as simple as offering this as a bonus. Keeping a good member of staff, by offering a little flexibility, seems like a no-brainer.
It can help maintain morale
A happy workplace is more productive and creative. Life is simply too short to be unhappy at work, and employers need to trust their staff to deliver, whether they are working from home or the office.
Technology makes it so simple
Vast numbers of hours are wasted on travel and meetings, when they could be a quick skype or google hangout, reducing travel time and meaning people can quickly return to their tasks. Technology means we can work remotely and effectively in many professional roles now, and also provides the capacity to log and track the workload, for complete clarity.
It’s only a request
Ultimately, the employer can still say no. The fact that everyone has the right to request part time hours, compressed hours, homeworking or job sharing does not guarantee they will get it. It can only work if it is feasible and fair on everyone else. This should reassure nervous employers. But at least it is a start.
There are some professions for which job shares or part time roles simply are not practicable. But for those that are, and that includes several areas of the law, it is time to get on board. The world of work is changing and the UK / legal industry needs to keep up.
Remote/hybrid legal jobs on TotallyLegal
You can find out more about whether working from home works in the legal profession in our article, or read our top tips on how to work from home or how to switch off when working from home.
Looking for legal jobs that offer hybrid/ remote working? Search and apply for the latest homeworking jobs on TotallyLegal today.