In June, Morgan Stanley’s US chief executive James Gorman famously told his employees that, “if you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. And we want you in the office.”
While many other high-profile business leaders echo this sentiment (including the chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon) others, like PwC, are considering hybrid working strategies that blend time spent in the office with work performed from a remote location.
However your organisation plans to approach post-lockdown work routines, you should be wary of simply ushering employees back to their desks full-time.
Why? Talented employees may use this as their cue to look for a new job, as research shows that more than two-thirds of staff want flexible working options to continue.
If they have worked for your organisation for at least 26 weeks, employees also have the right to apply in writing for flexible working at any time. ‘Flexible working’ not only covers remote work, but also part time hours, stretching full-time hours over fewer days, and job sharing.
Employers must make a decision within three months of the request. While they can reject the application, the business reasons for doing so must be practical and clearly explained.
Bear in mind that employers who had previously rejected flexible working requests on the basis that it would affect productivity and performance may now find themselves – not to mention their reputation as an employer – challenged.
Recent research from the CIPD recommends that organisations focus on designing “working practices to suit all locations” as remote working is very much here to stay.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your company’s plans in further detail, please contact our expert team.