Could flex save our workforce?

Employment Law specialist Jennifer Wright shares expert advice of how important a place flexible working has in Scotland's economic recovery:

2020 has been responsible for hurling virtually all of us in a ‘new normal’ in terms of how and where we work. As we start to look forward and the support from Government starts to diminish, it is important that businesses think about how flexible working can help them weather the current storm.

Can the tools of flexible working help your business avoid redundancies? We have seen the recent joint statement from ACAS, the TUC and CBI which has called upon businesses to think about redundancy alternatives such a part time work for affected staff. In addition, millions of us have been working from home effectively since March and therefore is permanent or semi-permanent home working something for business to consider in order to save cost and as a consequence save jobs?

If redundancies are inevitable as they will sadly be for many businesses, can flexible working help you keep your remaining workforce efficient and engaged? It will be likely that where Covid-19 related redundancies have had to take place, money will be tight and businesses will have less in the pot to pay by way of salary reviews and bonuses. Could a meaningful consideration of flexible working for your workers and a recalibration of standard working arrangements be used by employers to incentivise staff when cash may be tight?

And for those business unaffected by redundancy but who have had employees grafting away throughout lockdown, could flexible working be used to help staff better manage their personal reserves, achieve a better work-life balance and avoid burnout?

As we strive to encourage employees and employers alike to think of flexible working as something other than the prerogative of working parents, do we have an opportunity now to use the tools of flexible working to help our workforces through current challenges and out the other end in better shape? I say the answer to this and all of the above is yes.

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