Flexible working

What is flexible working and what are its benefits?

COVID-19 has significantly changed how businesses function, with many organisations now enabling flexible working. Flexible Working is a broad term encompassing both:

  • Changes in the nature of employment – moves towards greater variety and flexibility in work patterns
  • Changes in technology – enabling work to be carried out in a different way

Find out how "The pandemic may forever change the way we work and conduct business" in this video from Inside Story.

How employers benefit from flexible working

Do you have a flexible working policy or statement?

Advice for employees

Video conferencing hints and tips

Employee health and safety

Information sources

How employers benefit from flexible working

  • Less time is wasted commuting
  • Staff are more productive
  • Staff are happier
  • You don’t pay for office space
  • You don’t pay for office supplies
  • You don’t pay for drinks and snacks
  • Video conferencing allows staff to stay in touch
  • Fewer unnecessary meetings
  • Recruit the best staff, no matter where they live
  • High staff retention based on happy, trusted workers
  • A trusted, happy, valued workforce is good PR
  • Using task management tools helps focus work
  • Employees are less likely to take sick leave
  • Employees will work longer hours from home

Do you have a flexible working policy or statement?

  • 65% of employees think they would be more productive at home than in the office
  • 57% of employers with remote staff do not have a policy in place

A lack of clear guidance for staff can cause confusion and will affect work delivery.

What your flexible working policy should include:

  • Clearly outline your expectations for every employee.
  • Make sure every member of staff understands the individual, team and managers’ responsibilities.
  • What does the organisation hope to achieve by offering staff the opportunity to work from home?
  • Outline which roles within the organisation are eligible for remote working.
  • Outline the working from home request process.
  • Explain the approval process when staff put forward a work from home request.
  • Outline a process for managers and staff to discuss possible barriers which may affect an employee’s ability to work from home.
  • List acceptable reasons for staff to work from home.
  • State whether employees are expected to be online during a specific time period.
  • Outline what specific IT specifications (software, internet speed, personal computer) may be required for staff to carry out their duties.
  • Provide a step-by-step process that employees should follow if they need IT support.
  • Clearly outline security expectations for employees in relation to IT security and safe WiFi access, data management (e.g. GDPR).
  • Determine how you will track employee productivity.
  • How will managers review an employee's work and set further tasks (e.g. online/phone one-to-ones)?

 Steps for setting up flexible working arrangements

  1. Set clear communication expectations between managers and their staff.
  2. Provide guidance for staff to use instant messaging tools such as Slack and Google Hangouts.
  3. Provide guidance on how to use face-to-face online tools such as Skype, Zoom, Teams.
  4. Use a task management platform to keep track of assignments and monitor productivity.
  5. Clearly explain the rules and expectations to all members of staff.

Advice for employees 

How employees benefit from flexible working

  • Improved work-life balance
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced long hours
  • Avoiding delays on the commute to work
  • Saving money on travel/snacks & lunches
  • Reducing personal carbon footprint
  • Fewer distractions from colleagues
  • Focused tasks during the working day
  • Video conferencing helps focus your input
  • A working environment that suits your needs

​Top tips for flexible working

  1. Get started early: Use the time you would otherwise spend commuting wisely.
  2. Business as usual: Set your alarm, make a drink, have breakfast, wear nice clothes.
  3. Structure your day: Have a to-do list, plan breaks in your day away from your PC, take a walk etc.
  4. Create a dedicated workspace: Organise your workspace to help you have the right mind set for work.
  5. Avoid temptation: Put in place strategies to avoid social media messages popping up on your PC/phone during work time.
  6. Work when you’re at your most productive: Organise your daily schedule to suit how you work best.
  7. Saves your calls for the afternoon: If you're not at your best in the morning, plan phone calls for later in the day.
  8. Share your work expectations at home: Make sure siblings, partners, spouses etc. respect your work space during working hours.
  9. Take breaks, have a KitKat (or any other snack bar): Having regular breaks helps physical and mental wellbeing.
  10. Keep your work and home life separate: Set a finishing time each day and stick to it. 

Working from Home: How to Set Up Your Workspace


Top 10 Work from Home Productivity Tips (and How to Not Go Crazy!)


Video conferencing hints and tips

Video conference tools 

Zoom has a free plan which limits your meeting to 40 minutes, and a paid one. The paid version allows unlimited users, unlimited meetings and includes advanced features such as 'active speaker view', 'dual stream' for dual screens, and 'full-screen views.


Google Hangouts can be free to use. This platform allows users to receive and send instant messages and receive and send SMS messages as well as video calls. Google Hangouts also hosts VoIP calls.


Skype for Business requires a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscription so may not be a good option for smaller teams looking to upgrade their service to a paid option. Skype for Business allows users to host video and audio conferences for up to 25 participants, it can also support desktop OS, Android, and iOS phone apps to allow on-the-go conferencing.


Microsoft Teams, also referred to as simply Teams, is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the Microsoft 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is a competitor to services such as Slack.


Note: Many other video conferencing platforms are available. These are just the ones most commonly used by local businesses.

Video conferencing etiquette


Employee health & safety

As an employer, you have a responsibility to protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risks from display screen work: 

  • breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 mins every hour) or changes in activity
  • avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
  • getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
  • avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time

When working from home on a regular basis, employers must:

  • Do a DSE workstation assessment
  • Reduce risks, including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work or do something different
  • Provide an eye test if workers ask for one
  • Provide training and information for workers

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to painful necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious.

Advice provided by the ‘Health and Safety Executive’

The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors has published this  infographic to help people working at home.

Information sources

Smarter Working Guide by Transport for London

The complete guide to Flexible Working by Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd

ACAS Homeworking guide

Implementing Working from Home the business case

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Flexible Working practices Factsheet

Top tips for working remotely

Top tips for Managing teams remotely

Top tips for healthy remote working

Top tips for effective online meetings

Legal and contractual considerations

Further resources on remote working

Flexible working policy

Sample flexible working policy by ACAS

Code of Practice on flexible working requests by ACAS

Example ‘Flexible Working Policy and Procedure’ by University of Manchester

To find out how the My Journey Workplaces team can help your business implement positive, active Working from Home measures email: workplaces@myjourneyhampshire.com


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