The 4-day working week, flexible working and remote working have been hot topics of discussion ever since the pandemic. The adaptability of businesses and the way they can work has definitely been tested, so what does the future look like for office working?
Government Proposes Flexible Working from Day One
Not only have businesses had to adapt to flexible working since lockdowns, but employees have had to as well. In fact, some of those that had never tried working from home saw benefits from it and therefore, swayed towards this way of working even out of the pandemic.
So much so, in December 2022, to government proposed that employees will now be given the right to ask for flexible working from day one of their new employment. This will be instead of the 26-week wait as set out under current law.
Flexible working includes working from home, job-sharing, flexitime and staggered hours and if this request cannot be accommodated, alternative options must be discussed before rejection. Metro Bank store colleagues can now enjoy a three day break thanks for the introduction of a new optional shift pattern. Once adhering to a traditional five day shift pattern, existing and new colleagues will have the choice between either the existing five day or the new four day working week. Regardless of the shift pattern chosen, all store colleagues will work the same hours depending on whether they are full of part time.
“We are famous for our culture and the focus we bring on recruiting the right people for our business and we believe this new shift pattern will be very appealing for those who need more flexibility in their working life,” explains Carol Frost, Chief People Officer, Metro Bank. “We trialled the new shift pattern in nine stores last year and it works really well for colleagues who need more flexibility in their working week. The new shift pattern is totally optional and nearly two thirds[i] our existing store colleagues will move to this new four day week from February.”
Is the Office Working Week Obsolete?
The popularity of flexible working doesn’t necessarily mean that office working is dead. There are still options out there that give employees the flexibility to combine both working from home and coming into the office. This is the adaptability that individuals seem to look for with both current employment and potential new employment.
In a recent study conducted by Placemake.io and Visitor Insights, they found that a typical week in the office runs from Tuesday to Thursday nowadays. Looking at mobile phone activity from more than 500 UK high streets between 2019 – 2022, activity increased in suburban, small and seaside towns. This links to the trend of working from home, with more people not travelling to go to work and spending their lunch breaks on the high street.
The most important takeaway from these different working options resulting from the pandemic is the ability for businesses to be flexible and adaptable to their employees’ needs. Whether it’s a potential new team member or your existing staff, it’s vital to listen to their requirements and what works for them as well as you.
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