At the beginning of 2020, if we could have jumped in the DeLorean, got it to 88mph (on a private road, of course) and time travelled to the future, I still doubt anyone could have predicated the future in terms of what lay ahead. Even the imaginative minds behind the film Back To The Future would have struggled with 2020!
Whether your over-riding memory of 2020 is the scarcity of dried pasta and toilet rolls or words and phrases such as social distancing, Zoom, pivot, furlough and shielding coming into everyday use, it has been a tumultuous year.
What has surprised most people is how quickly people and businesses have changed and adapted. Home working was, let’s face it, often seen as ‘skiving off’ by many (and deep down, frowned-upon) apart from which, many businesses simply weren’t set up for it.
Tales of companies implementing systems to move entire teams from an office environment to home working in less than a week became commonplace; as did the various changes made to working patterns and arrangements.
While organisations are still grappling with the challenges home working undoubtedly brings with it, for many there are some major positives, not least the ability to attract a wider talent pool for key roles. Typically, the geographical base for a role limited the candidate pool to those who lived locally and/or were prepared to undertake the daily commute. These geographical limitations have dramatically reduced in the last six to nine months where some degree of home working is possible.
Similarly, organisations have increasingly recognised the benefits of allowing greater flexibility over when the job is done. Initially, this flexibility largely came about as a direct response to employees juggling their role with home-schooling or other care responsibilities imposed on them by the lockdown. Anecdotally, without allowing that flexibility, some organisations could not have continued functioning through the lockdown.
The benefits to organisations in offering flexible working (such as place of work and hours) have been long advocated and some companies have publically reported that offering flexible working arrangements has significantly increased interest in roles from previously untapped talent.
Given the proven benefits, it’s anticipated that the new normal way of work will retain some, if not all, of these flexible ways of working. When identifying which flexible ways of working are right for your organisation, there are a few important factors to bear in mind. For those organisations allowing home working, a key factor is the GDPR. It is worth checking privacy notices are up to date and that employees are aware of their obligations – home working policies can be an extremely useful tool in this latter regard. The ICO website also contains helpful guidance on other data protection considerations for those working from home.
With this in mind, organisations will hopefully take flexible working arrangements to the next level and, in doing so, derive higher levels of morale, loyalty and ultimately productivity… and, as an added benefit of home working, no one has to worry about the flux capacitor in the DeLorean!
Contact Jennie Jahina at Wilson Browne Solicitors on 0800 088 6004 or visit Wilson Browne