Acas has issued hybrid working advice for employers after a survey found half of employers in Great Britain expect an increase in demand for flexible working, post-pandemic.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about anticipated changes to working practices.

The poll found over half of employers (55 per cent) expected an increase in home-based or remote working for part of the week and just under half (49 per cent) expected an increase in staff working from home or remotely for the whole week.

Acas has published its hybrid working advice to help employers prepare for the change and manage requests from staff who wish to adopt a hybrid working model.

Acas chief executive, Susan Clews, said: “The pandemic has greatly impacted working life and it’s unsurprising that many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this difficult period.

“Hybrid working existed before covid-19 and our survey reveals that more than half of employers in Britain expect this type of flexible working to increase once we come out of the pandemic.

“Our new advice can help employers look at the potential benefits of hybrid working, consider whether it is suitable for their workplace, and fairly manage any staff requests.”

Acas advise hybrid models can help businesses attract and retain staff, as well as increase staff productivity as the flexibility. Employees benefit from a greater sense of work life balance and save on travel costs.

Key Acas advice for employers includes:

·       consult widely about the introduction of hybrid working and discuss practical considerations such as regular communication, technology, performance management and health and safety;

·       consider the creation of a company hybrid working policy, which could look at which roles are eligible, how someone can request it and any principles such as allowing remote working for a maximum number of days a week;

·       ensure staff who work remotely are not excluded and have access to the same opportunities as those in the workplace, such as team building activities, training and development;  

·       decisions around hybrid working must be fair and transparent. If the request is denied, other forms of flexible working should be discussed with employees as an alternative;

·       training for line managers and staff may be beneficial;

·       consider offering a trial period to see if it works and if any further adjustments to arrangements are needed.

There has been focus in recent weeks on compliance issues for law firms with home workers. Firms have been encouraged to ensure policies are up to date and that compliance measures taken for office workers extend to those working from home.

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