Flexible working legislation proposals are a “nudge in the right direction”

Bayes Professor believes proposed changes to the law on requesting flexible working will benefit both companies and employees.

The Government’s plan to pass law allowing employees to request flexible working with managers from their first day in a job is a positive move, according to Professor Keith Cuthbertson, Professor of Finance at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass).

Workers are currently permitted to make such a request after they have been in a role for six months, but the new legislation would allow them to make flexible arrangements from the start of their contract of employment. The plans have received a mixed reception from bosses, with some claiming it could lower productivity, but Professor Cuthbertson disagrees with this sentiment.

“Government proposals to legislate on flexible working potentially being available from day one is a nudge in the right direction,” he said.

“While it is true that a small proportion of people, whether at the office or working from home, have opportunities for ‘shirking’, a good manager should be able to effectively identify and deal with this accordingly. Shirkers don’t get promoted.

“It is not too difficult to monitor working from home when you have emails and platforms like Teams and Zoom where managers can contact you at any time. Good managers also know that output matters more than input.

“Competitive forces in recruitment and cutting office costs imply that enlightened employers and productive workers can meet in the middle by agreeing on some hybrid working at the time of the job offer.

“There is also a lot of survey evidence from both before and during the pandemic, and case studies from employers and workers, suggesting productivity and work-life balance improves when working from home.

“Flexible working is one of the few ‘win-win’ policies currently around and as such, workers should be given every opportunity to agree a plan with their managers that works for their own needs.”

All quotes can be attributed to Professor Keith Cuthbertson, Professor of Finance at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass).

On Monday 6th September, the Business School (formerly Cass) became Bayes Business School. Read more about the reasons behind the name change and the actions being taken to improve inclusion and diversity and widen participation.

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