With 54% of employees working flexibly in some way last year, more employers are under increasing pressure to adopt agile working practices. Research has shown that it can lead to an increase in employees’ productivity, improved morale and a better work-life balance. However, this is not always the case for all employees and there are a number of practical and legal considerations to bear in mind before you roll out agile working.
We set out our top tips below:
- Consider business processes and requirements before introducing a policy
- There needs to be sufficient buy-in particularly from senior management to encourage staff to take advantage of agile working.
- Think about eligibility criteria for agile workers. It may not be appropriate for support and administrative staff i.e. receptionists, PAs.
- Consider how your business will operate once you have gone agile i.e. how will you manage office communications, training, team and client meetings.
- Consider implementing a trial period to gain employee feedback on the policy and test whether the approach is right for your business.
- Ensure you have adequate technology in place to support what you are trying to achieve.
- Have a well drafted policy which outlines the key principles and how the arrangement will work in practice
- Be objective and clear on the circumstances permitting agile working with examples.
- Include a detailed procedure for agile working requests i.e. how should it be submitted, who is responsible for approving the requests, how far in advance should it be submitted.
- Outline your expectations for those working remotely.
- Consider whether other policies need updating in light of employees working on an agile basis such as confidentiality, IT & communications, health and safety.
- Be careful when approving / rejecting agile working requests
- Whilst you do not have to offer agile working to all staff, you should be wary of accepting requests solely based on factors such as childcare responsibilities, seniority and living circumstances. This can lead to allegations of direct or indirect discrimination.
- Implement a standardised approach to agile working. Avoid inconsistencies between different managers, teams or departments.
- Remember your data protection obligations
- Implement additional training for agile workers on their and the company’s data protection obligations.
- Conduct a data privacy impact assessment.
- Take appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure compliance.
- Consider health and safety issues
- Conduct a risk assessment.
- Monitor work, stress levels and ensure agile workers continue to be integrated into the team.
Ultimately agile working will not be for everyone and every business, but it can work successfully in the right circumstances. We are happy to assist you with drafting and implementing an appropriate policy to minimise the legal risks. If you have any tricky agile working queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Please contact a member of the team using the details on the left or your usual Fox Williams contact now.
If you have any questions in relation to this topic, please contact a member of the employment law team at Fox Williams or speak with your usual Fox Williams contact.