Flexible working countdown: 3 – What are the possible outcomes of a request?

We continue to take a look at the new rules and important changes to the procedure for dealing with flexible working applications by considering what the possible outcomes of a request might be.

The possible results of a flexible working request, in short, are that the employer might agree to the request in whole, in part, or might reject it completely.

An example would be where an employee, who works in London and lives in Bristol, submits a request to work from home for two of the five days a week that he is employed to work. He travels to work by train, which is expensive and tiring and reduces the time that he can spend with his family. The employer does not object to staff working from home in principle, but it is concerned that the employee is a newly qualified solicitor and will not get the same level of support working from home as he would in the office. This could compromise the quality of the service that the employer provides to its clients. In addition, it is concerned that the employee will be carrying large volumes of documents to and from his home, and some of the paperwork contains confidential and sensitive information about its clients. If the employee lost the documents or left them on the train there would be serious consequences for the business and its reputation.

The employer rejects the employee’s application to work from home for two days a week on the basis that this may have an impact on the quality of the service as well as the performance of the business. However, as a compromise, it agrees to allow the employee to work from home one day a week for a trial period of six months. The employer will review the employee’s progress at the end of the six months and, if there are no issues, it will agree to this arrangement on a permanent basis.

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