22 Jan 2024

What Factors Should Be Included in Your Flexible Working Policy?

Embracing flexible working is a hot topic, and for good reason! Not only does it bring stress relief and a better work-life balance, but recent research suggests it can even lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

The perks don’t stop there – flexible working is a team superhero. According to an ACAS study [i], it boosts personal and team effectiveness while dialling down work-related stress.
Picture this: a typical flexible working champ is not just an employee; they’re a productivity powerhouse, super engaged, and less likely to call in sick. 

But here’s the secret – for flexible working to truly transform your business, it needs a bit of TLC, and that’s where a flexible working policy steps in. 

So, let’s look at what you should be including in your policy. 


Ever wondered about a flexible working policy? 

Think of it as a friendly document that sets the vibe for how your business does flexible working. It’s all about giving everyone the lowdown on the types of flexible working patterns you can offer and creating a level playing field with clear info and expectations. 

Flexible working policies are like snowflakes, each unique to its business. What floats your boat might not be the perfect fit for others. 

The key is to make your policy a mirror reflection of how you want your business to look. Quick heads up: with the latest scoop on employees being able to request flexible working from day one and throw in a couple more requests within a year, plus a dash of other legislative updates, it’s time to make your policy the star of the show! 


What do the latest flexible working rules say? 

Starting from April 2024, employees in the UK can legally ask for flexible working right from day one on the job. 

Here’s the scoop for employers: while you still have the right to turn down flexible working requests, it’s all about considering how you can make it happen rather than focusing on why it won’t work. The new flexible working bill nudges employers to explore accommodating these requests rather than automatically dismissing them.


Key Elements to Incorporate in a Policy for Flexible Work Arrangements:


  • Ensure that requesting flexible work is a breeze for your team. 

Centralising relevant documentation is a game-changer, allowing access anytime, anywhere. 

Don’t forget to guide managers through this process, empowering them to share information with their teams and offer support to those interested in flexible working. 


  • A Straightforward Process for Saying Yes or No 

Sometimes, you might come across flexible working requests that, for business reasons, can’t be given the green light. 

To keep things smooth, make sure your flexible working policy has a clear procedure for saying no, including the reasons that might lead to a rejection. 

Being upfront about this helps steer clear of any hard feelings, grudges, or low spirits. Stay in the loop with the latest on rejecting flexible working requests – ACAS has some handy tips for employers on handling these situations. 


In the quest for a more fantastic workplace culture, let’s find a solution that’s a win-win for both the business and your awesome team. 

Be specific about which roles are up for grabs in the flexible working game (and which ones aren’t). Consider how flexible working might groove with the nature of each role, impacting the team dynamic and keeping customers smiling. A word of advice, though: putting the kibosh on flexible working for some roles might create a vibe of not-so-happy campers. 

And watch out – it could throw a wrench into talent mobility and mess with your employer PR, neither of which gives a high-five to your long-term success. Plus, if flexible working is limited to certain roles, it could throw shade on your gender pay gap, leaving you with an uneven team and maybe some raised eyebrows from outside observers. 


  • The Flexible Working Options You Embrace 

It’s essential to be transparent about the flexible choices your employees can explore. For instance, your offerings may include: 

  • Compressed Hours 
  • Flexi-Time 
  • Remote Working 
  • Annualised Hours 
  • Overtime 
  • Part-Time Working 
  • Term-Time Working 


  • Your Expectations as a Friendly Employer 

It’s essential to ensure that our fantastic flexible workers are on the same page with the expectations of both you and the broader business. 

With an awesome culture and a great hiring strategy, you can trust that your team is super motivated to tackle flexible work without a laundry list of expectations. However, a little clarity from your end is always helpful. 

For example: 

  • Remote team members must always pick up phone calls during their work hours and give their inbox a friendly check at least twice a day. 


  • Employees working compressed hours simply need to wrap up their tasks to a standard we all happily agree on. 


  • Term time-only employees make sure to wrap up their tasks before setting off for well-deserved school breaks. 


  • Part-time employees keep the team in the loop about their reduced hours through cheery email signatures, instant messenger statuses, and those handy out-of-office notes. 


  • And as their super-supportive employer, remember, let’s not push anyone to burn the midnight oil when they’re supposed to sign off early, and no need to drag them into meetings on their days away from the office.  


  • Rolling Out Friendly Flexible Work Plans 

If your business is stepping into the world of flexible working, why not consider adding a trial period to your policy? This will give the employee, their manager, and the entire team the chance to dip their toes into the new flexible groove and get comfy with the changes. 

Once the trial run is over, you can chat about how we’ll tweak the employment contract. Are we making this awesome change permanent, or shall we catch up annually for a friendly review? 


In conclusion, the key to a robust and effective flexible working policy lies in thoughtful consideration of various factors. By encompassing elements such as clear communication, diverse flexible options, transparent expectations, and a supportive implementation strategy, you pave the way for a work environment that values flexibility, employee well-being, and overall success.  

Embracing the unique needs of your workforce and staying adaptable to evolving trends in the workplace ensures that your flexible working policy becomes a catalyst for a positive and thriving work culture. Remember, a well-crafted policy not only meets the needs of today’s workforce but also sets the stage for a dynamic and resilient workplace of the future. 

If you are considering a flexible working policy and putting one in place, did you know Activ People HR offer a secure storage solution that enables you to store sensitive information such as policies and procedures, allowing you to choose who views specific documents.  

If you are interested in finding out how we can help you, get in touch with us today! 



[i] – ACAS (2015). Flexible working and work-life balance. Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-03/flexible-working-and-work-life-balance-guide.pdf