Can you still say no to a flexible working request?

Now that employees will soon be able to ask for flexible working from day one, managers can expect a flurry of requests. But in our post-Covid world is it even possible to say ‘no’ now?

by Peter Crush
Image credit: Elf-Moondance from Pixabay
Image credit: Elf-Moondance from Pixabay

Flexible working might well be the perk of choice for most staff, but – if truth be told – it hasn’t always been greeted with such enthusiasm from managers. 

As recently as 2019, one in three requests were actually turned down; and often it wasn’t that difficult to do. Employers merely had to choose from a list of sanctioned reasons – including that it created additional cost, had a detrimental impact on ability to meet customer demand, was difficult to square with other staff or that it had a detrimental impact on quality or performance.

But with Covid-19 having seen 86% of people work from home at some point during the past 18 months, the government is of the view flexibility should be the new norm and it wants any employee to be able to request it from day one. Which rather begs the question of whether employees now have any legs to stand on if they still want to say no?

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