The government’s Flexible Working Taskforce has reconvened for the first time since 2019 to produce advice for employers on hybrid working.
The government told Facilitate that the task force is urging permanent flexibility for all workers. The task force will have two main areas of focus: understanding and supporting the change to ‘hybrid’ and other ways of working which are emerging as a result of the pandemic; and, in the longer term, understanding whether there is more that can be done to promote ad hoc or “non-contractual” flexible working.
The task force has also been asked to produce advice for employers on hybrid and other ways of working within the next six months, which will aim to support businesses in navigating the challenges, issues, and opportunities for these new ways of working.
Labour markets minister Paul Scully said: “The pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the world of work, and brought the need for flexibility in the workplace into sharp relief. Companies have had to adapt as they go, but if we can learn from this experience, we’ll be sure to build back better.
“Flexible working has significant benefits for a wide range of people – such as someone with caring responsibilities – and can bring numerous benefits to employers, such as increased productivity and motivation.
“I have reconvened this group to help shape our thinking as we develop the detail of new policies and navigate future ways of working, such as hybrid working between the workplace and home.
“Bringing together a range of experience and expertise, the Flexible Working Taskforce will provide invaluable advice as we work towards our commitment to make flexible working the default unless employers have a good reason not to.”
In 2019 the government committed to “encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to”. The consultation will happen in due course.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, said: “The task force will also be encouraging employers to take a broader view of flexible working beyond simply home and hybrid working. We want to see an increase in the use of flexible hours working arrangements, such as flexi-time, compressed hours and job sharing, so that those who can’t work from home can also benefit."
TUC Senior Equality Officer Sue Coe said: “Many struggle to balance their work and home lives. We need to change the law so that people can work flexibly – regardless of what type of contract they are on.
“Allowing people more flexibility in how and when they do their work makes them happier and more productive.”
The task force consists of various government departments, charities and trade bodies.
The news comes after recent reports that civil servants are also engaging in an internal government flexible working initiative.