The government is to propose that employees can have the right to request flexible working from the moment they start a job in a consultation that is widely presumed to be published this week, according to news reports.
Earlier this year the government did confirm to Facilitate that a public consultation was to be launched on how the flexible approach to office life could be extended so that workers can maintain their current working patterns.
News reports suggest that this consultation will be published on Thursday.
A government spokesperson told Facilitate: “As is set out in the 2019 manifesto, the government is committed to consulting on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to – boosting business productivity and helping even more workers to join the labour market.
“Our proposals will be published shortly.”
The review is being led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO at Freespace, a workplace technology solution that anonymously captures space usage in offices worldwide, said: “We can credit the UK government for being among the fastest to respond to the homeworking revolution, but they remain far behind where the private sector has already evolved to. Most businesses have recognised that partial home working is here to stay. Companies we have spoken to have made structural changes to contracts resulting in over 25 per cent of their staff permanently working from home. The rest fall into a broad spectrum of two to five days working from the office.
"Businesses are well into trialling new designs for the office by creating “Living Labs” around the world that show the effectiveness of designs to accommodate new patterns of work. Results from such evaluations are driving changes in policies which, in turn, will drive recruitment strategies for the new world of distributed working. Tools that assist with collaboration, planning, efficiency, safety, privacy and hygiene will be imperative in enabling these changes. Businesses and governments that recognise and adopt the benefits of new ways of working and the tools to assist it will drive strategic differentiation of their workforce from the ones that do not adapt to this seismic shift.”