Is the nature of flexible working being altered by Covid-19?

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Prior to Covid-19, organisations that had adopted flexible working, tended to have agreements between staff and management that had the same general rules, within which, everyone worked. Flexible working in those days, meant that staff were bound by a set of established guidelines. These covered such arrangements as flexitime, job sharing, annual hours, while home working was happening only for a minority of staff.  

Flexible working

So, there was always a sense of a constant flow to the notion of flexible working 

In more recent times, due to several factors, flexible working arrangements have become more fragmented.  So instead of their being agreed on an organisation-wide basis, individualised requests from staff are becoming a driving force. 


Such requests are focused on trying to match the specific employee’s work:life challenges.  

A fear for employers is that by not going with the trend, it could cause failure to attract staff – or even lose them by their being driven to more “flexibly oriented” organisations.   For some organisations, another worrying “sub-trend”, is showing that staff with critical skills are discovering that the flexibility which they crave, can more easily become available, through their working for themselves.  

So, with new and more ad-hoc arrangements being agreed, fresh concerns about how to manage such scenarios are arising for Managers on the ground.  

To add to this mix, Covid-19 arrived. This furthermore brought with it the enforcement of home working by governments. Many now agree that this will become a longer-term workplace phenomenon, to one degree or another. 

Therefore, the modern-day boss or colleague might be forgiven for wondering, who is actually going to be working today and where?   

Maybe “John” is on paternal leave, hot desking, working from home, or may arrive in later on flexitime. Perhaps for “Susan” it’s a job share day and, if so, which share of the job is she working or not working this morning?    

Having felt the impact which these pressures can bring, added to outfall from Covid-19, organisations will want to know how best to deal with them. Therefore, in upcoming blogs, I will outline the following: – 

  • How our VisionTime system can support your organisation’s flexible working arrangements in the post Covid-19 environment
  • The importance of ensuring fairness in your flexible working arrangements and how to achieve it  

Ciaran Rowsome