Last reviewed 28 July 2021

The Prime Minister may have advised people to begin returning to the workplace (see Emphasis on “personal responsibility” as restrictions ease) but half of employers expect an increase in demand for flexible forms of working as the country comes out of the pandemic.

This is according to an Acas survey which asked businesses in Great Britain about changes to working practices that they are expecting once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, compared to before the pandemic.

Available at https://www.acas.org.uk/employer-poll-working-practices-after-covid-19-june-2021/html, the survey found that 55% of employers expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely part of the week, while almost as many, 49%, expect an increase in staff working from home or remotely all week.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: “The pandemic has greatly impacted working life and it’s unsurprising that many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during this difficult period. Hybrid working existed before Covid and our survey reveals that more than half of employers in Britain expect this type of flexible working to increase once we come out of the pandemic.”

She highlighted new advice available from Acas on hybrid working (see Acas publishes advice on hybrid working) intended to help employers introduce it and manage requests from staff who wish to split their time between working remotely and in their employer’s workplace.

Acas believes that hybrid working can help businesses attract and retain staff as well as increase staff productivity as the flexibility allows them to balance work and personal responsibilities.

Comment from BrightHR’s CEO Alan Price

The way employers embrace flexibility will depend on how they view it as a benefit to their business. Employers are currently not obligated to accept flexible working requests from eligible employers but are required to consider it.

This recent survey may encourage employers to become more accommodating of flexible working as its popularity grows, in order to remain competitive and retain the best talent.