Flexible working could spell the end of the office

Flexible working could spell the end of the office

The popularity of flexible working has increased dramatically over recent months, with a number of employers coming round to the various advantages that come with such practices.

Indeed a report released by Garter earlier this year found that an increasing number of employees across the UK are starting

Those that stubbornly decided to swim against the tide of this new trend were given a setback on June 30th when the UK government gave workers a legal right to ask for the opportunity to do their jobs on a flexible basis.

Resistance was futile and unnecessary, however, with the policy being formed with the input of businesses across the country, meaning that firms could have their own say on flexible working practices, as well as any concerns they may have.

Under the new pieces of legislation, organisations will now have to consider requests from staff in "a reasonable manner", with the government recommending the listing of pros and cons of each request, while also having a formal meeting to discuss the proposal with workers.

There should also be an appeals process offered to employees if such a request is turned down.

In certain cases the allowance of flexible working will be impossible to offer to those working in in hospitals or retail, but other workforces are beginning to see a number of substantial changes, with some stating there could soon be a greatly reduced need for companies to depend on the traditional office environment.

Clive Longbottom, an analyst with Quocirca said: “We are currently witnessing the rise of the ‘business consumer’ – an employee for whom business activities are one part of a wider lifestyle.

"Business consumers often make more consumer-like choices in their workplace computing tools and styles to increase efficiency."

As well as employees increasingly using their own devices within the workplace, there has also been a rise in the number of home workers, mainly due to the fact that connectivity has increased levels never previously recorded, with superfast mobile broadband having a key role.

That has already led to a number of organisations reducing their office space, with Wokingham Borough Council recently moving to a desk-to-people ratio of 2:1 as part of an ongoing initiative to save costs and space.

If the trend towards flexible working continues, it could one day see the end of the office as we know it altogether.