Your business is returning but things have changed and you are faced with some tough questions!

How do I ensure my business is strong for the future?

What if my employees want to make changes to how they work for me?


How might your business change in the future?
Lockdown has meant that businesses have suffered financial and organisational disruption, despite returning to normal will you have to (or may want to) make permanent changes.

Remote working, will it become permanent? Is it beneficial that your employees work from home permanently or maybe you operate a hybrid working arrangement. The past year has shown that it can work for some businesses without a loss of productivity. If you are looking to make these changes permanent then correct procedures need to be followed, as well as contracts and maybe Company policies changed too.

Will work patterns need to change? Under Flexible Furlough then some people may have already returned on a part-time basis. The current Government support scheme is already being tapered off and will end on 3oth September. If you are looking to make permanent changes then demonstrating a robust business need and consultation is essential, plus if accepted, the appropriate changes to an employee’s contract. If it’s not accepted, then is this a redundancy situation?

Redundancy? Sadly some businesses have changed for the worse and permanently meaning that employees may not have a job to return to or the number of employees may have to be reduced. Redundancy procedures still need to be followed in order to ensure a fair and safe outcome, this means having good reason, consultation, and not forgetting possible retraining so that an employee can perform another role within the business.

All these changes need to be managed correctly, procedure and good communication will make for a better and safe outcome.
Getting it wrong can be very costly and professional intervention later on may mean starting the process again, so take advice from the outset it’ll save you time and money!


Most employers will have encountered a Flexible Working Request perhaps without even realising it.

Who can apply & how do they do it?

  • An employee must have been employed for at least 28 weeks; some employers may choose to permit an application even though they are not obliged to do so by law.
  • Previous requests, the law says only one request can be made every 12 months.
  • The employee should do so in writing and give their reason and how it may impact. Employers should be aware that some requests may be covered by Equality laws, for example, requiring the employer to exercise “reasonable adjustment”.

What must you do? Like most things within HR, procedure is critical. The process will therefore involve.

  • Arrange meetings, understand the reasons for the request.
  • Best practice says (but not the law) allow the employee to be accompanied.
  • Consider the application and impact that it will make.
  • Allow time for an appeal as the whole process should be completed within 3 months.
  • If you say “yes”, then maybe give it a trial before both parties commit to it becoming a permanent change.
  • If you say “no”, then there are only a few specific financial and operational reasons.

Lockdown has been a game-changer! The reasons that an employer may have previously given for rejecting a request based upon operational reasons have been depleted. The past year has proven that it some cases working from home does work so beware.

Ask us for help. We have dealt with these situations many times and will help you find a solution that works well for both the business and the employee.

For help on this or any HR, Management Training or Health & Safety contact us for a free initial consultation.
0330 333 4997

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