The dark side of working from home

Posted by Ed 28 days ago
Dolly Parton’s hit about the ordeal of ‘working nine to five’ is due a rewrite. In our age of Covid we seem to be moving inexorably towards a world of ‘flexible working’.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has just launched a consultation on the rules over flexible working. At present, you have to have been employed somewhere for 26 weeks before you have the right to request flexible-working arrangements. And you can only make one request every 12 months.
The consultation is exploring whether to liberalise these rules. The clamour for more flexible working comes from all quarters – from business associations and trade unions alike. For instance, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) launched its ‘Flex from First’ campaign in February. Meanwhile, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, argues that flexible working ‘helps working people balance work with their other responsibilities’.
Flexible working can mean a number of things – from part-time work to flexible start and finish times. But more often than not, especially since the pandemic, flexible working simply means working from home. Many employees had their first taste of this during the lockdown. A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in July found that 85 per cent of adults working from home wanted their employers to permanently adopt a hybrid approach – meaning that they could work remotely for at least some of the time. 

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