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Why are flexible work arrangements becoming a movement?

Working from home concept.

All workers in the U.K. (not just parents and caregivers) have the right to request flexible work arrangements including start and end times or working from home as examples. This came into effect June 30, 2014. Once a worker has been with an employer for 26 weeks or more the employee has the right to make a statutory application that the employer must deal with in a reasonable manner.1

Why this change in policy? In a research study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2008 and the results published in 2010 they conclude that flexible work arrangements (including work from home) can:

      • Attract talent
      • Increase diversity
      • Increase job satisfaction
      • Increase loyalty
      • Increase social responsibility
      • Increase productivity
      • Reduce absenteeism
      • Reduce stress in the workplace
      • Retain talent. 2


These key findings are echoed in the news reports surrounding the U.K. policy decision. A quick summary of these include:

      • Balancing job and home
      • Keeping people in long-term employment
      • Retaining staff
      • Meeting the needs of older workers who want to work differently
      • Meeting the needs of younger workers who want to pursue training
      • Boosting productivity and morale
      • To bring the work policies up to date with the needs and choices of modern families
      • A modern approach to work that can improve the lives of everyone. 3


I recognize the truth in both of these lists, however it wasn’t until I came to this quote that I truly came to understand what is at the heart of this transition.

“Time is indeed the new currency,” remarked Jill Evans-Silman, of Meador Staffing Services. “The demands on each of the generations represented in today’s workforce are such that we are all in need of time we didn’t have before. Organizations that recognize the value of using flexible work arrangements to give back time to their employees—on a schedule that benefits both the employee and the employer—will be the organizations to win in the new economy.” 4

Time, we have a limited amount of it. Over the past several years we have been challenged within our companies to ‘do more with less’, ‘find inefficiencies’ and ‘increase productivity’. Those same minds that found those inefficiencies and increased productivity within an economy of cut backs are now turning those mantras onto to their own lives. The answers they find go something like this:

Do more…by allowing me to spend less time in the office. Find inefficiencies…free me from a two hour daily commute and watch my efficiency increase. Increase productivity…give me the time I need to care for my family or myself and I will be better able to focus, increasing my productivity.

The U.K. is not the only country with a flexible work policy. Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands all have flexible work policies.5 Perhaps like the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th century, starting in Britain and moving to Belgium, France, Germany, then beyond, these countries are providing leadership in the humanization of work movement. I for one, certainly hope so.

Anne-Marie Rolfe
Work from Home Champion

Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home Project. It’s not all scams! We’ve done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients.



2 Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century, Society for Human Resource Management (2010):  /

4 Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century, Society for Human Resource Management (2010), p. 27.

5 Flexible working policies: a comparative review, Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2009




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Anne-Marie Rolfe is a Work from Home Champion in Stratford, PEI and fully committed to researching, investigating and validating legitimate opportunities to work from home. She regularly blogs about legitimate opportunities to work from home or related topics.

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