A new survey from Acas has found that more than one-quarter (26%) employers in Yorkshire and the Humber have seen an increase in staff working from home in the last 12 months.

Nearly one in five bosses (18%) have also reported a reduction in physical workspace as the reason behind implementing home working over the year.
Home working is a type of flexible working. All employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more currently have the right to ask if they can work flexibly. New changes to the law in April will make this right apply from the first day of employment.

Acas has published a new draft Code of Practice on requests for flexible working to provide guidance and help everyone understand the changes.
Acas Head of Inclusive Workplaces Julie Dennis said:

“It is clear from our findings that interest for some new homeworking arrangements among staff and businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber has continued after the pandemic.

“Flexible working such as home or hybrid working can allow employers to reduce costs and attract talent. It can also help employees better balance their working lives.

“I would urge bosses in Yorkshire and the Humber to have a read of our new draft Code, which encourages a positive approach to flexible working and covers the new law changes.”

Acas advice is that a business’s flexible working policy should explain how someone can request a different way of working, how requests will be assessed and how decisions will be made. These decisions should be fair and transparent.

Home or hybrid working are some examples of the wide array of flexible working arrangements that can work for many businesses and working people. Other types of flexible working can include working part-time, job-sharing, working hours over fewer days or compressed hours or changing start and finish times.

Acas's draft statutory Code of Practice on requests for flexible working includes information on:

  • who should be allowed to accompany an employee at meetings to discuss a flexible working request
  • the need for transparency about reasons for rejecting a request
  • making it clear that employers should proactively offer an appeal where a request has been rejected.

The draft Code can be seen at: https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests/2024

The updated Code was drafted following a public consultation by Acas in 2023 and is currently awaiting parliamentary approval.

Acas is running a special digital conference on the 16 April 2024 that will see leading UK workplace experts explore the law and Acas’s Code of Practice on requests for flexible working.