Softworks Blog

Updated Blog - France Win New Law 'Right to Disconnect'

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Jan 9, 2017

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This is an update on my blog from February 2016 - France Set to Pass New Law Giving Workers the Right to Ignore Work Emails Outside of Contracted Hours.

France have won the law that employees do have the 'right to disconnect' from work emails outside of typical work hours. From Sunday January 01, 2017, French companies with more than 50 employees will begin drawing up policies with their workers about limiting work-related technology usage outside the office. The reasoning behind this law is that too many people were suffering from work-related stress which can leak into their personal time. The country is trying to tackle the modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email checking. Under the new law, companies will be obliged to negotiate with employees to agree on their rights to switch off and ways they can reduce the intrusion of work into their private lives.

The measure was introduced by Labour Minister, Myriam El Khomri, who commissioned a report submitted in September 2015 which informed about the health impact of "info-obesity" which affects many workplaces.

Some large groups such as Volkswagen and insurer Axa in France have already taken steps to limit out-of-hours messaging to reduce burnout among workers. Actions being put in place include cutting email connections in the evening and weekends. In 2014, the German vehicle-maker Daimler set up an optional service for workers going on holiday; instead of sending an out-of-office reply, they could opt to have all new emails automatically deleted while they were away.

Here in Ireland and the UK, we may not have such a law in place but we can make use of flexible working. It can allow people to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still committing to their careers.

If you would like to learn more about flexible working or any of our other solutions, contact us today!

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

It’s National Flex Day and Family & Work Life Month!

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Tue, Oct 18, 2016


When you think of October, you probably think of falling leaves and Halloween. But did you know that today is National Flex Day? Held the third Tuesday of October, National Flex Day is designed to encourage employers and employees to unite behind the need for more flexibility by sharing how pervasive and powerful it already is.

Today is a great opportunity to reflect on all the ways that flexible working is important and how it can benefit your employees and organisation.

For the first National Flex Day in 2013, The Working Mother Research Institute surveyed more than 1,500 people about flexible work schedules and found that women who are working flexibly were more likely to say:

  • Their opinions count at work
  • They have influence over their work schedules
  • They have better work life balance
  • They are satisfied with their compensation
  • They are happy with the amount of time they spend with their spouses and their kids

Last year, they surveyed men to find out what work schedule flex means to them, and the results showed that most of them have flex (77%) and feel comfortable using it.

Below are some of the many benefits of flexible working:

  • Reduced employee stress
  • Improved employee morale, job satisfaction and productivity
  • Controlled costs
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased customer loyalty and customer satisfaction due to lower staff turnover
  • Higher productivity & happier employees
  • Improved balance of work and family life
  • Remove or reduce overtime
  • Improved staff concentration


Are you aware that October is also National Work and Family Month (NWFM)? It is an education campaign led by the Alliance for work-life progress, to raise awareness among employers about the value of work-life effectiveness as a business imperative.

This campaign is supported by President Obama, who released a statement acknowledging the difficulty of juggling work and family responsibilities. He encourages employers to implement practices such as "telework, paid leave, and alternative work schedules."

This annual celebration is designed to communicate and celebrate the progress towards creating healthier and more flexible work environments. The main goal of the campaign is to remind employers about the benefits of supporting work-life balance and effectiveness programs.

Below are some tips on how to encourage a healthy work-life balance:

  • Make use of flexible working
  • Schedule downtime
  • Get moving - execrise will boost your energy & can it can be fit in easily with flexible working
  • Manage stress - Take up yoga/pilates, eat healthier & relax!
  • Prioritise to avoid burnout
  • Create a schedule & follow it

By taking these tips in to account, we hope you will be able to find a healthy work-life balance in your workplace.

October gives us lots to celebrate with National Flex Day and National Work & Family Month. It is a time to recognise all the organisations who want to make life easier for employees to succeed at work and at home by helping them gain a healthy work-life balance.

If you do not currently offer your employees flexitime, contact us today for a free demo, you’d be amazed at the differences it could make to your employees work, mood and lives!

Feel free to check out the rest of our blogs which cover flexible working and work-life balance.

You can keep up to date with Softworks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

National Work Life Week

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Wed, Oct 5, 2016


Did you know it is National Work Life Week? The week is an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on the importance of work-life balance and general well-being at work. Employees with a healthy work-life balance are more likely to flourish in the workplace, so it’s in employer’s best interests to help them achieve this.

The term ‘work–life balance' refers to a healthy balance between work and other aspects of our lives. Proactive work-life balance measures benefit not only the employees, but also employers. It can help create greater satisfaction with quality of life, lower levels of stress and physical improvements, such as increased energy. A poor balance between an employee’s work commitments and their other responsibilities can lead to stress, high absence and low productivity.

These days finding a suitable balance between work and home can seem almost impossible to achieve which is why we have outlined a few tips to help you put it in place.

  1. Be Flexible

Flexible working is one of the most useful tools in helping workers achieve a healthy work-life balance. More than ever, employees are increasingly concerned about work-life balance and organisations which offer flexi time can often find increased levels of satisfaction among employees. Flexible working can allow employees the ability to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being fully committed to their careers.

Download our free guide – How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

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  1. Set Priorities

There are only so many hours in a day. So ensuring you have enough time after work for personal situations and relaxation, involves organisation and prioritisation of tasks. You can’t go wrong with an old fashioned to-do list. When you have a lot of tasks to do there is no better feeling than crossing some of them off the list! To feel more balanced in life, simply create lists and set your priorities. Put the most important things on the top, such as deadlines in work or important tasks and family time. This will help keep your work and home life balanced.

  1. Schedule Downtime

Taking time for yourself is important to recharge batteries at times. Something as small as going for a walk during your break, reading a book or going to the gym. With flexible working, you could have the opportunity to work out/get a walk in before or during work. This would also free up some time after work to relax or do something for yourself. Getting out of the office during your lunch break can also do wonders by helping you unwind – it could involve going for a walk, watching a movie on your phone or simply reading a book.

  1. Plan Ahead

Being organised is a great way to help improve your work-life balance. A good way to start is by adding reminders to your calendar so you’re aware of upcoming meetings and appointments. This way it will be easier to make plans and time for yourself around these important deadlines. It can also be less stressful if you plan ahead and don't leave tasks until the last minute.

  1. Remember to Unwind

With so much technology and so many ways to stay plugged in to work after hours, it is important to allow our minds a break when we are doing other activities. Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so it is time to use it. This can be easier said than done so it is best to do it in phases:

  • Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table
  • When you are on holidays, be on holidays
  • Don’t bring your phone/tablet to the beach
  • Disable email/notifications on your phone
  • Distract yourself from looking up work emails after hours

Try out these tips so that you can experience less stress and more peace and fulfilment in your life. This is the perfect week to give it a go. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well you will feel!

You can keep up to date with Softworks by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Topics: Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

France Set to Pass New Law Giving Workers the Right to Ignore Work Emails Outside of Contracted Hours

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Thu, Feb 18, 2016

France is expected to pass a new law giving employees the right to ignore work emails outside of their contracted hours to help ease pressure and offer a healthier work-life balance. The “right to disconnect” legislation is being drawn up to protect workers from the risk of burn out, which is seen a growing concern in the age of smartphones and “permanent connectivity”. Workers will be able to disregard phone calls and emails from their bosses during evenings and weekends in an attempt to help them have more of a social life outside of the working week. Companies will have to ensure that their employees come under no pressure to look at work-related emails or documents on their devices. France already operates a strict 35-hour working week policy, with workers also enjoying six weeks paid holiday, as well as extremely generous sick leave.

This new law got Softworks thinking of ways in which all employees can achieve a healthy work-life balance. The term ‘work–life balance refers to a healthy balance between work and other aspects of our lives. Proactive work-life balance measures benefit not only the employees, but also employers. A poor balance between an employee’s work commitments and their other responsibilities can lead to stress, high absence and low productivity.


Try the five tips below to help you out:

  1. Make use of flexible working

Responsibilities and demands on your time that come from outside of your work life can make it unsuitable and undesirable to follow a rigid, conventional working model. This is often the case for parents with young children, but also applies to people in a wide range of other situations. Increasingly, flexible working is being seen as a useful alternative, allowing people to adapt their ways of working to best suit their needs, while still being committed to their careers.

In a recent survey conducted by, almost a quarter of jobseekers in Britain would prioritise flexibility over salary and career opportunities when applying for a new position.

  1. Create a schedule

Simply choose a day of the week to plan for the coming week. Make sure you include down time as well as meetings, work priorities, family and personal activities. Block off time on your calendar also, as this will help maximise your time, prevent meetings from being double booked and therefore decrease stress.

  1. Be efficient with your time at work

When we procrastinate, the tasks often grow in our minds until they seem insoluble. Start off by prioritising your workload and aiming to complete the most urgent and important tasks first. Aim to complete all tasks before the due date so there can be time to check for errors and solve any mistakes, if found. This will help reduce the level of stress in the workplace. Make sure you complete the first task or project before moving on to the next. You could give yourself a little reward upon completion of each large project, whether it is a five minute break or a walk to the nearby coffee shop. This will help motivate you to move on to the next job. The less time you spend procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends and family.

  1. Make time for yourself

If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, clear off a small block of time on your schedule to truly disconnect. Whether is it talking a walk during your break or going to the gym after work – try and set aside at least an hour a week to do something for yourself. It is also important to try and fit in some exercise weekly. This will not only help you be healthier, it will also help you feel positive and happy by reducing stress.

  1. Embrace the off button

With so much technology and so many ways to stay plugged in to work after hours, it is important to allow our minds a break when we are doing other activities. Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so it is time to use it. This can be easier said than done so it is best to do it in phases:

  • Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table
  • When you are on holidays, be on holidays
  • Don’t bring your phone/tablet to the beach
  • Disable email/notifications on your phone
  • Distract yourself from looking up work emails after hours

By taking these tips in to account, we hope you will be able to find a healthy work-life balance in your workplace. Have a look at our white papers/guides and download our free guide - How to Strategically Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit your Business.

Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working

Top Five Countries for Work-life balance

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Jan 18, 2016


Balancing work, family, leisure activities and personal commitments is a constant challenge for many of us. In my house we all either work or go to school and evenings and weekends are filled to the brim with a myriad of sports including; Gaelic football, rugby, hurling, soccer, running, swimming and Pilates to name a few. This means constantly running from work to the next activity and hoping to grab a bite somewhere in between. Being able to successfully do everything so that every member of our little family (there’s only four of us!) gets their activity is a constant challenge. That said, we are some of the lucky ones as I work for a company that values work life balance and the benefits it brings to their employees so all Softworks employees have flexible working/flexitime.

According to the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) “Finding a suitable balance between work and daily living is a challenge that all workers face. The ability to successfully combine work, family commitments and personal life is important for the well-being of all members in a household. An important aspect of work-life balance is the amount of time a person spends at work. Evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress.

The OECD report on Work Life Balance ranks its 36 member countries on balancing work and daily living. In their report, Denmark was ranked as the number one country for work-life balance. The key indicators used were share of employees working long hours (50 hours or more per week), time devoted to leisure and comparing the scores with respect to gender.   Let's take a closer look at the top five counties for work-life balance and the secret to their success. 

1) Denmark

Denmark is the number one country for work life balance. According to the OECD, an important aspect of work-life balance is the amount of time a person spends at work. Evidence suggests that long work hours may damage personal health, risk safety and increase stress.   In Denmark only 2% of employees work very long hours, one of the lowest rates in the OECD where the average is 13%.   Obviously if people are working long hours they have less time to to spend on other activities, such as time with friends/family or leisure activities. Furthermore the amount and quality of leisure time is important for people’s overall well-being, and can bring additional physical and mental health benefits. In Denmark, full-time workers devote 67% of their day on average, or 16.1 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.).  The OECD average is15 hours.  

Furthermore policy in Denmark provides extensive financial support to families with young children: public spending on family benefits amounts to just over 4% of GDP, compared to 2.6 % on average across the OECD, and close to 60% of such spending is on family services including childcare. In Denmark 37 hours is the standard working week and they have higher female employment rates and better gender equality within the labour market. Gender employment gaps and gender payment gaps are among the lowest among the OECD and all of this has led to the Danes being satisfied with both their working and personal lives.



2) Spain  

In Spain workers have as much personal time as their Danish counterparts however a higher proportion of them stay late at work. According to the OECD,  Spanish workers give 16.1 hours, or 67% of their day, to personal and  leisure activities however 8% still work very long hours.

Spain also has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe and a poor (but getting better) record of female employment, meaning for all that free time, Spaniards haven't yet managed to successfully combine work and family life to the extent of the Danes.  Female rates of fertility have deteriorated for two decades, among the lowest in the OECD at 1.3 children per woman. It would appear that both men and women have worked to establish their careers before considering childbirth.  This has seen a rise in female employment to  51 per cent, a move in the right direction, but still falling short of the OECD average of 57.5 per cent.

 3) The Netherlands

In the Netherlands workers have no interest in long hours. Only 0.5% of workers work very long hours however surprisingly this for some reason does not convert to more leisure time. Dutch workers spend on average 15.4 hours a day on themselves and their families, ranking them 5th among member states. However in the Netherlands, high levels of gender equality mean men and women share work responsibilities and families are helped by generous state benefits.  High literacy levels, low youth unemployment as well as a 93 per cent above average life satisfaction of 11-15-year-olds, coupled with high fertility rates and low unemployment all lead to a very happy country.   

4) Belgium  

Next up is Belgium, where 5% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 13%. Overall, more men work very long hours; in Belgium 7% of men work very long hours, compared with 2% for women. Workers in Belgium benefit from successful flexible working programmes and a high-level of personal time devoted to friends and family. The Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security has questioned conventional ways of working and this has resulted in them being named as the best employer. Their objective is to find talented people, to retain the right people and to make workers happy. The organisation lets people be in charge of their own life; it does not matter anymore when, where and how they work. Only results are important and evaluated. These new policies have led to a 30% reduction in office space resulting in a saving of 6 million euros per year along with a 55% reduction in the use of paper for printing, and a 60% reduction in office furniture expenditure.

5) Norway

In Norway, 3% of employees work very long hours, again much less than the OECD average of 13% with men working longer hours than women. 4% of men work very long hours, compared with 1% for women.Full-time workers devote 65% of their day on average, or 15.6 hours, to personal care and leisure just over the OECD average of 15 hours. In Norway, men devote approximately 15 hours per day to personal care and leisure, and women 16 hours per day.

Other countries that made the top ten were ranked in the following order

6 – Sweden

7 – Germany

8 – Russian Federation

9 – Ireland

10 – Luxembourg

Out of the 36 countries evaluated, The United Kingdom was ranked number 23, Canada 24, USA 29 and Australia 30.  Turkey was ranked worst coming in at number 36 and is by far the country with the highest proportion of people working very long hours, with close to 41%. If you would like to find out more you can view the OECD's Better Life Index for 2015 via this link   


Topics: Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working Hours, Happy Workers

The Key to a Happy Workforce

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Mon, Feb 2, 2015


happy workforce


We all know that saying, find something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life. There's nothing I would like more than for everyone I know to be working in a job they love, in a field they are really interested in, surrounded by supportive, talented co-workers. I am generally a positive thinker but the harsh reality behind that statement is that we have bills to pay, the job we love isn't always that easy to find and we all know every office has a nuisance (or two). There are a number of simple steps that will help you on your way to a happier workforce. This one is for you managers, CEOs, presidents and everyone else in charge of someone else's working day. Implement the ideas below now and I promise you will see a difference.


1. Introduce Flexitime.

Its 2015. Our lives are crazier and busier then ever. As it is, most of us spend 25% of our week at work and 34% sleeping leaving just 41% of your week to do the things you like. Plus or minus a family, hobbies, exercise, eating we really are short on time. Just the other day I wanted to kill my Iphone. Just this one device allows me to communicate in over 10 different ways; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Viber, Imessage, text message, email, call, Facetime... Yes I am ranting but my point is that there is more to life then work, however much we like our job. It will make such a difference to everyone if they can leave ten minutes earlier so that they can make that appointment or take an extra long lunch if its been a particularly stressful day. Remember that your workplace is made up of people, not machines. Being honest, we could all use a bit more flexibility in all areas of our lives so the workplace is a good place to start.

2. Celebrate Moments and People.

If somebody has been in the building for 20 years today, why not send a mass email to all staff and congratulate and thank them. They are choosing to be here and they wouldn't still be here if they weren't important to your company! Something I love about working at Softworks is that there are so many people working here that unless we were obesity advocates, we couldn't possibly have a cake for everyone's birthday. With that in mind our CEO introduced "cake day" where once a month we get in an array of buns and cakes and enjoy them together. Its definitely in the little things, and there is a great sense of fun round the office once everyone realises it's "cake day".

3. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

There is nothing worse than your job taking over your life. I remember years of working in restaurants and the problems the messy schedule brought. I knew I had to get out of the shift work world when I had to miss an award ceremony where I was actually receiving a prize because my manager wouldn't let me reschedule my shift. I also missed birthdays of loved ones, my own birthday and lost a few friends because it. For people like nurses, doctors and many more escaping the 24 hour roster isn't ever going to happen. Set up a system where if needs be co-workers can do a swap. A disappointed and sulking worker is of no benefit to anyone.

4. Hand Over the Power

I cannot stress how important I think Self Service is. Employees, in my opinion should always have access to their own records. I want to be able so see how many hours overtime I have done, I want to check my holiday balance and I want to know how many times I was late or early this month without having to ask HR who will usually pass comment or wonder why I am asking. Don't get me wrong I think every company; big or small should have a HR department. A great HR team is fundamental to every successful company but my roster and my holiday details are the business of my manager and I. Get rid of the middle man.

5. Time to be on Time

We all have great intentions. You all know that amazing feeling when you come out of a productive meeting feeling all motivated because you and your team brainstormed tons of great ideas that could really work. Then you look back on the minutes of the meeting a month or two later no progress has been made and most of the ideas have been tossed aside and forgotten about. Start tracking your projects. Once the whole team can see on a shared screen what needs to be done and who needs to do it, the project will be done in no time. Set a deadline, make a task list, assign responsibility and get on with it. A great idea should never be let slide.


I would love to know your tips too! Feel free to share



Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Labour Scheduling, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home, Rostering, Working Hours, Performance, Happy Workers, The Key To a Happy Workforce

Webinar - Fall in love again with your Time & Attendance System

Posted by Nadine Walsh on Tue, Nov 25, 2014


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Do you find managing areas such as; employee attendance, absenteeism, overtime, flexible working, scheduling, leave, pay rules & policies, compliance etc. a nightmare? Does any of the following sound familiar…?

 You are still calculating your more complex pay rules by hand.
 Your system makes it difficult for managers to approve time.
 Your employees still contact HR to find out the status of their leave requests.
 Your current system is not able to grow with you.
 Your system was chosen without understanding your department’s “actual” needs. 
 You are not getting the benefits you originally expected – doesn’t do what it said on the tin!
 You have multiple locations but no visibility across them.

There is an easier way to work!  Join Andrew Ferguson, Softworks CEO for a live 45 minute webinar on Wednesday 10th December at 3pm GMT/10am EST*.  In this session Andrew will demonstrate what you should expect as standard from your Time & Attendance System.

*Not sure what time this is in you city? Click here to check

Can't attend? Click Here to Register anyway and we will send you on the recording.

Topics: Time & Attendance, Workforce Solutions, Compliance, Labour Scheduling, Absenteeism, Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Working From Home

Employers Struggling with High Absenteeism Due to ‘Secret’ Carers

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Mon, Oct 6, 2014

New research from CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, reports that more than one in three employers have reported an increase in absenteeism due to staff struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities outside of work. However, only one in six organisations have policies in place to help achieve a better balance between their home and working lives. 

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The annual CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey shows that savvy employers put policies in place to help staff fulfil their caring responsibilities outside of work while continuing to meet the demands of their job.

  • Flexible working arrangements are by far the most common type of support (68%), followed by compassionate leave (53%) and (paid or unpaid) carers’ leave (48%).
  • Two-fifths (42%) offer access to counselling services and three in ten offer career breaks and sabbaticals.
  • One in six organisations offer access to financial services (17%) or options to purchase additional annual leave days (15%).
  • Although only one in six employers say they have organisation wide policies or guidelines in place for carers, an additional two fifths report that they do offer support to individuals on an ad hoc basis.
  • The CIPD is now calling on more businesses to adopt a formal policy to support workers, and ultimately benefit business.

Dr. Jill Miller, CIPD Research Adviser, comments: “Supporting those with caring responsibilities to balance their work and home lives, and therefore retaining our talent, is a key issue. Recent UKCES research has predicted that there will be four generations working side-by-side by 2030. With this 4G UK workforce, employers are having to manage an increasingly diverse range of employee needs. We’re seeing intergenerational issues coming to the fore; and in particular, a rise in the number of people with caring responsibilities. And this is an issue that is set to increase for the growing ‘sandwich generation.’ As people have children later, and are looking after parents in the ageing baby boomer generation, they find themselves caring for both their children and their older relatives.

“It’s therefore absolutely vital that employers have strong wellbeing policies in place, and communicate the benefits of flexible working to their employees, who all have the right to request to work flexibly under new legislation. But most importantly, line managers need to receive adequate training on how to have constructive discussions with their staff about the various benefits available to them. And it’s proven that flexible working can improve engagement and productivity within the workforce. With this in mind, hopefully in the future more workers will be able to handle the demands of caring.”

Corinne Williams, Head of HR at Simplyhealth, comments: “Adapting both working practices and health and wellbeing initiatives to support the changing needs of today’s modern workforce is a must for organisations. The expectation that employees conform to rigid working patterns is becoming a thing of the past as demands on an individual’s time continue to increase. This ‘sandwich’ generation are operating at capacity and it’s essential that they receive as much support as possible to help them meet their commitments at home as well as at work. Although it’s great to see that this year a fifth of organisations have increased their wellbeing spend, it needn’t cost the earth. Understanding the issues affecting your employees and equipping line management with the tools they need to help support them is key to a healthy, happy workforce.”

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK, said: “3 million people are juggling work with caring for an older or disabled loved one. Without the right policies in the workplace and the support of good quality, flexible and affordable care services, these employees often feel unable to juggle it all, with millions feeling they have no alternative but to give up work to care. We estimate this costs business £3.5 billion a year, with extra costs to the economy and to the families themselves in lost earnings and pensions."

You can access the full report here. If you are looking to reduce absenteeism rates in your organisation, you may also be interested in downloading our free whitepaper Top Tips - How To Reduce Absenteeism In Your Organisation.



Topics: Time & Attendance, Absenteeism, Work-Life Balance

The right to request flexible working - UK Law comes in to force

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Sep 3, 2014

On the 30th June 2014, new laws came in to force in the UK around flexible working.  Every employee now has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks employment service, regardless of their caring responsibilities. Previous to this the right only applied to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. So what does this actually mean for employees and employers? 

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The legislation does not give employees the immediate 'right' to flexibility, rather it provides a right to request flexible working. Requests need to be made in writing, stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application. Employers do have the right to refuse flexible working, if they have a good business reason for doing so.

However they have an obligation to treat all requests in a ‘reasonable manner’. Examples of handling requests in a reasonable manner include; assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application, holding a meeting to discuss the request with the employee and offering an appeal process. If an employer doesn’t handle a request in a reasonable manner, the employee can take them to an employment tribunal.

Eligible employees can request a change in working hours, working time or working location. This includes a wide range of working patterns such as job sharing, working from home, part-time working, compressed hours and flexitime. 

While some employers may be wary of this new law and flexible working in general, it should be noted that it has been proven, that flexible working brings many benefits to an organisation including better retention rates, reduced costs and improved productivity. Furthermore the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1995) have actually come to expect such flexibility.  So as an employer, if you are looking to attract talent from this group, you will need to have a flexible working strategy in place.  

The so called traditional 9 to 5 or eight hour working day actually originated out of necessity during the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 1800s. So much has changed since then in terms of how, when and where we do business, it undoubtedly makes sense to move on from something that was created over 200 years ago.

If you would like to find out more about implementing flexible working, including practical advice and tips, you are very welcome to download our free white paper -Could Flexible Working work in your organisation. 

In this paper, we examine the pros and cons of introducing flexible working. We tell it straight, based on 20 years' experience in this area, so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not it is right for your department or organisation.


Topics: Employee Retention, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Motivation

Don't Forget National Employee Appreciation Day - Friday 7th March!

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Mar 5, 2014

This Friday is National Employee Appreciation Day. If you are not familiar with the annual worldwide event, it has been going since 1995 and was set up to recognise and honour hard working employees.  The event encourages managers of all levels to support and reward their employees, and to show their appreciation.

Appreciation from the boss can be a great morale booster and welcome motivator.

So now we all know what it is, what's the best way to celebrate? We've pulled together ten of the most popular activities used by companies to recognise their employees.

  1. Hold an awards ceremony
  2. Free Food - Breakfast, Lunch, Pizza...
  3. Cakes/Chocolates for all
  4. Organise a fun group activity
  5. Happy hour in the local pub
  6. Time off for all
  7. Throw an appreciation party
  8. Give a gift card
  9. Offer a flexible schedule for the day
  10. Say "Thanks" personally or with a handwritten note.





Happy National Employee Appreciation Day! Let us know how you celebrate this year...

Topics: Employee Retention, Work-Life Balance, Flexible Working, Motivation