The Equality and Human Rights Commission have
produced a new guide to flexible work, Working
Better: A managers’ guide to Flexible Working.
The Equality Commission is a strong supporter of
flexible working, believing that flexibility is key
to achieving equal opportunities and greater
fairness in the workplace. And it is also,
according to the guide, better for business.
The problem the guide seeks to address, is that
not all managers are convinced of this, and many of
those who are convinced don't know where to start.
The guide covers:
- The business benefits that firms can achieve
- Key principles for introducing flexibility
- Advice on creating a flexible workplace
- Key management skills required
- Case studies of innovative working in large
and small firms
- A problem-solving Q&A for challenging
The 44 page guide is at an introductory level in
terms of advice, encouraging managers to think
creatively and to question traditional assumptions.
The meat is mainly in the case studies. As
Trevor Phillips, the Commission's Chair, said to the
Chambers of Commerce at the launch in
"We in the Commission warmly welcome firms
going beyond the bare minimum of the flexible
work legislation because it’s the kind of reform
that makes the world of work more accessible,
more inclusive and fairer to all.
"That’s why, where some firms are leading the
way, the Commission want to help others follow
their example. To put some minds at rest: this
isn’t about bureaucrats telling you how to run
your business. We are not inventing the advice
in this guide, we’re distilling it. It’s drawn
from the experiences of major retailers,
international law firms, and manufacturers,
high-street names and ambitious SMEs. This is
not what we say, it's what the best of you say."
The guide encourages managers to be innovative,
and gives some case study examples where this has
paid dividends And it strongly encourages an
approach that is business focused, looking to align
the interests of employees with the interests of the
There is a theme in the advice of working from
the ground up, particularly on a team basis, to
introduce new patterns of work. Senior managers need
to be shown in practice how it works, to overcome
All this is good, but at Flexibility, our
experience is that the flexible work implementations
that run into trouble are those that don't have
strong top-level support at the outset.
Managers initiating change do far better when they
know that their decisions will be supported from the
Overall, this is a well thought-out guide, and a
welcome addition to the canon of guidance on