The Flexible Working Revolution


Improving the work/life balance has been a hot topic for many years. In the Arthur Edward 2018/19 Salary Survey, flexible working topped the list of desired benefits.

In June, 67% of respondents to our ‘Working Through the Covid-19 Crisis’ survey were working from home, and a whopping 94% of them said they wanted to continue doing so in the future, for at least some of the time.

With so many now asking for more flexibility, companies that were slow or reluctant to adapt to new ways of working in the past may be forced to change if they’re to attract the right talent.


Current government guidelines for England say that employers should decide how their staff can continue to work safely. Workplaces can open if they are made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Your employer should consult with you on how you can work safely and must ensure the workplace is safe if they are asking you to return. For latest information and guidance visit


Anyone who has been employed for at least 26 weeks has the legal right to request flexible working. If you’ve been working from home successfully, you may feel now is the time to make your case. Here’s our advice on what to do before broaching the subject with your boss.


Be clear on exactly what you want and how it will affect your work, both now and when many people have returned to the office. ‘More flexibility’ is too vague; do you want to work fewer, but longer days? To work from home 3 days a week?

If you are asking for more than one change, show that you can be flexible too. Know which ones are the most valuable to you, and where or how you can offer to compromise.

Look at the situation from your employer’s perspective – don’t ask for the impossible! Were you forced to neglect some aspects of your role while working from home? If so, show that you’re aware of that, have considered it, and have a plan to address it under the new arrangement.

Offering to be flexible yourself, when the business needs it, could make all the difference. Do you have friends or family who can help out on the odd occasion, if something really important comes up? Your boss will appreciate knowing you have a contingency plan in place and will support the company if something happens unexpectedly or at short notice.

Explain why you want this flexibility, and how it’s a win-win. Highlight the benefits to your boss and the company. Do you work better without distractions? Will you be more productive? Can you take on more responsibility, or new tasks?


Ultimately, if there’s a clash between the flexibility you want and the responsibilities of your current role, then it’s for you to decide which you value most.

You can talk to your boss about flexible working and how it will change your role, or you may decide it’s time to look for a new role that offers the flexibility you want.

I talk to companies about jobs and recruitment all the time, and I’m pleased to see many of them embrace change and offer their employees a greater say in where, when, and how they work. Despite the strange and difficult events of this year, I am hopeful the Covid-19 Crisis will have brought about some positive change in our industry.

First published in Pure Beauty Magazine

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