Cost of living fuels work from home boom

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Over a third of employers have seen an increase in staff working from home compared with 2022, an Acas survey has found.

Acas crunched the results from 1,015 working adults between March and April 2023. Each person was asked: after the rise in the cost of living to what extent have you seen a change in the proportion of employees working from home in your business? Thirty-six per cent said there had been a rise, 13 per cent of whom said a ‘significant rise’.

Chief executive of Acas, Susan Clews, said the results were “unsurprising”: “For some workers, the cost of commuting is eating into their budgets, while for others, going to their workplaces saves on home energy costs.”

The findings come as a new law could make it easier for people to request flexible working arrangements.

Mums, dads, carers and older workers who need to work flexibly, still fear discrimination or rejection when asking about flexible working in the recruitment process. Photograph: iStock

Although employees have always been legally able to make the request, the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, which came into force in July, gives more options. Employers will now have to consult with their staff before they reject a request and secondary legislation will introduce a right to request from day one of employment.

However, unions and campaigners, while welcoming the law, say that more needs to be done. In a joint statement, the TUC, Fawcett Society, Women’s Budget Group and Timewise said that mums, dads, carers and older workers who need to work flexibly, still fear discrimination or rejection when asking about flexible working in the recruitment process.

“To truly meet their manifesto commitment to make flexible working the default, the government must require employers to include all possible flexible working options in job adverts. This is a small, simple change that would make a huge difference to working people,” they said.

Acas is developing a statutory Code of Practice on flexible working to replace the existing 2014 Code, which will set out best practice for employers. Consultation runs until 6 September.

Acas Survey: here 


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