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How Professional Services Firms can Adapt To and Wield Flexible Work Laws

27th Mar 2024
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Suralink provides professional services firms with a single, secure platform to collaborate with clients, exchange documents at scale, and track the progress of engagements. 

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Professional services firms in the United Kingdom should prepare for a major working policy change that takes effect on the sixth of April. Beginning on that day, employees will be able to make two flexible work requests in a 12-month period. Currently, they may only make one.

This policy change may not seem very consequential considering how prolific flexible work, i.e., working from home and/or working different hours, has become in the post-COVID world. Many employees in accounting practices, financial firms, audit firms, and more have embraced partially or fully remote work whenever given the opportunity. This change, though, widens their ability to do so, and companies are thus left wondering how best to navigate.

A Flexibility Shift

Before we visit how practices can and should respond to this shift, let’s get into a bit more detail about how exactly this new policy works from a job/employee function perspective. As previously mentioned, employees will now be able to make two flexible work requests, but those changes, if enabled, would be made directly to their employment contracts. Employers will be given two months to respond and must meet with their staff before rejecting such a request. Employers must accompany their request rejections with no less than seven stated reasons explaining why the rejection was handed down.

While most firms (probably) don’t need two months to review a flexible work request, this change poses a challenge even to workplaces that take no issue with remote employment. Namely that employees will be able to make a flexible work request from day one of employment, which raises potential logistics issues visa vis office space, delivering equipment, new hire orientation, so on and so forth. This policy element is therefore arguably the biggest change for employers to adapt to.

Meeting Employees Where They’re At

Fortunately, there are a few basic tools that professional services firms can equip themselves with to seamlessly adapt to this change. The first, and simplest, is to ask job candidates about their views on flexible work and whether that’s the arrangement they would most prefer. This reduces the risk of the aforementioned day one logistics hazards while also signaling to a new employee that you’re willing to meet them where they’re at in their scheduling. Demonstrating that sort of interest increases employee respect for and engagement in the business.

Secondly, as many firms have already been doing for several years, it’s important in this age of flexible work and remote employment to focus on the results being delivered more than which hours employees are working. This shift was galvanized by COVID and has allowed employees to boost productivity and investment in workplace culture by creating a more versatile work-life balance. 

And, as every working person knows, clocking in for 40 hours a week doesn’t guarantee that an employee is being productive. Focusing on results and what employees are delivering, though, will.

Turning Flexibility into Better Experiences

Research demonstrates that employees in the United Kingdom and beyond appreciate employers that offer flexible employment. Such employees tend to be happier and higher-performing, which translates directly into a meaningfully improved experience for the customers they serve. 

Suralink, the world leader in PBC request list management and engagement software, adds to this experience for stakeholders on either side of the engagement with its streamlined, all-in-one software platform. Flexibility is key to both the workplace and to professional engagements, and to creating a holistic, meaningful human connection that will keep clients returning.

Click here to learn more about how third-party technology, like Suralink’s all-in-one platform, can help your organisation stay flexible while also achieving continuous success!

Author: The Suralink Team