Flexible and hybrid working continues to be debated in many workplaces, with employer policies and employee expectations regarding flexibility not always aligned. Recently, the non-profit group Women in Banking and Finance jointly published a report with the London School of Economics into hybrid working in banking, asset management and professional services. That report concluded that, whilst many firms had in place hybrid policies requiring a fixed minimum of days in the office each week, employees (including managers) were largely taking a business needs approach, and judging attendance on the basis of their interpretation of business need, and generally applying a more flexible approach than envisaged by management. The report found that being prescriptive about office attendance was likely to deter some workers, particularly women, who would likely choose employers who operated a more flexible arrangement.
As employers continue to debate their approach, the Government published its response to its 2021 consultation on updating flexible working laws in which it indicated its intention to make access to flexible working easier for employees, although it stops short of some of the radical changes contemplated in its consultation paper.