19 December 2022

Flexible Working: What it Means to Different People

Paul Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


Working from home takes me back to my days at BT where from about 10 years ago I was used to working remotely, whether it was from my home or my local telephone exchange. Since then, Covid and various lockdowns made people become aware of flexible working and working from home, whereas I had done it for years.

Now that people have become used to working from home due to enforced lockdowns, it has made people behave differently towards work location. The need to work from home has now meant that companies have to think a bit differently to the previous 5 days a week in the office routine.

flexible working statistics work from home benefits
ONS Survey

According to various post-Covid lockdown surveys, one of the most fundamental requirements of today’s workforce is an ability to have flexible working in terms of location and time. In June 2022 it was reported in The Guardian that more than a third of the UK’s office workers were working from home, and one survey suggested that the majority of employees would like to work from home at least 3 days per week.

This means that employers have to think a bit differently and be more flexible when it comes to retaining and also attracting talent. Here are some key things to consider when it comes to allowing staff to work from home.

What Flexible Working Means to Different People

Flexible Time

Working hours (within reason) can also be flexible and this can help employees in many ways. I have started working later so as to fit exercise and chores in before my working day stars, Steve has started to trial a 4-day week and this is great to fit in with our lifestyles. Now that I have this I would have to think long and hard about a 9 – 5:30 job again.

Flexible Location

In theory, it shouldn’t matter where in the world you are, as long as you have connectivity and are productive. Employment laws aside this is true and I feel this personally is a huge bonus for me. Only recently, Steve and I spent a week in Spain on a working holiday and to get some sunshine along the way which was great to do without actually taking any holiday. It really did mean we were more productive and also the change of scenery did us the world of good.

Flexible working location can of course depend on company policy and not everyone is entirely remote. Some companies may say there needs to be 2/3 days where everyone is in the office, and depending on the nature of your job, employees may have to visit clients or other organisational buildings as part of their role. These general factors need to be taken into account in terms of role responsibilities when setting company policies accordingly.

Important Factors to Consider


This is a big shift for many managers/companies – do you trust your employees to put the effort in when they are at home. This is all about trust – as long as they are getting the work done, then this should in theory be achievable.


This can be difficult when a team is remote, but actually given technology (we at RTT are now using MS Teams a lot more) this is definitely achievable. Also retaining face to face meetings is a must – at least once a quarter depending on the nature of your work/team function


This is more from the employee and is all about making sure that any distractions of working from home do not take over or affect productivity. The other side to this is knowing how and when to separate work from home life. I have definitely suffered over the years from not having a commute to help make that distinction, but I have adapted and found other ways to create that separation.

Setting Precedent

As an employer this is a big one to watch – once you create one rule for one, you have to make sure you are prepared to match that for all. This is where I believe (especially if there is a shift from office-based to home-based work) as an employer, you should really think all rules and guidance through until you are happy that all bases are covered.

Often within an organisation it is the culture and leadership that will dictate policies on flexible working (and whether or not you should implement a flexible working policy). As recruiters, we do know that to attract and retain the best talent you often have to be flexible on work patterns and locations. I believe if you can get the right mix and think through a lot of the above, it can be a win-win for employees and employers.

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Published by Paul Halsall

Paul is an experienced head hunter, data and insight specialist, trainer and coach. His experience lies in Location Planning and Mapping but more recently within Business Management, working internationally on a variety of accounts.


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