Is remote working a legal right in the UK?

Remote working legality blog

Is remote working a legal right in the UK?

Businesses around the world have become very familiar with remote working since the pandemic. Plenty of people have found working with more flexibility much more enjoyable! Naturally then, since the pandemic the number of people requesting to work remotely has risen dramatically. Many countries are now changing employment laws to reflect this demand, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

Though some countries have changed their laws around remote working, is it a legal right in the UK?

Remote working legality blog

Is remote working legally protected in the UK?

There are laws in the UK that protect remote staff to a degree. For example, remote workers are not allowed to work for more than 48 hours in a week. Outside of this, the UK does not currently have any laws on rights to request full-time remote working.

However, everyone in the UK has a legal right to request flexible working. An employer can make the decision to accept or refuse at their discretion. An employee that has worked for their company continuously for 26 weeks can make a formal request through what is known as a ‘statutory application’. The UK is behind other countries in Europe on this though. It’s likely that legislation will change in future, and businesses need to be ready when it does.

If you’re a business owner looking to implement remote working and are unsure of how to create your own company policy, click here to get in touch. We’re happy to help with impartial guidance and technology advice.

What are they doing in other countries?

Many European nations are embracing the remote revolution, and have seen a lot of benefit to doing so. The Netherlands, a remote working powerhouse even before the pandemic, were the first to grant the right to request remote working by law. Previously employers would be able to deny a request without giving reason. Now, they must consider the application carefully and provide a valid reason to why any request will be rejected. In early 2022 Ireland implemented the same policy.

It’s a similar policy to what we currently have in UK but has already seen the number of hybrid workers rise to 35% and the number of exclusively remote workers rising to 16%. Hybrid working is a combination of office and remote work, a policy that’s proved very effective for our customers and ourselves here at One Connectivity.

Now The Netherlands is currently debating a law that would enshrine the right to remote work in to legislation. These pioneers have inspired other nations to make changes as well. In Germany, unions rebuked a request from Tesla for remote workers to return to the office. Portugal just implemented a law that punishes bosses for contacting remote employees outside of office hours.

Why it’s worth bringing in a remote working policy

We strongly encourage getting ahead of the curve, and discussing the benefits of implementing your own remote working policy. Overall, you can massively improve productivity and work-life balance.

Working from home means cutting out the daily commute. Without the need to travel to meetings, your staff are able to manage their own time more efficiently. The work-life balance of staff significantly improves with remote working, with proven benefits to mental health and productivity. Overall we’ve found that putting faith in staff to manage their own time from home has huge benefits t.

Many businesses have been able to widen their recruitment pool with remote working policies. By allowing working from home, you can hire people from across the country. This might mean finding the perfect applicant for your latest vacancy.

What technology is good for remote workers?

Of course, to be able to work from home you need the right tech. Staying connected to remote staff has never been easier. It just takes the right combination of communication services.

With a strong internet connection, you can stay connected from anywhere. Cloud phone systems allow you to make calls via broadband, ideal for remote working. We recommend taking it a step further though, and using unified communications.

You’re probably already familiar with unified communications, or UC. MS Teams is a great example of these services that bring all of your communication tools under one roof. Using UC you can access video and voice calls, instant messaging, file sharing and data from your CRM. It’s all combined in one application, that you can access from a device of your choice.

How One Connectivity can help?

Even before the pandemic, our team has been helping teams to work better remotely. Whether you’re looking to make the most of the benefits we mentioned earlier, or are looking to get ahead of new legislation, we can help. The UC service we mentioned earlier is a great example, and one that helped our longstanding partners over at Ginho Group.

If you’re looking to kickstart your hybrid or remote working policy, get in touch with the team at 0115 896 88 60.

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