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The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published the results of research it commissioned from Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. The research paper, entitled ‘Flexibility in the Workplace: Implications of flexible work arrangements for individuals, teams and organisations’, sets out to identify both advantages and disadvantages of flexible working and provide best practice guidance for the implementation of flexible working arrangements (FWAs).

The paper contains a review of relevant literature, and case studies based on interviews with managers and employees in two organisations, one public and one private. It then goes on to make recommendations (pages 33 and 34) to those implementing flexible working, stressing the need to ensure that flexible working is carefully managed in order to achieve positive benefits for team effectiveness and organisational productivity. The recommendations are:

Ensure clear communications, including setting boundaries and managing expectations;
Make formalised arrangements, but ensure that both parties maintain a willingness to be ‘flexible with flexibility’;
Implement consistent practices across teams to ensure perceived fairness;
Consider requests for flexible working on an individual basis. Managers should be open to requests for flexible working, and consider each request on its merits, using consistent principles;
Encourage managers to work flexibly themselves, so that they act as role models.

The research paper can be found at http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/o/7/Flexibility-in-the-Workplace.pdf.

The Acas blog also has an article by Tom Neil, Senior Guidance Editor, sharing his experience of FWAs. This is entitled ‘Being Flexible with Flexibility’ and can be found at http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6038.

Acas guidance on handling requests for flexible working and on homeworking can be found at http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1616.




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