Flexible working may become the norm if Bill is passed

The need for fast broadband connections in households across the UK is likely to become even more pertinent if the government passes a bill that will make flexible working even more commonplace.

Conservative MP Helen Whately has tabled a bill that will demand that businesses actively opt out of offering flexible working, helping the practise to become the norm, as opposed to a special ‘extra’ in employment contracts.

Whately explained that more should be done to help parents and others work flexibly, which includes working from home. She said: “What if we flip the question and ask whether a job cannot be done flexibly? How many more employers would find that actually it did not make a difference where or when a piece of work was done, as long as it was done?”

Currently, some businesses do offer flexible working as a ‘bonus’, but the aim is to change attitudes and encourage employees to expect flexible working and actively seek it out in an employer.

Currently, less than 10 per cent of jobs that pay over £20k per year are actively advertised as flexible. Flexible working can mean anything from flexible working hours, to the ability to work from home as and when it is required. Working from home is only an option for those with a decent internet connection and those living in rural areas may struggle to be take employers up on the option of homeworking if they don’t have access to fast broadband speeds.

However, with more and more areas being hooked up to fast broadband all the time, or using leased lines to help improve their connectivity, an increasing number of employees and, indeed employers, are able to make the most of flexible working options.

Whately added: “For employers, introducing a flexible working initiative can provide a host of benefits. It can widen the hiring pool to candidates that may live outside of a realistic commuting distance and in some cases, prove to be the deciding factor in getting their preferred candidate over the line.”

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