Example flexible working requests and considerations

This page gives you examples of requests for flexible working and the considerations that may be made by a manager when dealing with the request. Possible compromise arrangements are suggested. This list is not exhaustive and each request needs to be considered with the individual circumstances.

 

An employee who works as a receptionist from 9am to 5.20pm asks to change their working hours to start at 8.00am and finish at 4.20pm.

The manager considering this request needs to think about many things including the hours of coverage required on the reception and likely future demand.

In this situation, the manager may identify that recently, there has been greater requirement to cover the reception for longer hours so that having someone start early would be beneficial. However, this request would leave the reception understaffed at the end of the day and for a shorter amount of time. The manager might discuss the need to cover the reception for a longer period with the whole team and ask if any other members of the team would like to consider changing their hours.

There are many possible outcomes of this situation. A compromise may be reached where the receptionist is asked to consider working from 7.30am to 3.50pm allowing another employee to work from 12 to 8.20pm ensuring that there are two people covering the busiest period during the middle of the day. If the receptionist is not prepared to start at 7.30am and/or there are no members of staff who can work a later shift, the manager may have to reluctantly turn down the request.

 

In a team of 3, a full-time administrator requests to work 36.5 hours over 4 days instead of 5 days (compressed hours). They would like their day off to be a Friday or a Monday. The other two team members are part-time and one does not work Fridays and the other does not work Mondays.

There are many considerations the manager will need to make including the individual’s role, the level of cover required in the office and the hours of cover required each day.

In looking at this, the manager may recognise that there has recently been increased demand to support their customers from 8am until 6pm so having someone who works 9.1 hours a day, four days a week will be beneficial in providing a longer period of office cover. However, the requested non-working day will clash with the days off that the part-time staff already have and mean that there is one day a week where no one is in the office which will be unhelpful for their customers.

The manager could ask the team to discuss the request and the increased need for cover together and come up with a possible solution themselves. The employee making the request could be asked to have a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday as their non-working day and so relieve the issue of Monday or Friday not being covered.

 

A full-time specialist advisor who has a full workload requests a reduction in hours to 3 days a week.

The manager receiving this request would need to consider how the workload of the individual could be reduced by 40% to suit the requested part-time hours. In doing this, the manager would need to consider the workload of other members of the team, the skills of the advisor and likely future demand. If the workload could not be distributed amongst other members of the team either because of lack of capacity or lack of the specialist knowledge required, the manager could consider whether it is cost effective to recruit a part-time employee to cover the remaining workload. This may have additional benefits of bringing in new skills to the team.

There are many possible outcomes of this situation. If the manager can identify a 20% reduction in workload, they may discuss with the employee the possibility of reducing to 4 days a week rather than 3. If the manager can identify a 40% reduction in workload at some points of the year (for example, when demand is low such as during holiday periods), the manager may discuss with the employee the possibility of an annualised hours contract where they work part-time for some of the year. If the manager cannot identify any way to reduce the workload due to lack of resources or without creating undue pressure on other team members, the manager may reluctantly refuse the request.

 

Two employees apply for a post that has been advertised as a full-time role as a job share and both request to work 3 days a week.

The manager dealing with this request would need to consider a number of things including whether the role they have applied for would suit a job share arrangement and whether there are particular benefits that would arise from having the role filled by two people [link to job share guidance].

A particular issue raised in this example is that both employees have asked to work 3 days a week which equates to more than the full-time role that was advertised. The manager would need to consider the extra costs this would bring and should consider this alongside the benefits of having an increased number of hours dedicated to the role.

If the manager believes that a job share arrangement could be beneficial but cannot afford the costs of the post 6 days a week, a compromise may be offered where the employees may be asked to consider working 2.5 days each. In this situation, if the employees are unable to work 2.5 days per week, the manager would need to reluctantly turn down the request to job share.

 

An academic member of staff asks for their teaching to be confined to 2 consecutive working days a week as they do not live in Exeter and are travelling down to Exeter and staying overnight.

The Head of Discipline/ADE dealing with this request would need to consider a number of things including the total amount of teaching the member of staff is responsible for, the timetable requirements, whether the academic has other responsibilities outside of teaching that require their presence on campus and the teaching capacity of other members of teaching staff in the same discipline.

If the member of staff is responsible for a number of teaching hours that only they can teach it is likely to be difficult for the timetable to accommodate this request. If there are additional responsibilities such as seeing tutees outside of lecture times, attending discipline meetings or representing the discipline on open days then the academic lead may find it difficult to accommodate this request as it may impact on the quality of service.

A compromise could be discussed which is less restrictive. Alternatively, the request may be refused. The Head of Discipline/ADE could discuss with the member of staff whether they would like to reduce their overall hours to become part-time which could then free up resources to recruit an additional member of staff to cover the remaining teaching.