Complete Guide To Flexible Working In The UK

We help businesses of all shapes & sizes reward their staff 🚀
Get My Quotes
8 mins

With a cost of living crisis hot on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, many employers have turned to flexible working practices. In doing so, they’ve found many benefits for both companies and staff to enjoy.

When home working began on a larger scale, it was an immediate solution to the lockdowns. At the time, many of us weren’t aware of all the advantages on offer. Since then, people have truly embraced it, and it seems to be sticking around for the long haul.

But there’s more to flexible working than simply going remote or hybrid. So, what exactly does it involve? What are all the benefits we’re talking about? And how can it be implemented successfully? We answer these questions and more in the below guide.

What Is Flexible Working?

Most people are used to the traditional way of working: nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, in the office. In a nutshell, flexible working is any arrangement that differs from this.

We tend to think of flexible working in relation to remote working or hybrid solutions. But there are other effective options out there, such as job sharing and split shifts.

Why Is It Important?

Several high-profile companies are demanding a return to the office, which could make them less attractive to employees.

For staff, flexible working can lead to a better work life balance and improve their overall wellbeing. In fact, in our 2023 Employee Benefits & Workplace Satisfaction Survey, work-from-home options and flexible hours ranked as the most desired benefits among staff.

By offering benefits that employees really want will not only make them happier and more engaged, but also help you as an employer to retain and attract the best talent. In most cases, flexible working practices are free or low-cost to implement.

As a result, they give businesses a way to show their staff how valued they are without breaking the bank.

Compare Top 10 UK Providers

Takes approx. 60 seconds
Verified by Norton Symantec icon
 Or Call Us

What Are The Different Types Of Flexible Working?

As we mentioned, flexible working can refer to many different things. Below, we’ve detailed some of the different models you could offer as an employer.

Flexible Working Hours

One way to implement this approach is to allow employees flexible working hours.

In theory, you could allow employees to work at any time of their choosing, without set days or times. But in reality, it’s likely this will be executed in a more controlled way. We’ve listed some potential options below, each with a different degree of choice.

Staggered Hours

Many businesses already use this model. Offering staggered hours allows employees to start and finish at different times.

For instance, the majority of companies still set their service hours from 9.00am to 5.00pm. However, staff are often able to choose from a range of shift patterns, for example:

  • 7.00am-3.00pm
  • 8.00am-4.00pm
  • 9.00am-5.00pm
  • 10.00am-6.00pm
  • 11.00am-7.00pm.

This choice can be invaluable for many employees. For example, a parent who does the morning school run might need to start at 9.30am. Whereas a parent who does the school pick-up might need to finish by 3.00pm.

Offering staggered working hours allows employees to choose the shifts that suit them. It also ensures continuous service for your clients during business hours.

Part-Time Hours

Providing part-time contracts also qualifies as a flexible working arrangement. Generally, this will apply to any employee who works between 1 and 34 hours per week.

If staff want to reduce their contract, offering part-time working hours lets you keep them on. This is often better than the alternative, which is losing them altogether. As a result, staff retention can improve.

It’s important to think carefully about what kind of flexible hours you want to offer. You may not be able to meet all employees’ preferred shift pattern. So, remember to manage expectations where needed.

Nick Nelms
Senior Consultant, Employee Benefits

Term-Time & Reverse Term-Time Contracts

Another way to offer flexible hours is through term-time contracts. These are geared towards working parents who have childcare commitments during the school holidays.

Similarly, you could also offer reverse-term time hours. This could fit someone who is studying full-time during the academic term, but is able to work over Christmas, Easter and summer.

Compressed Work Week

Some people prefer to work fewer days per week, even if each shift is longer. This is known as compressed hours. With this option, a staff member could work their contracted hours in four days rather than five.

For instance, a full time employee typically works 35 hours per week. So, rather than working five 7-hour days, they could work on only four days, but for shifts of 8.75 hours.

If this employee started work at 8.00am and took a 1-hour lunch break, they’d work until 5.45pm for those four days. They’d also be able to enjoy an extra day off each week.

Split Shifts

If an employee breaks up their shift with a gap of two hours or more, this qualifies as a split shift. They could work from 8.00am to 12.00pm, and then from 3.00pm to 6.00pm.

Split shifts are the norm in certain roles. For instance, hospitality staff might work from 11.00am to 3.00pm to cover the lunch shift. Then work again from 6.00pm to 10.00pm to complete dinner service. But many people overlook how split shifts could benefit office workers.

It can be difficult to squeeze in all our life commitments in evenings and weekends. As a result, there are many reasons why employees might use this arrangement.

  • Working out in the middle of the day and coming back to work refreshed
  • A standing health care appointment, such as with a counsellor
  • Employees who simply want to avoid overwork and prevent burnout.

Remember, it’s unlikely that many of your employees will need to have split shifts on a permanent basis. But it offers your team the flexibility to manage their personal lives around their jobs.

If you’re offering compressed hours or split shifts, you need to make sure staff are still meeting the working time regulations. This means they can’t work more than 48 hours per week, and that they must have at least 11 hours of rest between shifts.


With flexitime, you set core business hours where all staff need to be working. You’ll then allow employees to work their remaining hours around that core window.

For example, your core business hours might be between 11.00am to 2.00pm. As long as your employees work during this time, they could then work the remainder of their hours at any other time.

Having fixed core hours makes it easier to book in time with colleagues. This could be to arrange meetings, training, or lunch-and-learn sessions during these hours.

Job Sharing

A lesser known flexible working solution is to offer job shares. Although it’s not heard about much, it can be a very effective working solution.

The idea is that two part-time workers share the responsibility of one full-time role. The employees could work on the same days, but focus on different areas of delivery. Or, they could work on different days but share the same core responsibilities.

Working Location

As well as shift patterns, the location your team works from is another way they can work flexibly. Generally, employees will choose from two locations: home or the office.

As a compromise, many businesses use hybrid working models. These tend to demand a set number of office days per week, but this isn’t a truly flexible option. By broadening your definition of remote working, employees can have more choice.

Some companies even allow employees to work from different locations. There’s often a set limit of weeks of per year that they can do this, but it opens up many more options. Staff could work remotely while visiting family, travelling abroad, or in a local café for a change of scenery.

If staff work in different locations, you’ll need to ensure any sensitive data meets GDPR. You may need to provide use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to keep information secure on different Wi-Fi networks.

Benefits Of Flexible Working For Employers

For employers looking to enhance their employee benefits package, flexible working is a great option. It is a cost effective benefit that comes with a wide range of benefits.

Saves Money

Remote working and flexible hours can significantly reduce overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and office supplies.

As reported by the BBC, some companies are even forgoing central offices altogether. This can lead to cost savings for employers, as well as reduced environmental impact.

Extended Service Hours

Another direct benefit is that you may be able to increase your service hours. By allowing employees flexibility over their working hours, you could run longer service. Depending on your business development strategy, you could even extend your operation.

You may be able to reach new demographics in other countries and grow your business. This could lead to improved customer satisfaction if they can access your service at a time that better suits them. This could give you a competitive edge over other companies.

Improved Recruitment

Many companies offer flexible working to recruit new talent that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to employ.

Office working, and nine-to-five shifts simply aren’t accessible for all people. Flexible working arrangements give accessibility to working parents, people with disabilities, and those who live further afield. This has many advantages:

  • It helps businesses meet their Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) and B Corp standards
  • Your team is more diverse, and stronger as a result
  • You’re known as a more competitive employer.

Increased Productivity

This is an indirect, but no less worthwhile benefit for employers. It’s evidenced that happy workers are more productive.

One way of increasing happiness and therefore productivity, is to help employees get a better work life balance. Something that 66% of employees said made them happy.

Flexible working can help to achieve this. It can give staff a positive balance, reduce stress and improve their focus. In turn, this can increase productivity for your business, too.

Reduce Absences

Flexible working can help to improve an employee’s health and wellbeing by helping them to better manage their work and personal lives. Not only this, it can give them time back as a result of not having to do the daily commute. This can reduce stress and burnout rates, which can lead to time off work.

Nadeem Farid Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

Flexible working can help prevent employees from getting ill in the first place. They can avoid picking up illness on public transport and employees who feel under the weather can choose to work from home rather than risk passing on illnesses to colleagues.

Nadeem Farid
Head of Health & Wellbeing Benefits

Benefits Of Flexible Working For Employees

It’s not just employers who stand to gain from implementing flexible working. There are a wide range of benefits for employees too.


The most obvious benefit for employees is right there in the term: flexible working. It allows employees to better manage their personal and working lives. Particularly in hard times, it can give staff greater options to meet life’s challenges.

Offering a range of flexible options helps people choose the best fit for their circumstances. This in itself will help to make them more productive during their working hours.


When staff choose the solution that works best for them, they feel trusted and supported. Empowering your team builds strong and enduring relationships with them. This leads to an increase in motivation, and with it, performance.

Work Life Balance

Flexible and remote working options can help employees to achieve a more harmonious work life balance.

This, as already mentioned, is the main cause of employee happiness according to our latest survey. Having flexibility allows employees to juggle life’s demands in a way that suits them.

Improved Health

As mentioned, it can be very stressful to keep on top of everything when working a regular nine-to-five. In fact, almost half of UK employees reported feeling stressed in the past year. For many, their mental health had suffered as a result.

Flexible working gives staff a way to combat their stressors. It can help them maintain a healthy routine or enhance their sleep quality. By choosing the approach that best suits them, staff can improve their overall health.

Job Satisfaction

Ultimately, offering flexible working arrangements helps employees feel valued. It increases job satisfaction, raises morale, and leads to a positive working environment.

Along with this increased employee engagement, valued staff are often more loyal. So, this can have the knock-on effect of improving retention for employers.

How To Implement Flexible Working

More and more companies are implementing flexible working. In 2022, 100 UK companies signed up to trial a four-day work week with no loss of pay.

On top of that, the UK government has introduced legislation that allows workers to request flexible working from day one. So, how can you set up your own flexible working policy?

Assess The Needs Of Your Business

Assessing the needs of your business before implementing flexible working is vital to ensure it is beneficial for you as an employer and your employees.

Every business is different, therefore you need to look at arrangements that suit your particular culture, operations and overall business needs. It’s important to think about:

  • Why are you implementing flexible working? Do you want to improve employee productivity or staff morale? Identifying why you are implementing it will help you measure its success later on.
  • What arrangements complement your business? If your business needs to meet high service demands at certain times, flexible hours may not be the best option as you’ll want to have a full team delivering service at the busiest times. However, working remotely or offering staggered hours could be more suitable alternatives.
  • What potential risks are there? By assessing your needs, you can anticipate any potential challenges or risks, this can help to ensure that once implemented, the benefit is a success.

Develop A Flexible Working Request Policy

Once you know which flexible working options are most suited to your business, it’s vital to create a clear policy which outlines what these are. Within this policy, you should document things such as:

  • The eligibility criteria
  • Types of flexible working arrangement available
  • Guidance on equipment and technology for flexible working
  • Security protocols
  • Processes for requesting flexible working.

It’s essential when implementing flexible working to set clear and realistic expectations. This will help avoid any misunderstanding, conflicts or disputes.

Launch Your Flexible Working Benefits

Once you’ve made all your decisions, you can announce your flexible working policy. You need to communicate it clearly and consistently across a range of channels. Don’t be afraid to use as many of the following as you like:

  • Email communications
  • All employee meetings
  • One-to-one meetings
  • Webinars
  • Desk-drops, posters and visual aids in the office.

Make sure your line managers know their roles and responsibilities. This is key to making a new policy successful. For instance, you may decide that staff can work remotely, but need to commit to core hours. If so, make sure that it’s clearly communicated within your policy.

Review Your Flexible Working Policy

Once your policy has been in place for a while, take the time to assess how things are going. You should be enjoying increased productivity, higher morale, and improved employee retention.

If you’ve identified any pitfalls in your approach, now is the time to address them. For instance, remote workers might feel out-of-the-loop compared to office-based staff. To resolve this, you could set up a regular time slot for your team to socialise virtually.

While you’re fine-tuning your policy, it’s good to check in with your staff again. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and consider how their ideas could strengthen your approach.

Compare Employee Benefits Quotes And Get Expert Advice

At Drewberry™, we take the time to understand the employee benefits that people value most. Flexible working is undoubtedly one of them. But there are plenty more out there that can help take your business to the next level. This can support you in building better relationships with more engaged employees.

Our job is to provide you with financial advice services for a wide range of areas. We can help you improve your personal finances and introduce effective employee benefits.

To learn more about how we can help your business, drop one of our experts a message. You can reach us on 02074425880 or by emailing We’re always happy to help!

Why Speak to Us?

We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.

We all deserve a first class service when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

If you need pension advice or want to discuss the right group scheme for your team, email You can also call us today on 02074425880 and speak to one of our friendly expert advisers.

Compare Top 10 UK Providers

Takes approx. 60 seconds
Verified by Norton Symantec icon
 Or Call Us

Contact Us

Head Office & Pensions and Investments
Senator House
85 Queen Victoria Street
Personal Insurance & Accounts Payable
Telecom House
125-135 Preston Road
Drewberry London Office MapDrewberry Brighton Office Map

If you are unhappy with our service, we have a complaints procedure, details of which are available upon request. If you are unhappy with how your complaint has been dealt with, you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS website is

Drewberry Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Companies House No. 06675912

Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

Drewberry Ltd (Financial Conduct Authority No. 505473) is an Appointed Representative of Quilter Wealth Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning

Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


Drewberry™ uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website you agree to the use of cookies including for ad personalization.

If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.