The UK government recently announced new legislation that gives employees the right to request flexible working from their first day on the job. This is a significant change that will have major impacts on IT departments within organizations across the country. Here’s an overview of what the new measures entail and how IT teams can prepare.
What Are the New Flexible Working Measures?
As of April 2023, all employees will have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements, including working from home, flexitime, and job sharing. Previously, only employees with at least 26 weeks of continuous service had this right. With the new legislation, employers will have a duty to consider requests in a “reasonable manner.”
The government hopes this change will support working families and enable more disabled people and carers to access employment opportunities. It’s part of their goal to make the UK the best place in the world for working families.
How Will This Affect IT Departments?
The influx of flexible working requests will require IT teams to reevaluate their infrastructure and policies. Here are some of the key impacts:
- Increased demand for remote access and collaboration tools. As more employees work from home, IT will need to ensure there are adequate VPN licenses and cloud-based tools for communication and file sharing.
- More endpoints to manage. With employees bringing their own devices to access corporate resources, IT will need strategies for managing and securing devices outside the corporate network.
- Greater network traffic. The growth of remote workers will put more strain on corporate networks. IT needs to monitor bandwidth usage and scale accordingly.
- Rethinking security protocols. Traditional network perimeters will become less relevant. IT needs to take a zero-trust approach focused on identity and multi-factor authentication.
- Updating policies. Remote work and bring-your-own-device policies need to be updated to reflect the new working arrangements.
How Can IT Departments Prepare?
To ensure a smooth transition to increased flexible working, here are some steps IT departments can take:
- Survey employees to gauge remote working needs and preferences. This data can inform infrastructure and policy planning.
- Audit existing technology systems and licenses to see if they are flexible working ready. Identify any upgrades needed.
- Evaluate cybersecurity measures, including VPN capacity, endpoint management systems, and multi-factor authentication tools.
- Develop clear bring-your-own-device and remote work policies that set expectations for employees and IT staff.
- Train employees on best practices for working remotely and securely accessing company data when out of the office.
- Implement IT service management tools to provide support to a distributed workforce.
- Advocate for flexible working to be embedded into company culture from the top-down.
The UK’s new flexible working legislation provides exciting opportunities for employers and employees. But it also creates new challenges for IT teams. By taking proactive steps like auditing systems, updating policies, and training employees, IT departments can ensure they are ready to support an increasingly mobile and remote workforce.
With careful planning and strong leadership, IT can play a pivotal role in making flexible working a win-win for both employees and the organization.