Following its research that showed disabled workers, women, parents and those with caring responsibilities are particularly at risk of losing out on opportunities when remote working, the foundation made several recommendations to make sure government supports an inclusive transition to hybrid working.
Flexible working and inclusivity:
In addition to requiring companies with more than 250 staff to publicly publish their flexible and hybrid working policies, monitoring how they affect different worker groups, the foundation has asked government to include modules on equality, diversity and inclusion in its Help to Grow: Management programme.
It also recommended developing an employer campaign and accreditation programme to promote inclusive flexible working practices and for government to prioritise inclusive employers with its funding and procurement.
Supporting calls by the TUC, it recommended all jobs be made flexible by default, which is currently being considered as part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) flexible working reform.
The foundation said the government’s decision to give people the right to request flexible working from their first day in the job is a move in the right direction, but it should take this agenda further.
Work Foundation policy analyst Heather Taylor said: “Lowering barriers for people to request remote working is essential particularly for disabled workers, for whom access to this form of flexible work can be central to their ability to manage their condition and remain in work.
“Government should take this agenda further. Employers too should proactively address these challenges to avoid rolling back on progress made towards greater inclusion in the workplace, by consulting with staff to develop an approach to remote and flexible work, and ensuring managers are adequately trained and prepared to manage hybrid teams and role model hybrid working.”