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Authored by Claire Lish, Head of Professional Development, ABP Board

The recent achievement of Royal Assent for the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 heralds a new era in the world of business psychology. As the Association for Business Psychology (ABP), we recognize the profound impact this legislation will have on improving business performance and the quality of working lives for millions of British workers.

Flexible working is not merely a matter of convenience; it is a powerful driver of enhanced employee well-being, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. At the ABP, we believe in promoting professional excellence and a community of practice in business psychology, advocating for the informed application of research, knowledge, and methodologies to create workplaces that thrive.

The act’s provisions, including granting employees the right to request flexible working from day one of a new job and reducing waiting times for decisions, demonstrate a progressive approach towards empowering the workforce. This represents a significant opportunity for forward-thinking firms to embrace this flexible working revolution and reap its numerous benefits.

Our recommendations for forward-thinking firms are as follows:

  1. Cultivate a Culture of Openness: Encourage open communication between employees and managers regarding flexible working arrangements. By fostering a culture that embraces employees’ diverse needs and aspirations, businesses can create a more engaged and committed workforce.
  2. Embrace Flexibility as the New Norm: Forward-thinking firms understand that the world of work has evolved, and flexibility is no longer a mere perk but a fundamental aspect of a modern workplace. Embracing flexible working practices as the new norm will not only attract top talent but also drive business success.
  3. Prioritize Talent Retention: The talent war is real, and flexible working has emerged as a powerful retention tool. By accommodating employees’ individual needs, businesses can boost staff motivation and reduce turnover, leading to a more stable and productive workforce.
  4. Leverage Technology: With remote work becoming an integral part of flexible arrangements, invest in technology that supports seamless collaboration and communication among remote teams. Embrace digital tools that enable virtual meetings, project management, and remote access to resources.
  5. Educate and Train Managers: Equip managers with the necessary skills to effectively manage remote and flexible teams. Training on communication, goal-setting, and performance management in a flexible work environment will empower managers to lead their teams to success.
  6. Monitor and Evaluate: Regularly assess the impact of flexible working practices on employee well-being and business outcomes. Listen to employee feedback and adapt policies as needed to ensure continuous improvement.

Our members, as experts in business psychology, are well-positioned to guide organisations in embracing flexible working practices and reaping their numerous benefits. As the paradigm of work continues to shift, our community of practitioners will champion the transformative power of flexible working, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable business growth across various industries.

The ABP is committed to supporting our members in navigating the evolving landscape of modern work and equipping them with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively support organizations in this transition. Through shared best practices, research insights, and continuous professional development opportunities, our members will play a vital role in shaping the future of work.  Check out our upcoming events and discussions HERE.

As we celebrate this milestone, we invite all our members to be ambassadors of flexible working, driving positive change in workplaces and advocating for the well-being and success of both individuals and organizations. Together, let us embrace the flexible working revolution and create a future where businesses flourish, and employees thrive.

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