The future is flex: Flexible work is here to stay, companies and policy need to adapt

Flexible and hybrid working – where employees may be afforded more control of where, when and how to work – appears to be here to stay. The pandemic has made us question the way we design, think about and practice work and we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset the way we work for good.

However our own research and others’ suggests that there is significant pushback, access is unequal and positive results are uneven. Employees from higher paying jobs are more able to work from home. Less than half the population (47%) worked remotely during the peak of restrictions in April 2020. There are also geographic inequalities, 57.2% of people in London conducted part of their work from home during the lockdown, compared with just 35.3% of people in the West Midlands. In this context, it is inappropriate for remote working to dominate discussions of the future of work, or fairness in flexibility.

Companies and policymakers are starting to realise there is a need to adapt to new patterns of working – the ILO and WHO have recently published a technical brief asserting that crucial changes are needed both from policymakers and organisations to enhance the wellbeing, health and safety at work. The report highlights the connection between flexible working and extension to other new protections as the world of work transforms, such as the right to disconnect.

And the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has recently concluded a consultation ‘Making flexible working the default’, which proposes the right to request flexible working from day one of employment. This is a light touch approach but invites deliberation on turning the ‘right to request’ into a ‘right to have’, which would remove an employer’s ability to turn down a request for flexible working.

Join this APPG on the Future of Work event to explore key questions when it comes to flexible working, including:

  • Is flexible and/or hybrid working the 'future of work'? 
  • What is the business case for flexible and/or hybrid working? What is the health/wellbeing case? 
  • What does ‘good’ flexible working look like?
  • How can we ensure that more people benefit from good flexible working? 
  • What wider social and economic implications does access to flexible and/or hybrid working have? 
  • What digital rights are needed for the new working era? Is a right to flexible working enough?
  • What new infrastructures do we need to support better and wider access to flexible working e.g. additional childcare support, working spaces nearer home etc?
  • How can mitigate current risks associated with flexible working e.g. how can we ensure that those working flexibly are able to progress their careers/are not at a disadvantage of fewer development opportunities?

Chair: David Davis MP

Confirmed speakers:

  • Emma Stewart, Development Director, Timewise
  • Kate Bravery, Global Advisory and Insight Leader, Mercer (Marsh McLennan)
  • Cheney Hamilton, Founder and CEO, Find Your Flex
  • Abigail Marks, Professor of the Future of Work, Newcastle University Business School
  • Anna Thomas, Director, Institute for the Future of Work

This hybrid event is being held at the House of Commons, with limited capacity to join in-person, which will be reserved for members of the APPG on the Future of Work in the first instance. The event is open for all to attend via Zoom, and a recording of the session will be available shortly after.


July 5, 2022 16:00




House of Commons & online


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