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A Guide to Flexible Working

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 6 Apr 2020

working desk

If you’re finding it hard to balance your work life with external commitments, it could be worth asking your employer to work flexibly. A study carried out by XpertHR revealed that 80% of employers are prepared to consider requests to work flexibly, whether or not the employee has a legal right to do so.

This could involve changing how long you work, the time at which you start and finish, or even changing the place where you work.

In many cases, a job description will clearly state whether it’s a flexible working opportunity. However, there’s no reason why you can’t ask your employer for flexible working once you’re already in a job.

To have the statutory right to ask for flexible working arrangements, you must:

  • be an employee; and
  • have worked for your employer continuously for 26 weeks at the date on which you make your application; and
  • not be in one of the groups of employees who aren’t entitled to ask for flexible working.

If you do not meet the criteria for making a statutory request, you could still make a non-statutory request, or make one under your employer’s scheme if there is one.

Statistics show 91% of employers who received requests for flexible working in the last year approved them, so if you want to work flexibly, the first step is simply to work out a mutually beneficial way forward for you and your employer – and then just ask.

Some of the most common examples of flexible working include:



Employees may be required to work within set times but outside of these 'core hours' have some flexibility in how they work their hours.



Teleworking is where employees spend part or all of their working week away from the workplace. Homeworking is just one of the types of teleworking.


Part-time working

Employees might work shorter days or fewer days in a week.


Job share

Usually two employees share the work normally done by one person.


Compressed hours

The working week is restructured so that the same number of hours can be worked in fewer days. For example, you could do four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days and gain a day off a week.


If your employer is not completely convinced, consider proposing a trial period of flexible working to show that the arrangement can work. This takes the pressure off the employer as they do not have to fully commit to the arrangement and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that flexible working will not harm your performance.