back to article Hey, Marissa Mayer: Flexi working time is now LAW in UK. Yahoo!

Britain has today introduced new flexible working laws which could finally free beleaguered wage-slaves from the misery of office-based working. At least, that's the promise of the new laws, which allow people to ask their bosses for compressed hours, part time work or any other arrangement which allows them a few precious …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    allow people to ask their bosses

    I'm sure the bosses will be open to any suggestions!

  2. Dr_N Silver badge

    So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

    You: Can I have Flexitime?

    Boss: No.

    There was a law needed passing for this!?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

      It's called angling for the votes.

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

      Actually that's yesterday.

      Today it's

      You: Can I have Flexitime?

      [Wait three months]

      Boss: No.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

        [Wait three months]

        Boss: No.

        Nearly. They are now obliged to provide a justification for the no. This is something HR can do once and they can use it from now onwards.

        The result is that businesses which do not want to say yes or cannot say yes for valid reasons will continue saying no. Similarly, businesses which were amenable to this before will continue saying yes. So all in all, nothing has changed as a result.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. rtb61

      Re: So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

      How to get Flexitime.

      You: I 'want' flexitime

      Union Rep: Sure cool

      Union Rep: The Workers want flexitime

      Boss: NO

      Union Rep: STRIKE

      Boss: Yes

      You now have flexitime.

      1. Spleen

        Re: So you can now legally ask for flexitime?

        Union Rep: STRIKE

        Boss: We're outsourcing this department to a country where people actually want to work in exchange for money. You're all redundant.

        You now have reallyreallyflexitime.

  3. Hollerith 1

    Flexitime makes sense in principle

    The fact that only parents used to be given this, but not, say carers, means that the law is now more fair. However, the colleagues of mine who have perked up with interest either are already parents who use this to their advantage, and now see it as a way of getting even more time working from home (and the most eager do the least when at home), or are work-shy type who now see this as a way of getting more nap-time.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Modern businesses know that flexible working boosts productivity and staff morale, and helps them keep their top talent so that they can grow"

    ...so we need to force them to do it.

    I think a found a piece of good old Aristolean logic behind the sofa. Maybe it can be useful in parliament?

    1. h4rm0ny

      Good catch. Not sure why you're getting downvotes because you're not saying there's anything wrong with flexible or remote working - you're just pointing out the dubious logic in forcing businesses to do what's good for them. If they thought it was, they wouldn't need to be forced!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > If they thought it was, they wouldn't need to be forced!

        I think you're giving middle-managers far too much credit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are having to force me to do it - we moved to fancy new offices during the downturn, and now there aren't enough "hot desks" for all the staff they've employed, and we are all supposed to work from home two days a week.

      However, they don't provide nor subsidize my internet or electricity usage, they don't provide equipment other than a laptop, my home isn't air conditioned nor insulated from outside sounds.

      I still have to be able to travel in to work on any day they demand, so I still require an annual travel card.

      Collaboration is harder when working remotely, and I frequently find myself still staring at a problem at 8pm.

      It's all utter bullshit - before they ran out of desks, we were almost forbidden to work from home, now they are extolling the benefits and telling us how magical they are making it for us to provide our own desks, keyboards, electricity and monitors, how super.

      You can tell when HR are about to drop some bullshit on you, they pre-select sycophants, I'm sorry, "champions" from each department whose job it is to take abuse instead of HR for the change, on the basis that you're less likely to be angry with your mate Bob than some HR drone, and to keep pushing their agenda. Fucknuts, the lot of them.

  5. auburnman

    Reasons for rejecting

    Per the Gov website include:

    extra costs which will damage the business

    the business is planning changes to the workforce

    Vague and nebulous enough that this can be another tickbox exercise like the 'maximum working week' we were expected to immediately opt out of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reasons for rejecting

      It's always going to involve extra costs.

  6. Arachnoid

    So this would be

    A disguise for annulaised hours and zero hours contracts for which the employer would state its to give the employee more family time

  7. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    More "management versus labor" mentality

    I cannot buy into this. An employee knows the requirements of a job up-front, and traditional job requirements are that you work in the office or store or whatever. So you take a job which does not offer work-from-home or flexible scheduling; just because your lifestyle changes does not mean your employer's should, as well. That a business cannot produce a viable business-related reason is, and should be in relation to this law, irrelevant. If a business owner does not want his or her employees working outside of the confines of a physical location or outside of a particular schedule, that should be the final word on the matter.

    Some employers may be amenable to the suggestion and perhaps even see it as an opportunity or advantage, while others may not. Like any other situation, if you do not like the outcome you are welcome to leave and find another situation. As well, if a particular business which could greatly benefit from flexible scheduling against its competition does not offer this scheduling, it is doomed to failure.

    All this kind of law does is further shackle the hands of the assumed-to-be oppressive business in favor of the poor employee. Little more than perpetuating classic manager-labor disharmony clap-trap, attempting to shift the power to the put-upon labor. I suspect that we will soon see amendments and additions to this rule which make it more difficult to can a flexible employee who is not producing, including laws which make it near impossible to uphold the claim or recall the employee to the place of business for supervision.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      All this kind of law does is further shackle the hands of the assumed-to-be oppressive business in favor of the poor employee

      Lucky (or unlucky) that the shackles are only made from rainbows then (I guess the dichotomy is reversed for unicorns)

    2. Richard Jones 1
      Flame

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      OK it is twelve years since I retired and things might have changed. However, I often used to work from home, dodging train strikes, tube strikes power issues, etc. and was always surprised at how much more I got done while not in the office. Most employers actually want the output not presentesim. I admit that I did miss out on the two hour grind into and out of the office, but the employer was not really employing me to do that they wanted the actual output.

      The company's big issue appears to have been that the senior management were sat somewhere on a magic mushroom eating or smoking the darned thing until nothing was left. So like just about everyone retirement or redundancy was the result.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

        I used to work for a large international consultancy house. I spent 14 of those years working on client sites and occassionally from home. The problem was, you became fairly isolated. I spent 14 years being productive and running from one project to another. I spent less than 3 months "on the bench" waiting for a new project to come along during that time.

        Then, all of a sudden, I was ill for a couple of months. When I came back, there was no new project waiting and I was expected to use my "network" of colleauges to find a new project. The problem was, having had no real contact with any colleagues on a long term basis, just faces that I saw for a couple of months, then never again, I didn't have a network. I had no good contacts within the company in a position to find me a project. Many of the people I had worked with had moved on and I resorted to going through the directory of senior project managers and division managers trying to find a project; people who didn't know me from Adam, and despite good performance reviews it was very difficult to find that next project. I eventually did, but it was a hard lesson, and I wasn't even flexi-working, I was just visitng my "office" once every a year for my annual review and spending 16 hours a day (including commuting) working directly for clients.

        Flexi-working is all well and good, but it also means you become more isolated. Maybe today, through company social tools, like Lync, it might be easier to keep in contact, but if you spend prolonged periods of time out of the office, you will become isolated and find it harder to progress or keep in touch with what is going on.

        There has to be a balance and I think it is very hard to find.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      How about swapping out those laptops for desktops that will show em huh....peskie employees will have to be in the office then but what you lose all those free hours your employees do in the evenings...

      Oh my... what a dilemma.. you seem a little stuck in the past, you should be managing by results not the hours employees sit at the desk Alt-Tabing when the manager comes by....

      "An employee knows the requirements of a job up-front, "

      Not if the employer decides to move to a cheaper office the other side of town...or even lie during the interview process about how often they expect you to go to the other office/travel to client sites etc.

      Just to help with the downvotes, I've never met an employee with kids that does more hours than an employee that doesn't have children, they just have shorter memories and forget about needing to leave early because it's a parents evenings, WFH cause little johnny is unwell, sorry I'm late little johnny had a strop at the creche, the nanny didn't turn up etc

      As a side note, I doubt that we would have enough road capacity, if everyone had to be in the office every day.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

        <i>I've never met an employee with kids that does more hours than an employee that doesn't have children</i>

        Then allow me to be the first.

        I work the third most hours in my team, behind the boss and one of the contractors. My wife & I share the view that as our entire family income is now secured upon my continued employment, retaining my role and up to date skills have become imperative. Previously we would have had her income to fall back on.

        I don't work many more hours than the childless members of the team, maybe 5 more per week. Just enough that I can deliver more output on a continuous basis, while keeping my skills up to date.

        Our childcare issues have zero impact on my employer, as I take the afternoon off for parents evenings (got to use the annual leave for something) and my wife handles the rest due to being a stay at home mum.

        Odd that you would try to use the abolition of an existing division to create friction between groups. Perhaps you have an agenda?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      "traditional job requirements are that you work in the office or store or whatever"

      Alan proves that time travel is possible, by posting his comment from the year 1860, when employer and employees knew their rightful positions.

      Helpful message to Alan: Don't be on the Lady Elgin crossing Lake Michigan in September of your year - it sinks.

    5. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      "An employee knows the requirements of a job up-front, and traditional job requirements are that you work in the office or store or whatever."

      @ Alan W. Rateliff, II

      I see where you are coming from with that, but I think 'traditional' job requirements might be changing as we try to get more responsive, but that is another discussion.

      Flexibility: This is in the UK context of course. What about the situation where a valued experienced and performant employee experiences a change in circumstances without a clear resolution in the short term, i.e. is sole carer for an elderly parent and parent needs hospitalisation? Anyone with experience of how that works will tell you about a) sudden discharge of elderly parent b) gaps in continuity of social service provisions due to communications between social services and hospital c) protracted 'needs assessments' to access support both physical (wheel chairs &c) and service (meals on wheels, home care assistant).

      They need a bit of flexibility. Can't predict how long in short to medium term (long term that old geezer in the hoodie with the sythe will take care of the situation). What are you going to do? Say "no"? Sack them?

      Just wondering.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      "An employee knows the requirements of a job up-front, and traditional job requirements are that you work in the office or store or whatever."

      I agree, so the flip side, the employer knows that the employees hours are say 9am - 5:30pm, therefore;

      that need for evening work, that phone call at 7am in a panic, or the request for weekend work, because someone is sick, will be all be taken into account as they will have a dedicated team to fill in those slots...after all we wouldn't want the employee working outside what they signed up for would we?

    7. rizb

      Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

      I beg to differ.

      Working from home - if you're in a position where you can - benefits everyone. You're not rushing, you don't need to piss about ironing shirts or whatever, you don't have a hellish drive or train journey to work, YOU CANNOT BE LATE (and thus cost business time), you do not throw your income away on commuting or canteen food (which means, technically, you don't need s much - frequent WFH could be interpreted as an indirect pay rise), you probably don't need hardware or hardware support from the office, you cost the office less in overheads and utilities...

      I'd love to work from home. The presence of a baby in the home makes this impractical at best and a nightmare at worst but my situation isn't all that usual in the long term.

      If it's straightforward for a company to implement working from home, they are fools not to.

      If they refuse your request to work from home, that could be reasonable. There are always reasons. However, circumstances change. For the next couple of years I expect to be incapable of working from home due to constant distraction/interruption. After that... if I'm still where I work now, I will damn well ask to do so.

      It's nice that I can do this and it must be considered on its merits.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

        you do not throw your income away on commuting

        Most "work from home" schemes still have you coming in to the office on a regular enough basis that it is still cheaper to buy a monthly/annual rail card than a succession of day returns.

        So its like you save on commuting, without actually saving on commuting.

        1. ratfox Silver badge

          Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

          I've never met an employee with kids that does more hours than an employee that doesn't have children

          You might not have looked closely; it's called confirmation bias. In any case, as a different data point, the guy who works the longest hours in my team is a father.

          OT, I can believe that having some leeway makes you more happy and productive. However, I'd say that working at home full-time (the way it was accepted at Yahoo before Marisa Meyer) only works well for very few people in a small number of positions.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

          "So its like you save on commuting, without actually saving on commuting."

          Sounds like your talking about a couple of hours commute each way, so even if you can't save on the monetary cost of commuting, you get 2-4 hours of your life back for each day you work from home.

        3. The First Dave

          Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

          " still cheaper to buy a monthly/annual rail card"

          Doesn't make much sense for me, since I drive to work - public transport is a joke round here.

        4. Charles Manning

          Re: More "management versus labor" mentality

          "So its like you save on commuting, without actually saving on commuting."

          Surely your commuting time is more valuable than your rail fare?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why is Marissa Mayer ...

    ... still CEO of Yahoo?

    THAT is the question.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why is Marissa Mayer ...

      because no one else wants it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why is Marissa Mayer ...

      THAT is the question.

      Of course the other question is why she's named after a song by the Sex Gang Children.

  9. Eradicate all BB entrants

    The biggest benefit to .....

    ..... working from home for me, on the few occasions I have, was unhindered access to a clean toilet. Also I didn't need to take a 5 min walk just to have a cig.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would work for me

    I commute 45minutes each way just to sit in an office on my own for most of the week. Give me the option to work from home and I'd jump at it!

    1. NogginTheNog

      Re: Would work for me

      In which case I'm surprised you haven't asked already? Assuming your employer is reasonable sensible and not old fashioned they may well see the benefits: the time you put in doing work instead of sat in a car, meaning you'll be a happier bunny and very likely a better and more loyal employee. Wins all round!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would work for me

        My employer is reasonable, but a little old-fashioned. And I've not worked there a year, yet. But with this change in the legislation I can well see myself having a conversation with the boss sometime soon...

    2. Persiflage

      Re: Would work for me

      Hang on... you're not me, are you? On my own most of the time, check. 45-minute (fairly stressful) drive, check. It's 45 minutes if I leave by quarter to seven, anyway. After 7am the commuting time goes up by a fairly unpredictable amount, capping out at around an hour and a quarter (unless major motorway cockup, in which case the sky's the limit).

      The vast majority of what I do takes place via e-mail and phone calls anyway. Working from home just two days a week equates to a pay rise of almost £1500 a year for me in fuel costs alone, so I am all in favour!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "wrongly perceived as an industry narrative"

    synonym for bullshit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "wrongly perceived as an industry narrative"

      "wrongly perceived as an industry narrative"

      synonym for bullshit?

      That would be "correctly perceived as an industry narrative" :)

  12. John Sanders
    Meh

    I actually prefer to work at the office...

    Than to do it from home.

    I find the office more conductive to work. At home I'm constantly tripping to the kitchen to eat/drink something and I'm under the impression that I get distracted more easily.

    I do appreciate the option to work from home when the need arises though, like when not feeling well, but otherwise I prefer to come to the office.

    1. auburnman

      Re: I actually prefer to work at the office...

      I find it's a mixed bag myself. I can focus much more when I'm left alone to concentrate, but I prefer the office 2 screen setup as opposed to the hell that is trying to work out my shortcuts on my laptop screen. I suppose I could ask for an office, and when that inevitably gets laughed off I could lead into "well, could I do a few flexi hours then?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I actually prefer to work at the office...

      As a contractor I've had a mix of both forms of working as I've moved to different roles. In my experience having the ability to work from home is great for motivating me to put in the extra mile (flexibility to within-reason work when I want, where I want even), and for some work is brilliant as you can get stuck in and really concentrate. But I wouldn't ever want to do that full-time as I also find quite a bit of benefit from being able to go in to an office and interact with others on the team, both on a social and professional level. The ability to mix both is the key for me.

      Note that the law isn't just about working from home, but also the idea of compressed hours: eg. doing a 37 hour week over 4 days. The same hours in the office, but one less daily commute!

      1. Any mouse Cow turd

        Re: I actually prefer to work at the office...

        Not just compressed hours but also flexible hours. I have arranged to start work stupidly early so that I can finish early and collect the kids from school. My wife has done the opposite so she can start a bit later and take the kids to school. Minimises the need for expensive childcare.

  13. Alan Bourke

    Vomit .... heave ... vomit ....

    "“Executives and #GenMobile employees alike prefer an increasingly mobile style of working and IT organizations are feeling the pressure to adapt existing technology investments to meet their requirements,” said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba Networks. "

    #GenMobile ... fuck OFF

    1. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: Vomit .... heave ... vomit ....

      yeah, i read that far, then started to feel ill and I need to go home now...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The kids will never believe it

    "So you drove an hour everyday to sit in a cubicle with a slower internet connection then home, to do work for a boss that you never saw and who worked in a completely different office ?"

    "That's right"

    "....But...."

    The whole thing about not actually Working from home is surely incorrect I mean people are paid for the work they do right? Not just for showing up? If you don't do the work then you wont have a job and you'll be able to home from home very very soon.

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: The kids will never believe it

      I'm paid to turn up pretty much.

  15. TheresaJayne

    I am lucky, I don't need to ask for flexi anything, All I need to do is do 7.5 hours a day and i am sorted

    6:30 am start - 14:00 lunch hour - home at 15:00

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. RonWheeler

    Not just parents

    Glad to see it is not just for parents. Round here i psend half my life covering for 'working from home parents' while I get shafted with manning the phones and dealing with all the random stuff that happens in the office. Curious why my time is less important because I'm not helping to further overpopulate the planet.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Doublethink US politics style. The "Fair Labor Standards Act"

    Or as it's more accurately described the "Treat staff like the vermin they are" Act.

  19. Expectingtheworst

    Cloud working ?

    “Cloud-based technologies and the increased use of mobile devices as our work tools of choice are ushering in a new social, cultural and corporate paradigm where workplaces are more federated and collaborative, less hierarchical and increasingly less location-specific, as more of #GenMobile employees clock in by logging on.”

    6 miles south of Norwich.

    Broadband speed - 0.4Mb/s

    Mobile - 0000 signal strength bands.

    I can see that working well

  20. GreyWolf

    Cloud-based technologies are ushering in a new social, cultural and corporate paradigm where..

    ...client companies go out of business because company data gets destroyed, hacked, stolen, held for ransom much more often...where service providers screw up the service for days at a time with no explanation or apology, or shut down their business with no notice, or lock you out of your data over a minor billing dispute. Just in the last few weeks Amazon Web Services, BT. No-IP have all screwed you over.

    For almost any company, putting your trust in the "Cloud" is a suicide move.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rank and Yank

    I am SURE that Marissa will institute that god awful "Rank and Yank" system of grading employees, that Jack Welch of GE became infamous for. THANKFULLY even Microsoft and HP have dropped that stupid system. But I am SURE that Marissa will go for it because she is so "cutting edge"... LOL

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