The enforced trial of homeworking brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to many that it works better than they could have imagined and perceived barriers have faded away as managers have learned to design work differently. 

This guide is based on the research project Flexible Working: Lessons from the pandemic. The research involved both HR and operational managers, in a wide range of sectors, including some that don’t obviously lend themselves to flexible working. 

The pandemic has drawn attention to the distinction between flexibility of location and flexibility of hours. On the location scale, some tasks can be done anywhere, while others have to be done in a specific place. On the hours scale, there are tasks that can be done at any time and tasks that need to be done at specific times. 

Figure 1: Identifying tasks that are location-flexible, and tasks that are hours-flexible




The guide is structured in two parts: 

  1. The first part covers flexibility of location, recommending seven strategies for effective and productive homeworking and hybrid working, and focusing on what HR can do in terms of policy, support and training. 
  2. The second part offers advice about using the experience of the pandemic to build the business case for flexibility of hours. 

There is more practical advice in the case studies arising from this research and the organisations involved are cross-referenced throughout. 

Flexible location: seven strategies for hybrid working

Flexible hours: seizing the opportunity?

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