17 Feb 2017

Flexible working and the future office

The Future of Corporate Headquarters: Is London's Dominance Waning? BCO And Burges Salmon Report


This is the first of four articles from independent UK law firm Burges Salmon LLP considering issues that will shape the future of the headquartered office and which are identified in our research paper: 'The Future of Corporate Headquarters: Is London's Dominance Waning?'. You can follow the discussion on the future of the headquarter office by using #futurehq on Twitter.

People are demanding to work differently – the ‘9-5, job for life’ model is fast becoming outmoded and no more so than in London, where agile working, flexibility and portfolio careers are the buzz words ‘du jour’. So for employers keen to win in the war for talent, an enthusiasm for looking imaginatively at how and where their employees work is key.

With housing costs making central London living out of reach for most, many employees are looking to work for employers who are willing to embrace regular home-working and have in place the technology to allow this.  Cutting out the commute can be a win:win for all; offering opportunities for the employer to reduce/reallocate office space and, for the worker, the benefit of valuable time-savings.

However, beware the bear trap that is ‘out of sight out of mind’. Employers’ responsibilities towards their employees don’t stop at the revolving doors in the HQ atrium and the contract of employment may need to be updated accordingly. For example, care needs to be taken to ensure that the home environment offers a safe place of work for the employee and Working Time obligations and data protection requirements must continue to be met.  Equally the employer will want to ensure that acceptable confidentiality standards can be maintained and that expectations as to required levels of productivity are clearly understood by the worker.

However, with employees increasingly welcoming the opportunity to work from home on a regular basis, employers who are able to offer this should reap the rewards from this competitive advantage.