As another year overshadowed by restrictions has drawn to a close and uncertainty shrouds the start of 2022, Viewber looks at how workforces can plan for a new reality
There are a number of interlinked and recurring themes that continue to dominate business headlines: flexible working, home-based offices, wellbeing and work-life balance.
Flexible working in particular has transitioned from an emergency measure to a recognised way of operation, and its permanence is in the process of being ratified.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has been consulting on the theme of ‘Making Flexible Working the Default’. It’s the strongest indication yet that the traditional, office-based 9-5 working pattern is about to be mothballed in favour of something more responsive, with industry heavyweights beginning to lend their opinions.
In its response to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s consultation, the Law Society of England and Wales said it would like the ability to request flexible working arrangements as soon as someone is hired.
It is hoped that open discussions regarding flexibility at the start of someone’s employment will save potentially trickier conversations happening later on.
It is, however, worth noting that all employees have had the right to request a flexible working arrangement – covering work location, working hours and work pattern – since 2014 but the caveat has been they needed to have completed 26 weeks as an employee before they could make such a request.
For many industries, the thought of an agile, decentralised workforce fills managers with dread but in property, what some perceive as a negative could actually be a huge positive.
The very nature of agency means staff are often away from their desks, travelling from property to property, and with slick cloud-based software, there are no IT drawbacks that prevent agents from working remotely.
Sadly, there is no rule that states flexible working is a mandatory option and for now, employers have the right to turn down flexible working requests.
For some businesses, agree to more amenable working arrangements will offer staff no real advantage, as they are coming from an unsustainable and unhealthy position of seven-day a week open and long, unsociable office hours. Any new flexibility will simply bring them in line with the ‘old standard’ style of working.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the self-employed estate agency model is growing, which gives agents the ability to set their own hours and place of work, while sadly other real talent is leaving the property sector in search of new horizons. Here at Viewber, we often add ex-estate agents to our network as we offer the ultimate in flexible working.
Our Viewbers make themselves available when it is convenient for them – working around family commitments, hobbies and even other jobs.
Our software makes it simple for Viewbers to block out when they’re unavailable and accept assignments with ease. There’s no minimum or maximum job quota either, with plenty of 9-5, evening, weekend and Bank Holiday work available.
Viewber considers itself a founder member of the flexible working movement, and we look forward to supporting estate and letting agents as they transition to a new way of working in the future.
Housing Digital Stakeholder Viewber offers a wide range of property services to the UK Housing Sector, working collaboratively with organisations to offer, via an intuitive portal and app, access to a fully nationwide network of trusted, vetted and local ‘Viewbers’.
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.