Back in November of last year it seemed that party politics wouldn’t stand in the way of governmental support for hybrid working, after Labour MP, Tulip Siddiq, read out a Flexible Working Bill that promised the model would be a “right for all rather than a perk for the few”. The bill was met with support from all the main players, including the current ruling party, the Conservatives, who were at the time even considering rolling out legislation that would make working from home more accessible to employees upon request.
But since then, messaging has been pretty inconsistent, with each party forming their own policy (or lack thereof) on the future of work. So what are the key players saying, and how should that inform your own company policy? Read on to find out.
Most employers will be waiting to see what the majority party have to say about hybrid working before implementing their own policies - but that could be the main dissonance here, as the Conservatives are actually in favour of putting the onus on employers themselves to decide what model fits them.
However, that’s not to say that individual politicians haven’t come out with their own opinions - most recently, Rishi Sunak suggested that going back into the office would be beneficial for young workers just starting in their career, even suggesting that the past year has harmed their chances for future progression. But it’s clear that this isn’t a view shared unanimously, if the government’s recent installment of a Flexible Working Taskforce, which provides advice to employers on getting back to work, is anything to go by.
Again, while there hasn’t been any official party messaging, it’s clear that Labour are leaning further towards proposing flexible working be implemented as part of state policy, rather than on a case-by-case basis. Deputy Leader Angela Rayner recently commented on a trip to Hull that employers should be mandated to provide all workers with the option of flexible working, if it is a practical possibility.
Taking perhaps the clearest stance of any party, the Green Party manifesto has already promised to ‘support employers to deliver four day working weeks in their workplace’. It goes on to say that this policy hopes to benefit individuals by ‘freeing up people to spend more time with their loved ones and doing things they love – with no loss of pay’. They also aim to incentivise working closer to home, including encouraging the use of ‘more local workstation hubs’ to reduce emissions caused by travel.
The SNP have made it one of their key goals to make Scotland ‘the best place to live, work and do business’, by calling for all organisations to implement both a Living Wage and Living Hours, as well as more flexible working policies. Much like the Greens, they similarly see potential benefits to a four-day week - their website promises to establish a ‘£10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits’ of such a model.
We’re yet to see a clearer-cut stance, beyond their support for flexible working in November, from the Lib Dems. However, Alex Cole-Hamilton, who recently began a leadership bid in the Scottish branch of the party, highlighted the importance of ensuring good wifi and access to technology for those working and studying in rural Scotland. This suggests that the Lib Dems are in no rush to move away from flexible working policy either.
Overall, while some employers might be hesitant to commit to changes without clearer government guidance, the trends all point towards flexible working being here to stay. So why not get ahead of the curve and give hybrid working a go with Narau? We do all the hard work of finding flexible desk spaces near you and your employees, so you can simply search, book, and work.
Why not check out our recent Twitter thread all about the politics of flexible working too? You can find us @narauspaces.