The HR consultancy said it has been assisting firms across multiple sectors in the North-east to introduce a range of flexible working trials. These include moving to an output or productivity-based work system, whereby employees receive an additional one day off per month with no reduction in pay – providing productivity targets are met.
During the first quarter of the year, Align saw a 75 per cent increase in requests from businesses looking for support to implement permanent hybrid working practices and flexible working trials.
It noted that other clients have introduced flexibility in allowing employees to choose their start and finish times – provided core hours are being covered they can opt to work on a more flexible basis to fit in with their lifestyles and family commitments.
Businesses have reported an “overwhelmingly positive reaction” so far from employees involved in this three-month trial.
Align has also experienced more candidates asking questions about the flexibility of working time, and opportunities for remote or hybrid working during the recruitment process.
Chief executive Alison Paton, who is also vice-chair of the CIPD professional body for the North Scotland and Islands branch, said: “While businesses have had to embrace remote working and then a hybrid working model over the last two years, we’re now entering a period where there is a call to retain the hybrid working model as a permanent fixture within businesses going forward.
“This brings scenarios and questions that need to be analysed and answered from both employers and employees, and we’ve seen this activity really ramp up since the start of 2022.
“We’ve been helping to facilitate inclusive conversations with employees, providing reassurance that in this changed work-life landscape, their employer is still interested in them as an individual, and their contribution at work is valued.
“This type of conversation is time well-spent in terms of maintaining employee loyalty, engagement and motivation. Being conscious of this and creating a sense of belonging for employees will also help businesses retain their talent in a buoyant job market,” she added.