Well-being at work and work/life balance – these things are crucial for employers and employees alike. If employees are well, feel appreciated and valued, they will be their best selves. This will then of course work for the benefit of employers.

In these days of Iphones, Twitter and Facebook, we are constantly connected and available to be contacted. Dr Kathleen Hall is quoted to have said, “We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fuelled with a sense of purpose and balance.”

From an employment law perspective, it is probably fair to say that the law is beginning to catch up with the busy lives that we all lead. Flexible working is becoming more accepted, so too is working remotely, job-sharing and even zero hour contracts. The latter have been criticised but when used correctly can suit both parties.

The Employment Act 2002 gave a right for an employee to request flexible working arrangements by amending the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which arguably remains the most used piece of legislation in employment law, defining rights and obligations of employees and employers. This right was then updated further by section 131 of the Children and Families Act 2014 to remove the requirement to be a carer and so to extend to all qualifying employees. Whilst there is no right to work flexibly, the right being confined to only making a request, the Act requires an employer to “consider the request in a reasonable manner.”

This is quite underused by employees, and whilst the employer can give one of eight reasons for refusing the request, it is an example of how working in 2018 is changing. That said, the cautionary note is to ensure that we do make sure that we press the ‘off button’ and not lose the dividing line between work and our personal life.

National Work Life Week is an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on well-being at work and work-life balance. More information can be found on the Working Families website.

If you would like any advice on any employment matters, take a look at the information on the employment section of our website.

The contents of this post do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only