What Do The UK’s New Flexible Working Regulations Mean For Startups?

Starting 6 April 2024, the UK has announced new legislation around flexible working.

The newly introduced Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/1328) will allow employees to request flexible working from the very first day of employment. Before that, the law stated that an employee needed to be working at a company for at least 26 weeks to ask for flexible working days.

The new act’s key changes include:

  • Requiring employers to consult with the employee if they need to reject a flexible work request.
  • The time employers have to respond to a request will be 2 months – as opposed to the previous 3.
  • Employees will be able to make 2 requests within a 12-month period – as opposed to 1 previously.

This is the first step in creating a society where flexible working is more widely implemented by employers and standardised across all sectors, giving more workers access to its benefits.

But what does this mean for startups?


The Impact Of Flexible Work On Startups: The Pros


Attraction and Retention


For startups and smaller businesses, offering flexible working from day one can be a major draw. This can be especially appealing to new parents, those who care for relatives or those with children.

According to the CIPD, 71% of employees consider flexible working important when considering a new role. In a job market where attracting the best talent can be tough, this flexibility can help to set a company apart.

Not only that, it gives employees the message that their work-life balance is valued, a huge plus for those looking to stay in a job long-term.


Employee Morale and Productivity


Flexible working has been shown to boost employee morale, increase job satisfaction, and enhance productivity.

In fact, many of those who took part in the government’s 4 day work week experiment reported better wellbeing with no drop in productivity.

When employees are able to manage their work hours more flexibly, they often feel more in control of their work and personal lives, helping curb burnout.


The Impact Of Flexible Work On Startups: The Cons


Management & Culture


Implementing flexible working can lead to some management issues, especially for startups that haven’t sussed their operational structures.

Coordinating teams can be hard when people work different hours or from different locations. It can also be tough to foster a sense of “team” with everyone working in different places. However, investing in the right tools is an easy way to curb this. More ideas on those later!


The Cost Of Tools


For many businesses, the initial investment in the tools needed to support flexible working can be expensive.

However, business owners should see these as a long-term investment in team happiness. It might not yield results instantly, but it certainly will in the long run!


Tech Tools To Facilitate Productive Flexible Work


Many tech tools and platforms exist to help UK businesses manage flexible working. These include:


Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams App » Left Hook


Easy to use and already integrated into the Microsoft Office suite, Teams is a messaging platform that also allows group chat, video calls, file sharing and wider project collaboration, all in one place.



Slack has a new logo and it's ... fine | Mashable


Popular amongst startups, Slack is a chat app. It’s particularly useful for informal internal team chats and has a number of integrations and tools that are great for wider team communication.



File:Asana logo.svg - Wikipedia


This tool helps teams track their work and see the workload of others. A collaborative to-do list, Asana creates whole-team project boards, timelines and an intuitive dashboard that clearly showcases team members working capacity.



File:Trello logo.svg - Wikipedia


Known for its visual task boards, Trello is great for managing projects. The dashboards are widely sharable which is particularly useful for teams that are dispursed or require flexibility.




Automatic Time Tracking


Mainly used for timesheets, Timely is an automatic time tracking tool that helps businesses keep track of what everyone is working on and how long tasks take. By allowing workers to track exactly which tasks they are doing, and for how long, Timely helps companies stay in the know about what all employees are working on.






Harvest is great for businesses who invoice clients and vendors, especially as it offers both time tracking and invoicing features. It’s a great tool for startups to keep an eye on what all employees are billing for, making it easier to manage profitability on a larger scale.