Monday 27 September 2021
The government announces plans to make flexible working the default unless employers have a good reason not to in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto.
It would mean that around 2.2 million more British workers will get more choice over when and where they work, under new proposals to make the right to request flexible working a day one entitlement.
Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss says: ‘No-one should be held back in their career because of where they live, what house they can afford, or their responsibility to family. I want everyone to have the same opportunities regardless of the background or location.’
The consultation looks at a range of flexible working methods such as job-sharing, flexitime, compressed, annualised and staggered hours. But this doesn’t just benefit the employee, research has shown companies that embrace flexible working can attract more talent, improve staff motivation and reduce staff turnover – boosting their business’s productivity and competitiveness.
The CBI Employment Trends survey found that 99% of all businesses surveyed believed that a flexible workforce is vital or important to competitiveness and the prospects for business investment and job creation.
87% of people want to work flexibly, rising to 92% for young people with 9 in 10 employees considering flexible working to be a key motivator to their productivity at work – ranking it as more important than financial incentives.
So if location is less of a limiting factor, what does this mean for the buy to let landscape?
The government is already ‘levelling up’ the North & South, moving HQ’s of big companies from London to Northern cities - the BBC to Manchester & Channel 4 to Leeds are just a couple of companies who’ve already made the move.
The introduction of flexible working should accelerate this levelling up & increase the demand for property in large cities such as Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. As employees no longer need to reside in London where rents are considerably more expensive than the North, they may consider re-locating & commuting for just a few days out of the month. Rents & property values in these cities will therefore increase as the demand does meaning buy to let investors with properties in these locations should see a great benefit from the new flexible working plan.
We saw a rise in the popularity of commuter locations during lockdown & this is likely to stay if flexible working also stays. Access to green space on your doorstep, with just a short journey into a major city is something a lot of people are choosing when they do not need to be in the office 5 days a week. Again, this increase in demand will in turn push up property prices in the area & when the demand is high but supply is low, the amount of rent that can be achieved will also increase.
Many young people will still choose city life due to the lifestyle it brings with it. However there are those who are forced to live in a city due to work, when they’d much prefer to live elsewhere. It is these people that may move out & create the demand in Northern cities or commuter locations if flexible working does become a day one entitlement.