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Navigating Choppy Water: Flexibility Ripple Effects in the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future of Remote and Hybrid Working

Wheatley, Daniel ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6753-2867, Broome, Matthew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6963-8884, Dobbins, Tony ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4159-5218, Hopkins, Benjamin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7319-5249 and Powell, Owen H. J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6229-9912 (2023) Navigating Choppy Water: Flexibility Ripple Effects in the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future of Remote and Hybrid Working. Work, Employment and Society.

wheatley-et-al-2023-navigating-choppy-water-flexibility-ripple-effects-in-the-covid-19-pandemic-and-the-future-of.pdf - Published Version
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<jats:p> This article investigates the challenges of navigating the adoption of remote and hybrid working for large organizations with diverse functions. Focus groups with employees of the UK business of a multinational organization identify conceptual contributions to the sociology of work and employment and empirical findings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that inform future policy and practice. Location-based flexible working has a potential unintended ‘ripple’ effect wherein application of individual-level flexibility has wider-reaching consequences throughout the organization. Findings emphasize that organizations need to recognize and respond to new realities of location-based flexibility. Management must navigate potential ‘ripples’ in the development of flexible working policies and practice, shaped by various tensions, including an overarching autonomy–control paradox. This requires a coordinated approach centred on ‘inclusive flexibility’ and ‘responsible autonomy’ that involves moving away from one-size-fits-all strategies towards a tailored approach offering employees choice, agency and voice in decision-making, while accommodating different stakeholder needs. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09500170231195230
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8692

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