Flexible working arrangements are now available to all workers in the UK, regardless of their length of service. This change comes as part of the government’s plans to make flexible working the default option for all employees. Sir James Dyson, the founder and chief engineer of the Dyson, has criticized this move, calling it “staggeringly self-defeating.”

While Dyson’s assessment is understandable, it seems to be missing the why. Why would people rather work from home? It’s not all about people trying to be lazy. There are many reasons why this has become a more popular option for many, especially in light of recent events. For some, childcare responsibilities have changed or they may need to take care of elderly parents or other relatives. Others simply don’t want to deal with a long commute. Whatever the reason, working from home has become a more appealing option for many.

In light of recent developments in UK legislation regarding flexible working arrangements, it is clear that American companies need to get ahead of this curve and adapt their own policies accordingly. This does not mean simply making demands of employees to return or else; rather, it requires a proactive approach that takes into account changing needs and expectations.  As we all adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, it is important for leadership to understand the impact that this has had on employees’ lives.