Want to work flexibly?


Today’s the day – 30 June 2014. From today, any employee who has been working for 6 months can request flexible working in the UK, whether they are a parent or carer or not. 20 million people have the right to ask. What impact will this have do you think?

Status re flexible working

Employees want flexible working but presenteism in the office still pervades the work culture in many businesses and an old fashioned 9-5 model of work (often 8-6 in reality!) still exists that creates commuting bottle necks that could be avoided. Companies have become more open to flexible working, but because it jobs to adopt & accommodate flexible working. How to balance clients’ needs and employee demands is the key.

Impact of failure to embrace flexible working
Employee needs and wants are rarely the driver for employers embracing flexible working, when this would enhance motivation, reduce stress and enable firms to operate more 24/7. It is hardly surprising there is a huge drain of talented women from many companies as a refusal to adopt flexible working often gives working mothers no other option but to exit.

Growing desire for better work life balance
The younger generation’s desire for flexibility, enabling technology and a growing employee voice helped by social media will be catalysts for change, as will be lost productivity with peak commuting bottlenecks. Flexible working has become associated with women, but men want it too and wanting a good work life balance is a common and growing desire. In many professions, a request for flexible working is like career suicide.

Transport & commuting challenges
The core problem is that too many people travel to work at the same time on transport infrastructures that are feeling the strain. Data on transport utilization and population growth, especially in London and the South East, indicates that the problem will get worse not better.

What types of flexible working are there?

There are a number of types of flexible working – which one appeals to you?

Self-employment – the ultimate in flexibility – choose your own hours

Part time working – less than full time hours

Flexi time – freedom to choose to work within agreed set hours

Staggered hours – employees have different start and end times enabling employees to avoid commuting and businesses to open longer

Compressed working hours – cover standard hours in fewer days

Job sharing – two workers agree hours and split a full time job between them

Term time working – take paid or unpaid leave during the holidays

Home working/teleworking – spend some/all hours working away from the office

V time working – reduce hours for an agreed period with guarantee of full time work when this period ends

Zero hour contracts – work only hours the employer needs

Sabbatical/career break – employees are allowed to take time off for an agreed time, either paid or unpaid.

5 tips about flexible working

If you are looking to negotiate flexible working with your current or future employer, here are 5 tips:

• Create a business case for your employer to work more flexibly with data about increased productivity working from home.
• Look ahead to tomorrow as well as today. Will you be a carer or parent in future and if so, how can you start the ball rolling today to work more flexibly?
• Get up to speed with your legal rights.
• Find out your employer’s policy on flexible working.
• Think about possible objections and barriers to you working flexibly and brainstorm ideas and responses to overcome them

Self-reflective question
“If I could design my working life to suit my needs, what would I choose?”

Inspiring quote
“We all have two choices. We can make a living or we can design a life.” Jim Rohn.

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PS I have just written a chapter for a new book being published by Globe Law & Business in the Autumn – ‘the impact of coaching on work life balance’. I am self-employed so I can and do work flexibly. I am naturally an early bird, so my flexible working is waking at 4am ish and having a nap at about 2-3pm!

Coaching at 6am is a good time for me :-)

  • Victoria Kelly

    Unfortunately trying to find a marketing job within the fashion and beauty industries is very
    competitive. Relevant experience is paramount to entering this sector so definitely
    keep up with your fashion and beauty blog. Have you tried contacting smaller fashion or beauty companies or even start-ups to see if you could help with their marketing – this could include blogs, social media etc? Good luck!

  • Promilla Caughey

    Hi Helen, I am stuck in a marketing rut. I have over 10 years experience of working with people in various jobs from customer service roles to business development , event management and marketing. I have lived and worked overseas and now finally back in Scotland. I am finding it very hard to find a job in marketing as don’t have any formal qualifications. Do you think its necessary to have marketing/digital marketing qualifications ? Happy to do courses if they lead to a job? as the professional courses are not cheap. Any advice would be great.