Flexible working – not just for the “with kid”

Don’t have a kid but want to know if you can work flexibly? Read on…

kid on a swing

“Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg having flexible start and finish times, or working from home.” Gov.uk/flexible-working

This used to be only for those who are parents but this all changed in 2014. Legally anyone with more than 26 weeks’ continuous service can now apply for flexible working. It isn’t just for mothers, parents or carers of little ones, in today’s society its now something most people would like to benefit from it.

Millennials – those who want a better work life balance, those who recognise the importance of social media/ technology in today’s world, go for it. Online presence is so big at the moment, blogging, vlogging, being a foodie, and crafting are just a few hobbies that people want to be able to have time to dedicate to. 24/7 availability of products and services means people don’t simply want to work a 9-5. A bit like the Beyoncé song Haunted “There’s people on this planet just working 9-5 to stay alive – how come?” – How come indeed! You have the right to apply for flexible working, get out of the 9-5.

Most good companies will have a flexible working policy, but most of them I have seen (and being a HR consultant, with over 10 years’ experience – I’ve seen a lot) are nothing more than a “best practice” document. Yes, we have one, yes we will consider applications for flexible working but no we won’t promote this. Do you know you can actually ask for an informal flexible working agreement? You don’t always have to put in a full application.

Our working week as most of us know it runs from Monday through to Friday but this wasn’t always the case – back in the early 1900’s at the turn of the century the workers were fighting against factory owners to be allowed to have off Saturday afternoons and Sundays, even back then time away from the day job was under an agreement from the employer. Isn’t it madness that we still have to agree it when flexible working could easily be incorporated from the recruitment stage?

Opening such flexible roles not only promote being a good employer who is willing to go that extra mile but also opens up the opportunity to find some of that talent that is currently unused, create a competitive edge (internally and externally), increases diversity, but also adds to the general economy.

Asking to work flexibly isn’t just for those who would like to work part time either. It can be as little a change as asking to come in at 9.30am once a week. Or perhaps asking to come in early other days in order to leave at 2pm on a Friday afternoon. Did you know even asking to work from home one day a week can be classed as wanting flexible working.

We have so much flexibility on how we choose to spend our spare time, now is the time to have a go at getting employers to realise flexible working is for everyone and anyone. The more people who request this, the more it should be driven into a company’s culture and ultimately a societal norm – one day it should be a given that one’s work life balance is in your own hands and not a case of applying for flexible working.

Feel free to check out my website www.hr-puzzle.com and I’m on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram if you want to get in touch.

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