Flexible working, the missing piece in your business?

Flexible working is making some big waves in 2017 as a workplace trend, especially with the General Election coming up next week, will the new governing party take this forward? The opportunity to ramp up the need for more employers to recruit flexibly and accept more flexible working applications should be a key part of the Governments manifesto.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has written its own Manifesto for work in 2017. One key point is “We call on the next government to: Lead and support efforts to create more flexible and inclusive workplaces, to help individuals who are disadvantaged in the labour market, for whatever reason, to access and progress in work.

There needs to be some follow up since the legal change in 2014 when all employees were given the chance to request flexible working, (as long as they had the compulsory 26 weeks’ service with the employer). The change states you can request to work flexibly but that is where the legislation stops.

Flexible working isn’t just having more flexible starting and finishing times or home working but can also cover part time working, term time only working, school hour working days and job sharing to name a few.

laptop

I set up my business after struggling to find a flexible role, after I was made redundant when pregnant. From my own research, I found that generally HR roles are flexible for those who are returning from maternity leave. Flexibility for new roles though? No, that doesn’t seem to happen, even in the world of HR.

Flexible roles are like gold dust – when they do finally come up there is a lot of competition for them. Why not open such sought after roles, which highly skilled women (and men) are just waiting to go into?

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

More than 2/3rds of mothers would go back to work with flexible working. 2.6 million mothers are not currently working, which is currently compromising a whole host of skills/ experience. CIPD People Management, October 2016.

Continuing desire for a more flexible lifestyle surely means it’s only a matter of time before another legal change is bought in. Whether that is stricter legislation, changes around the appeal for flexible working requests (which are currently not statutory), or ensuring your business is flex friendly.

Why don’t you see how you can implement this alternative way of working and blaze a trail for flexible working in the UK. Change can always be tricky to implement, but its nearly always rewarding. Don’t have the time on where to start or know how? Then let us help you… HR Puzzle, the missing piece in your business.

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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.

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