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We Love Flexible Working! But What Does It All mean?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Flexible working has been around long enough for companies to appreciate that it is not a passing phase, that it is here to stay and that if they don't offer it, they will miss out on being able to hire the right people and lose their top performers.

And more and more companies are starting to offer various flexible working options.

But what do we mean by 'flexible working', and which types would work for you?

It is important to know that ALL employees have the legal right to ask for flexible working, and you should do this before accepting an employment offer or after you have been with the company for 26 weeks or longer. In fact, I would encourage you to ask about the company's flexible working policies during the interview, and ask how many other people in the team or office work flexibly so you go into the role knowing all the facts.

If you do ask for a flexible working arrangement, you need to understand the different ways you can work flexibly and know which would work best for you; here are the more common options:

  1. Part-time – working fewer hours, sometimes across fewer days

  2. Compressed hours - working the same of number of hours but across fewer days. i.e. 37.5 hours in 4 days, or 30 hours in 3 days.

  3. Job share – 2 or more people share the same job but across different days.

  4. Working from home/remote – either working all days or selected days out of the office (hybrid)

  5. Flexitime –an employee can choose when they start and finish work, as long as they are at their desk for core hours, e.g. 10-3, or work an agreed number of hours per week

  6. Timeshift - instead of 9-5 pm, work 7-3 pm so you avoid traffic or pick the kids up from school, or 10-6 pm so you can drop the kids off.

All of these options work well with each other. You could work compressed hours including two days remote; or a flexi-time job-share, for example.

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The main things to remember when asking for flexible working are this:

  1. Think carefully about which options are going to work best for you. Have a plan A and know where you can be flexible in return.

  2. Ask with confidence. Too often, people ask for it apologetically, which immediately puts you on the back foot with your employer. Make sure you sell the idea to them and make it evident that you have put a lot of thought into how you can make it a win-win scenario for both you and your company.

Don't ever feel like you have to justify why you want flexibility. It shouldn't matter whether you want to be more present at home for your family, take better care of your mental health, or spend more time on a hobby. What matters is that you will be happier, more engaged and more productive by working flexibly.

And what company wouldn't want that?

If would like to find out more about asking for flexibility, at the interview stage or at your current company, join The Returners' Tribe today!

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