Help with flexible working application(11 Posts)
I am due to return from ML in March and want to put in my flexible working application this week. My employer has a standard form for this which I'm filling in, but could do with some advice on the section about how the job would be covered if they granted my request.
The problem is they're currently reorganising my entire department, and as yet I don't know what my job will be, exactly, when I go back, or how many people I'll manage, or anything. So it's very difficult to tell them how I think it should be managed when I don't really know what I'll be doing. I've put a few suggestions based on what I was doing, but how much should I bother with that given the circs?
Also, how much is it my responsibility to come up with solutions for me working p/t, and how much is it theirs? I'm a bit stumped, I've basically said that some of my direct reports could pick up a bit more unsupervised work or that we could create a job share, but I don't really know what else to suggest. Do I have to come up with a workable plan?
Well, the first thing to say is that you shouldn't base your flexible working plan on other people covering your work. Flexible working is not meant to be about other people having their already full workload increased - although it could be relevant to delegate duties if, for example, a junior was looking for development opportunities to improve promotion prospects or whatever. Sorry if that sounds a bit blunt, but it's a bugbear of mine .
Jobshare is a good suggestion. Also think about how to pick up urgent issues whilst off - could you offer to check your Blackberry if you have one? It's often about compromise and your time off not being completely ring-fenced, especially if you are senior.
In terms of the reorganisation, what's your relationship with your boss like? I agree it's hard to do an application if you're not sure how your role would change. Can you call him/her and discuss it? Also, think about whether the reorg could actually be an opportunity for your role to be created as one which is intentionally part time - scope of duties, etc.
Thanks RibenaBerry - I do agree with you about other people picking up work. In this context though my team was created from new people when I joined, so initially they needed a lot more supervision, and I'm suggesting that they might be able to do more work unsupervised or with less input from me now that they're more experienced, iyswim. Do you think that might be ok, or should I steer clear altogether?
I can certainly offer to be available from home, they have very good systems for home working so could definitely suggest that for urgent issues.
I have met with my boss several times since being on ML but he is always very vague and can't tell me exactly how things are going to change, so I'm loath to try again - I'd rather get the application in and say that I'd be happy to discuss it in the light of the changes to the team. Does that make sense?
I wondered about whether it was a good moment to actually change my role completely, so it's interesting you say that. Otherwise presumably someone is going to have to pick up some work somewhere, as I can't do a f/t role in p/t hours, realistically!
Oooh yes, that first bit is good. What you are effectively saying is that the intensive supervision you did before you went off was a temporary state of affairs, and that your flexible working application coincides with their ability to be more autonomous. All good stuff!
If your boss is vague then I would do the application based on what you know now and do as you suggest. I would also use the application to point out that the reorg also gives the opportunity to scope your role in the best way to make the flexible working successful without burdening other team members.
Your last point is a good one, and one of the essential problems of flexible working. I guess what I'm saying is that it should be bout scope of role - e.g number of accounts managed, rather than 'oh, X can pick up my work when I'm not here'. Does that make sense? Yes, if you take on fewer accounts there's work going elsewhere, but there isn't a specific person doing your work.
Flexible working is technically about changing the terms of your current job, but if you're willing to think about a complete change that's one of the obvious options as some jobs lend themselves more easily to being part time. For example, in law, know how lawyers (PSLs) find it much easier to be part time than customer facing lawyers.
Thanks RibenaBerry, that's really useful. Will get writing now!
Hows it going with your application? This is a pet subject of mine... so here goes...
The form you are filling in is a standard one based on the requirements of the flexible working legistlation so you need to fill in the boxes. However, it is also useful to have considered the questions from all angles so you can have a meaningful discussion with your boss, consider any pitfalls he/she may see and have some suggestions ready to counter these arguments.
Depending on your role and how many hours you are proposing to work, there are some options you can consider on how to "reduce" a full time job to part time. Review your tasks and responsibilities to see if they could fit within other roles. Could some tasks be done by a part time assistant costed to fit with the saving in your part time salary? Are there under utilised / under challenged staff that could be used? A job share partner does not have to be someone at your level.
On return to work, you should guard your time like a lion defending it's cubs! Ensure all meetings are necessary, prepared for in advance (by everyone!), have expected outcomes, action plans, timings etc. Schedule time to "do your work" so that your time does not get eaten up. Encourage a culture of "efficient
communication", summarise situations, provide detail if required explain what is required and by when. Be super organised, document what you do so that it's easier for you to do the next time you do it and easy to give to someone else to do if you need to.
You can also help develop your staff so they have the skills to deal with some of the supervision issues you previously dealt with. Resist the urge to do things yourself even if it would be quicker / better. If it's done to a good enough standard, that is usually sufficient for 80% of tasks - you focus on the 20% you need to do. Also, resist the urge to say Yes, unless you really do have the time. Challenge the reason for requests (gently of course!) but don't be afraid to say no - just don't say it's because you are part time. There is always more work than can be done in the time available - doing the right stuff well is much more important.
Great post. You can tell it's a pet subject!
Thank you Deirdre! Sorry, haven't been back to the thread in a while.
I put in my application, am waiting for line mgr to get back to me.
I've asked to drop 9 hours a week - so working 28 hours - and compress them slightly into 3.5 days. We work flexitime so that should be possible.
I've suggested a job share with the person currently covering the role, or with the girl who covered it before I joined who loved doing it but wasn't really senior enough. She could combine it with another role to make a full time workload - my employer is good at secondments and placements like that.
Other than that I suggested some of the team might be ready to work with less supervision, and that we could look at extra admin support to free me up from some of the paper work so I could concentrate on the more senior stuff.
So fingers crossed!
I'll keep you posted - thank you!
Am currently on mat leave, got an interview date for student health visitior programme few weeks to come under NHS Southwest Essex, any advice regarding the interview please, so nervous at the moment.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.