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To think this 'flexible working' is anything but?

(32 Posts)
Caplin Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:30


First post but I have been lurking for years.

I have been with my employer for just over a year. I left a job which was mega flexible about home working and working around family commitments. I busted my guts for them but didn't mind because on the flip side I could do all my kids shows/sports day, pick them up form after after school club, be at home for workmen etc. I left due to several restructures, but it was the right time to move on.

My new employer made a big thing about being flexible when I went for interview. I was very excited.

The reality is that the hours are 9-5.30 with very little actual flexibility. If you want to regularly finish at say 5pm, and start at 8.30, then you need to request a permanent change of hours, and you can only do that once a year. After a year I have managed to get a laptop (that took a couple of months) and compressed my hours to finish at 2pm on a Friday, so that I can actually see my kid's teachers once a week.

I have had a couple of afternoons this year where I have been allowed to work from home because my MIL had a heart attack and couldn't pick up my kids.

Because of the 5.30 finish I couldn't get to after school club in time, so now I have a nanny, which costs more but at least I'm not stressed racing to pick up before the deadline, then still having to do homework, dinner, brownies etc.

Today I needed to work from home. I had a gardener coming to repair storm damage to my fence that happened back in October. Now bear in mind I just need to sit here, give him access (only accessible through the house) and let him go to the loo, so I can work perfectly fine and uninterrupted all day.

My boss just said that wasn't a justifiable reason to work from home. So basically thinks I need to take holiday in order to sit around my house twiddling my thumbs.

I am so f#@$ked off that I have traded a totally flexible job based on a lie. I had great work life balance before, now it is dreadful. The frustrating thing is, I know how different it could be, and how much more I would be willing to do for them. But I don't feel like I get anything back when I go above and beyond, so I have started to get really strict at refusing to do anything over my core hours.

For me it feels like they don't trust me to manage my own diary and workload. I am quite senior as well so maybe I am becoming a grumpy old woman.

Anyway, I have started looking for new jobs.....

Caplin Wed 27-Feb-19 18:57:58

Bloody hell, that was a long one!

altiara Wed 27-Feb-19 18:59:27

That’s definitely not flexible working!

Arowana Wed 27-Feb-19 19:01:38

Some people (eg DH's boss) still genuinely believe that anyone who works from home uses it to put their feet up and do bugger all work. It's simply not true (for most people) but there's little you can do to change their minds. Good luck with finding another job. Make sure you cite the lack of flexibility at your exit interview.

dreamingofsun Wed 27-Feb-19 19:02:32

i work for a company that encourages flexible working and people working from home. they are more interested in you getting the job done than seeing you at a pc etc for x hours a day. However, thats one division - the other i am now work in wants everyone based in london, at a desk in the office. they will lose loads of really great staff and moral will drop.

its hard to change someone who cant get their head round flexible working/working from home, so best move on. lesson learnt

Caplin Wed 27-Feb-19 19:06:22

Thanks, it is just frustrating as the job itself is great, and they have slowly started to get better, but they are still so far behind most employers in this area right now. My boss is also a childless dude in his 50s with no real commitments except going to gym. So he openly admits he doesn't get it.

He is new in post and has never managed a team before, so I think he feels out of control if he can't see people.

FuerzaAreaUruguay Wed 27-Feb-19 19:07:51

I'd start looking for a new job.

ForalltheSaints Wed 27-Feb-19 19:08:03

You were sold a job based on a lie, though probably not put in writing, so I doubt if there is much you can do. Unless someone else is being treated differently from yourself, perhaps.

Purpleartichoke Wed 27-Feb-19 19:08:45

I would call up your old employer and see if they are going to have any openings coming up.

Caplin Wed 27-Feb-19 19:12:59

I wouldn't mind going back to my old employer, but the restructures mean that they had a policy of not back filling so my role has been divvied up.

Think I might get onto the recruitment people that got me this job and say I'm back on the market. I managed over a year. At my grade it might take a year to find the right thing so might need to grit my teeth for a while!

Halloumimuffin Wed 27-Feb-19 19:13:15

Exactly the same as me. I left a job where I could work 8 until 4, and work one day a week at home without notice. I asked my new job if flexible hours and working from home were available and they said yes. They are not. I am applying elsewhere.

MaverickSnoopy Wed 27-Feb-19 19:17:48

Possibly boss thinks that is flexible working. Agree that it's not! Definitely time to look for another job.

A lot of managers want to see bums on seats and operate a very antiquated way of working. Life is too short to work somewhere that makes you unhappy.

Caplin Wed 27-Feb-19 19:26:27

Glad it's not just me being a bit entitled. Was worried that I might have been spoiled in my last few jobs to get to work a day a week at home!

StealthPolarBear Wed 27-Feb-19 19:43:54

And this is why I'm terrified of leaving my current job. The flexibility definitely goes both ways, I've worked from home for the last few weeks and that's pretty much been 7.45 until late on the evening, with a gap to pick my children up and prepare tea. If I'd had to go in the office it would have been much more 9-5 and half of the stuff I've done wouldn't have been done. But on the flip side when we're quieter I can start late, leave early. Take my 'lunch' at 10 when the shops are quiet. Basically trusted to get on with it. I'm nervous of leaving for exactly this reason. Sorry op sad

Palegreenstars Wed 27-Feb-19 19:49:58

If it’s a big company for future jobs it’s worth a call anonymously to HR to understand how flexible the place is. My best experience with flexible hours has been with a small start up. My worst with a mid sized third sector company 😔

Bananasarenottheonlyfruit Wed 27-Feb-19 19:59:29

I work from home full time. I don’t think I will ever leave this job, or even move to another role as I cannot imagine ever having this level of flexibility. I move my hours around kids/life all the time. There are times when I give blood sweat and tears from the workload and times when I go for a run in the morning, sort my laundry etc. I am frequently on the phone with my manager (in the US) at 10pm, having stopped and spent the early evening with my kids. It is about trust, which I have built up over the last 10 years. I simply would not get the same from another company. They know it, I know it.

havingabadhairday Wed 27-Feb-19 20:06:34

I'm always dubious about flexible working. In one job it seemed to mean I had to be flexible about hours changing at the drop of a hat but got bugger all back.

Yanbu though.

Onthebrinkofcoffee Wed 27-Feb-19 20:12:40

Oh this sounds familiar! I feel your pain.

As you say you are senior, are you able to propose a change in policy? Or are you not that senior?

FEF1102 Wed 27-Feb-19 20:21:39

He is offering flexible working as it is called in the eyes of the law. Legally you can request one flexible working request per year. What some people interpret at flexible means come and go as you please so long as the work is done. For some people it is that flexible means in an emergency things can be accommodated. For some people it is that you make that one request per year.

Flexibility also needs to be fair. You can't allow one group of people time off for things such as assemblies and not allow another group time off to enjoy themselves too such as coffee with friends. I imagine workplaces would come unstuck if people left 2 hours early for an assembly meaning all the other staff got their 2 hours off early too at some point. Not much work would get done but you can't give perks to one group without the other and not have issues to deal with. IMO he is being fair to all his workers, not ignorant of your situation. Once he lets you take time for things, he would also have to allow Janis in admin go for coffee to give her the same hours free you had.

So he accommodated your emergency situation when your MIL was ill and your compressed hours but that is clearly not enough to you. He does understand things like getting workmen in - people without children also need to have jobs done at home. If you can't keep up with the requirements of the role then I agree you should leave and let someone fill your role who can.

Willowdenedixon Wed 27-Feb-19 20:27:19

I’m semi job hunting at the minute and this is a big ferof mine, as I have a demanding but very flexible job right now where it works both ways. Do people in other teams work flexibly? If so, I think you need to work with manager, HR, etc to address it.

PookieDo Wed 27-Feb-19 20:38:30

I have 2 jobs and 1 I work from home
I feel I am more productive at home than at work - at work people are constantly asking me questions. I agree that this not flexible working and I would look for another job!

Leighhalfpennysthigh Wed 27-Feb-19 20:39:26

It isn't a flexible job, no and does seem rather behind the times. It does sound as if your manager, as you said, is a bit insecure and it is very likely that with his lifestyle he really doesn't get that other people have got responsibilities that require them to need flexibility. I'm childless too, so I'm not saying it's because of that.

I run a business and have an office, but because of the nature of my business ,any of my staff are, at any one time, in various different parts of the country so I kind of had to embrace flexible and remote working from the start. However in many businesses there is a feeling that someone isn't working unless they are in an office. Managing a remote team does take a particular type of person and that isn't one who is insecure about their own abilities as a manager.

Flexible working for everyone is the future for most jobs and is becoming more and more popular as it allows everyone to have a proper work/life balance - and let's face it primary schools still tend to assume that mum is at home all day twiddling her thumbs and waiting for an invite to an assembly, or pick up a poorly child etc.

HunterHearstHelmsley Wed 27-Feb-19 20:39:53

I have amazing flexibility at work and I'd need to have one hell of a package to give that up. Our flexibility would be unthinkable for a lot of companies.

I don't have children and there has been uproar previously that I should give my flexibility up for parents (different department. If I gave up my hours they wouldn't go to them).

Did they explain exactly what they meant by flexible and did you equally explain the same? It sounds as though neither of you are in the wrong. Just different interpretations.

Iggly Wed 27-Feb-19 20:41:10

I left my previous flexible employer for a new flexible employer.

I found being more senior was an aide to flexibility. I took a step down in my new role and I felt I had to ask permission to wfh which I hated! I was used to just doing it.

To be honest, I would see if you could have a regular wfh day and explain it is necessary for being more efficient etc. Then schedule any appointments in that day.

Then find a new job 🤣

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 27-Feb-19 20:47:48

OP leave
I knows it’s disappoitning when your judgement is wrong but it sounds like they lied basically
Change it , or start searching

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