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Flexible working : fewer days vs shorter days

(24 Posts)
Schoolandstuff Sun 04-Sep-16 10:52:38

Keen to hear others thoughts on what seems to work better from a company's perspective? Especially at a managerial level.

pitterpatterrain Sun 04-Sep-16 10:56:27

I do fewer days (4) and my day off is a Wednesday. I find this means my teams have a start to the week / end to the week and I can check email on my phone in case anything urgent is needed (mostly not).

Most of our mgmt meetings are on Friday as lots are traveling / out mid-week so that wasn't a particularly good option.

Depends what your logistics out of work look like though - whether a shorter day would just mean coming back online / getting stuck in a meeting that drags on and whehther a whole day(s) "off" is an easier thing to communicate.

pitterpatterrain Sun 04-Sep-16 10:57:07

My DD is only 3 so it might change as school comes into the mix.

Schoolandstuff Sun 04-Sep-16 11:03:51

Thanks for the reply. I think I could cover the role in shorter hours, and delegate to team/ be on call if necessary later in the day. I like the idea of one day off but realistically think better for me to hve presence in the office on a daily basis.

I really want a better work life balance and be able to pick up from school but not sure how to convince employer this will not be at a detriment to them.

elderberryflower Sun 04-Sep-16 11:07:14

Whole days off are better for toddlers, shorter days so you can do the school run are better for school age kids (from a parent point of view!). Employers like having someone in every day as there isn't the issue of someone covering for you on the day(s) you aren't there. But colleagues can make you feel like you're skiving off early every day (even though you're being paid less). I'd love a day off but it works better for the kids if I'm around after school so I do shorter days.

Trills Sun 04-Sep-16 11:11:12

From a company perspective I'd say shorter days work best - no long gaps when you can't be contacted. Assuming this is an office-based job, just block out your calendar as "not available" for the hours when full-time people are around but you are not, so nobody tries to book you into anything.

From the perspective of the employee, it'll depend on age of children and childcare and what you personally like.

MirrorMirrorOnTheFloor Sun 04-Sep-16 11:13:36

Also depends on the rest of the team. For a while I had someone coming in early and leaving early for nursery pick up, which worked very well as the other team members preferred to be in later, so we had cover for longer.

Personally, I prefer to do long days and have a non working day, but that's for my own sanity in terms of keeping on top of stuff. I think it works for my employer because I jobshare, otherwise I suspect they would prefer shorter hours but in every day.

3luckystars Sun 04-Sep-16 11:14:00

Fewer days without question. Otherwise you are always rushing and have no free days. Secondly, you will have to take a days annual leave for short or long days so you would be better off with fewer days as your leave will stretch further.

MrsMargeSimpson Sun 04-Sep-16 11:25:18

I do shorter days, starting and finishing earlier than the rest of my team. I am not managerial but the part timers who are do fewer days. I have school/preschool age children so I am there after school, but, I hate it. I'd rather do long days and have one/two at home to fit appointments/chores/errands in but I can't get the childcare after school. I perpetually fail like I'm not good enough/available enough anywhere!

RobberBride Sun 04-Sep-16 11:34:16

From a management perspective, shorter days are easier as the person is there every day. However fewer days can work if there's some give and take on both sides. I used to manage someone who worked 3 shorter days. We had an agreement that if I really really needed her, I would text her, and if she could she'd do an hour or so from home that evening or early the next morning and take the time back another day. In return, I was always super flexible about her working flexibly on the days she did work for me so she could fit in as many childcare/school things as possible without wasting a lot of annual leave. When I moved jobs she followed me, so it seems to be working for both of us!

RobberBride Sun 04-Sep-16 11:35:53

To answer the annual leave point made by 3luckystars, usually when managing part timers doing shorter days they get annual leave in hours rather than days so it doesn't make a difference - they get the same leave overall.

MumiTravels Sun 04-Sep-16 11:39:12

It depends on age I think.

My LO is 18 months so I work 3 x 13 hour shifts a week. He doesn't see me leave for work as I've gone before he gets up. DH says he looks around the house for me and asks for Mummy however this better than when I have a 9 - 5 training day and have to say bye in the morning. He wails as I go out the door.

As he gets older though it will be better for me to work 9-5 so I can do school run.

MardAsSnails Sun 04-Sep-16 11:41:46

Personally, fewer days rather than shorter hours. And I'd say especially at management level.

If I was scheduled to do 8-1 (therefore 25 a week), this would be easier for it to creep up with an extra 30 mins or an hour each day to get something finished, or with someone calling a meeting for 12 that overruns, than for example doing 3x8 hour days.

StealthPolarBear Sun 04-Sep-16 11:44:40

3 lucky stars annual leave will be calculated on that basis

DropZoneOne Sun 04-Sep-16 11:45:37

We have a mix at manager level in our team. Much easier to manage shorter days and have presence every day.

Our holidays are managed in hours if you do different hours each day, so you don't lose out.

Sunshineboo Sun 04-Sep-16 11:52:54

It depends on your organisation. I have worked places where staff meetings etc have been held later in the day, so staff were encouraged to work standard length days with a day off. In other places it is less disruptive to have someone in everyday and leave early.

One of my staff does 3.5 hours a day each day. I am not sure I would agree to this pattern again as she struggles to get any traction on the working day (she has raised this as an issue and I think will change to less days, longer hours as soon as her circumstances will let her).

I think you need to take an honest look at your role and the demands on you.

3luckystars Sun 04-Sep-16 12:27:36

Sorry if I confused things!
Where I work,
if person A works 4 long days a week, that's 32hrs a week, they woukd get 80% of their annual leave allowance. So 25 days leave would now get 20 days annual leave.
If person B was to work 32 hours, spread over 5 shorter days, they would still get the same annual leave allowance, (20 days per year)

However if person A wants a week off, they use 4 days, but person B would need to use 5 days annual leave.

I know every workplace is different, so sorry if that has just added more confusion!

RockyBird Sun 04-Sep-16 12:30:25

When I did it I did 5 shorter days. I felt we (DD and I) benefitted from having the same routine each day mon-fri. My travel costs were low, so that wasn't a factor.

knaffedoff Sun 04-Sep-16 12:37:13

I have just changed onto longer days, it was always a pressure to leave the office to get to the school run on time and worked more days. Now I have childcare in place, It doesn't matter if I over run / stay a bit later and I feel much more at ease as I am in work less days

StealthPolarBear Sun 04-Sep-16 13:47:35

3 that sounds really unfair and could potentially discriminate against pt workers surely

LocatingLocatingLocating Sun 04-Sep-16 15:58:56

Same as rockybird . Worked well for me. Less tiring for DCs as only in nursery for half days, Same routine every week day, plenty of time to sort an early dinner, and in the summer it was lovely as could go to the park every day. my employer preferred it too, and I never felt I missed much in work.
Downsides : Travel and stress every day, hard to leave on time if work was busy.

LocatingLocatingLocating Sun 04-Sep-16 16:00:16

And difficult to go to toddler groups, but luckily DCs got plenty of toddler interaction at nursery!

Schoolandstuff Sun 04-Sep-16 17:51:19

Thanks for all replies! Am swaying towards shorter days as will hopefully give a better work life balance whilst allowing me to maintain my status/role. Not holding out for it to be granted but wish me luck!

Yika Thu 08-Sep-16 13:45:13

I work shorter hours (4/5, same hours every day) but I've been told that a whole day off is easier to manage for the organisation and in terms of knowing when you are there or not. I do find I am rushing all the time and feel I'm working full time - it's just that the split between work in the home and work in the office is different. I never get any time just for me (or: to take care of admin and errands) which I would do with a whole day off.

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