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If your co. offers flexible working, how does it work?

(9 Posts)
Niskayuna Wed 11-Jan-17 10:11:47

My work history is in retail. You work X til Y, 6 til 10, 9 til 5, and when your shift's over, you leave. Uncomplicated. Can't take the work home with you either.

In other jobs - all kinds, really - obviously things are more open-ended.

I have heard from people whose company offers flexible hours in patterns like:

1. You have your core hours per week, and you simply divide them up over the days as you wish. There may be additional work required close to deadlines, but it's appreciated.

2. You can work your hours in any location you wish, so, working from home, etc.

3. You do a long day, you do a short day, whatever - people generally judge you on your output, not how often they see you. I don't know how they keep track of anyone shirking... the assumption seems to be simply that no one does.

4. Early finishes and making up the hours at the weekend.

5.Companies that discourage presenteeism and pointlessly staying late.

6. Companies that designate Fridays afternoons, or all Friday, to personal development and project work, not the main tasks.

Anyway, point being this is all a mystery to me BUT I can't exactly ask in an interview because some companies can be funny about it.

If you work flexibly, or with relaxed hours, or reduced hours or... basically you kinda choose your hours, how does it work? How do you ask? How does the company judge staff aren't abusing the privilege?

Basically I want to return to work and the industry I want to enter is considered 'flexible', which is good, but I know that means different things to different places, and I want to check if what I desire (shifting core hours, for example, to 8 til 4, or finishing at 4 and catching up on any lost hours at the weekend) is perfectly 'flexible' and reasonable or totally unrealistic.

AccioNameChange Wed 11-Jan-17 10:18:02

All those things sound amazing, would love to work somewhere with even one of those policies <unhelpful>

Watching with interest.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 11-Jan-17 10:20:26

Mine is a combination of 1, 2 and three and applies to all staff, full and part time. The company is small enough that you wouldn't get away with shirking.

Tfoot75 Wed 11-Jan-17 10:29:44

I work 3 days a week. My company offers various flexible work patterns e.g. Reduced days (3 full days per week), reduced hours (9-2 eg) or glide time (8-4 eg). Something like finishing at 4 and making up time at the weekends would not be allowed as a formal agreement. If you needed to finish at 4 every day you'd have to do either glide time or reduced hours. However, it is very flexible and an occasional 4pm finish would not even be noticed as people come and go from the office at all times. We are judged solely on feedback and kpis. Overtime is unpaid for full time workers but is paid for part time workers only during normal working hours that they aren't usually at work.

NotCitrus Wed 11-Jan-17 10:40:22

Having been a civil servant (very flexible) and now job hunting, flexible can also be code for "we want you to be willing to come in early/stay late/drive to arse end of nowhere for 9am tomorrow/fly to somewhere later today, but you still need to be at work when we say or else"!

Mostly there's a combination of your suggestions - I've had roles where working part time is fine as long as its the same days each week, ones where you can be in the office or anywhere remote, any time, and it's up to your manager to ensure you're working, ones where getting in late after the school run and working late 2 days a week to make up is fine... If people are honest, it's usually ok - have had roles where a manager has agreed I could do 3 days a week but there were certain quarterly meetings I had to attend no matter what. They couldn't pay for extra childcare though.

I've talked to recruiters and friends and generally they recommend getting a job offer and then negotiating - so far I haven't got beyond the interviews...

KavvLar Wed 11-Jan-17 10:40:23

I think it depends entirely on the company and the culture. Sorry as I know that isn't hugely helpful. You may be best off speaking to some of the employees to get a feel for what is acceptable.

Generally I'd say you have a performance agreement for your job which lays out expectations for the year. You agree this with your manager and then you are expected to achieve whatever it is you set out to do.

It's not quite as cut and dried as monitoring if people are shirking. It will be more about what you deliver and if it's considered acceptable in comparison to the time that you contracted to put into it, regardless of the time of day you carry it out.

CheerfullyIndifferent Wed 11-Jan-17 10:52:15

DH's industry is reasonably flexible. In his previous job, they had core hours, which meant all full time staff had to be in for those times (10-4 in this particular company) and you could make the rest of your hours as you wanted during the rest of the day/week. Working from home was allowed and making up hours as well, but not on a weekend, generally on another day. Any extra hours worked would be 'paid' in time off, unless the company requested the overtime.

His current one is more as long as your work is done, we don't care much the hours you're working. They can work from home but needs to be agreed with management first.

To be honest, if the job ad mentions flexible working but don't give much detail, I think it would be fine to ask on the interview. I'm always being told that you're also interviewing them to see if the company is a right fit for you - and I suppose if they get funny about a question like that, they might not be as flexible as they are trying to make themselves out to be.

Niskayuna Tue 17-Jan-17 17:14:52

Thanks, that is all really helpful.

I've had some pretty good feedback so far as I've made a bit of a push to get out and ask people, and it does seem the workplaces here in this industry are really quite forward-thinking, some openly talking about their reduced-hours on their webpages, or blogging about dissuading long-hours culture and presenteeism. It certainly makes them seem open to discussion.

Pollyanna9 Tue 17-Jan-17 18:37:06

My work (non clinical, NHS) has formal flexible working policy where you have to formally apply and it may or may not be given to you. It's permanent as well so say you drop to 4 days, you can't go back.

However, and dependent on manager, there's a much less (and in my opinion far more flexible, sensible and useful) onerous version of that which is between my manager and me we make our own arrangements. As long as I do my work she's happy. So I start usually by 6.30-7.00am so I can go at 3.30 pm and be home for my two teenage children. If I need to stay in for a workman I I can work from home on my laptop.

So it suits me and I take comfort from it at the moment. Sadly I'm only here for another 4 months so I've got no idea where I'll be after that, or what working hours I'll be able to organise.

I think it's often organisation dependent and public sector can often be quite flexible. It staggers me because as I'm actively job hunting at the moment, the ones that offer agile working or flexible hours are actually probably only about 2% of all the jobs that I look at.

Also, in the line of work I'm in, it's expected that you work over for no extra pay so I'm contracted for 37.5 hours but usually work at least 40 plus 1.5 hours commute per day on top. But it is what it is and at least I can stagger my start and finish times which really is v v helpful indeed.

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