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NOW CLOSED: Tell us what you think about the new flexible working contract designed by O2 - you could win a £100 Amazon voucher

(119 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Oct-11 13:48:14

You may know we have been doing some work with O2 (via our panel) and as part of the Mumsnet Family Friendly programme - and now O2 are excited to announce the launch of the O2 Working Families' Contract.

O2 say "The O2 Working Families' Contract(* SEE ADDITIONAL NOTE BELOW) is a new flexible contract designed with working parents in mind. It allows groups of between two and four working mums and dads to freely decide how they will cover shifts over a month, to which they can make changes at any time, giving them the flexibility to balance their jobs with activities such as the school run, their children's holidays and unplanned emergencies. At O2 we want to make it as easy as possible for our people to be there for their family when they need to be, whilst managing their job responsibilities"

They want to help spread the word about this and also to get some feedback from the Mumsnet community about the concept. we appreciate working in an O2 shop may not be for your or your DH/DP but what do you think about the idea in principle? What do you think is good? What would you like to see in the concept? Do you think it it something you'd like to see your employer offer (or a local employer)? What pitfalls can you envisage? How do you think you/ O2 could work to solve these?

At the moment, this is just a trial - and is being piloted at O2's stores at The O2 in Greenwich, Edinburgh and St Albans.

Do add your thoughts on this thread - and if you think you might be interested in applying, please go to and use the following reference numbers: St Albans - IRC126340/ Edinburgh 135 Princes St -IRC126341/ O2 at the O2 - IRC126343

Everyone who adds a comment on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner, drawn at random, will win a £100 Amazon voucher

Best of luck and thanks for your comments

The team at O2 have been reading your responses on this thread with great interest and are very grateful for all the feedback as it will help them shape the contract.

They wanted to clarify: "Whilst we designed this with parents in mind, it is absolutely open to people without children. Most of the shifts would be around the middle of the day, as it's the busiest time in store, which should suit parents trying to fit in school runs"


GrownUpNow Thu 06-Oct-11 14:17:16

Would they see this as something that would benefit single parents too?

I know that finding jobs to fit in with my children and offering me flexibility are few and far between, having been applying for work since last June.

I believe there is usually a bias against single parents working in certain fields because of the flexibility they often require when they lack a support network, which is a shame because many have a lot to offer.

nailak Thu 06-Oct-11 14:19:54

i dont understand, doesnt everyone do school run at roughly same time? so noone would cover those times?

Wurg Thu 06-Oct-11 14:24:22

It does sound good in theory.

In practice, what if no-one in your group of parent co-workers can cover a certain shift? Or there is a colleague who consistently doesn't pull their weight or needs cover with very little notice to a much greater extent than the others?

It would need careful monitoring by HR or line management to check the arrangements weren't going awry.

ScaredTEECat Thu 06-Oct-11 14:28:12

Is it restricted to parents only? Because I know that's a big issue at a lot of companies, that parents can arrange flexible working but non-parents cannot.

asuwere Thu 06-Oct-11 14:34:36

Grownupnow - don't see why this couldn't help single parents - doesn't specify you have to have a partner.

Agree with ScaredTEECat's comment about issue that it only helps parents. At my work, there are many people who feel resentful against those who have been given flexible hours simply because they have children. Can be very unfair.

Again, I agree with others that there could be issues at school run time as many won't be covering the shifts unless they are sharing childcare with colleagues too which seems much too complicated.

Good luck to those that do it but personally, I don't like the idea of it.

cmt1375 Thu 06-Oct-11 14:46:47

This could be offered to those with other caring responsibilities (elderly or disabled relatives), or others who want to work part time eg while studying. This might make it easier to cover school holidays and school pick up times. A mixed group may provide much better cover for the job and work better for O2.

HarrietJones Thu 06-Oct-11 14:49:00

Did we already do this? It sounds familiar

ShatnersBassoon Thu 06-Oct-11 14:57:50

I imagine it would work if it was groups of parents and non-parents (or those with no school aged children), so school run times and school holidays would be easier to cover.

I think it would be a minefield of arguments and miscommunications with so many people needing to coordinate their diaries, but with the right people grouped together it could work really well.

melrose Thu 06-Oct-11 14:58:21

I think it is an interesting appproach and it is great to see a company taking flexible working seriously. too many employers think they are very flexible (inc mine!, when actually "flexibility" only works in a number of prescribed ways, eg. fixed hours over a 5 day week (almost everyone at my place of work with "flecible hours" works 9-5 4 days a week)

I do think that allowing only parents to use this method is restrictive because:

a) it is unfair that only parents are allowed flexibility, I have never understood why this is an exclusive right of parents and have witnessed it causing resentment.

b) parents generally want the same time off eg. before 9.30, and after 3pm for the school run, and the school holidays; allowing a mix of parents and non-parents in a working group would remove these restrictions. Certainly before I had children I would avoid time off in school holidays!

BedHog Thu 06-Oct-11 15:01:28

I think it would be better for each group to contain a mixture of parents of young children, non-parents and workers with older children, so there will be a greater variety of cover available. If the groups just have parents, nobody will want to work school holidays, school-run times, but they might be more willing to work weekends etc. The non-parents might be happier to take time off during term times, and work extra hours in school holidays, getting a better balance.

Having said that, our O2 store seems to have about 3 employees, so not sure how it would work in practice in smaller shops.

LCRLCR Thu 06-Oct-11 15:22:52

Great idea but I imagine there might be conflicts of interest around holidays. Christmas etc but well done O2 for thinking outside the box and being open to a new solution, I really hope it works

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jimswifein1964 Thu 06-Oct-11 15:57:29

I think it a great idea, but it's a very small percentage of the population that wants to work in 02, knows another one or too people that also do, and knows them well enough to make this system work.It's a big move to work as part of a collective. How will 02 step in if needs be? Will, say, all 4 people get penalised if one of them fails to turn up?

OvOntToSuckYourBlood Thu 06-Oct-11 16:01:01

I think it's a bad idea. Can just see it leading to drama and lots of arguing. It would start out all nice and people being accommodating but would soon end in chaos.

ThePumpkinofDoomandTotalCha0s Thu 06-Oct-11 16:25:30

sounds a bit too vague - as others have said what happens about time slots everyone wants/needs off? also unfair on non-parents, it's not just parents who have caring responsibilities.

TheMitfordsMaid Thu 06-Oct-11 16:38:38

As others have said, it needs to be open to all, not just parents otherwise no one will want the school run times and holidays. Parents don't have the monopoly on responsibilities. The success of this will depend on the line manager, who has the power to make it fail.

LoveBeingAMummyAgain Thu 06-Oct-11 16:46:11

As someone who used to run a team who had to rotate weekend shifts, I'm not sure how it would work in practice.

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 06-Oct-11 16:47:45

Great idea, but wold echo the thought that it's not just about parents - family can also apply to carers of elderly parents etc - and as others have said, increasing the flexibility of the definition my mean that there is not such a crunch on school hours, terms times, etc.

Do the groups self-select? I assume not, but there would need to be a kind of arbitration process in place, as it is very likely that some groups will run well, but others will be beset by difficulties and disagreements.

whostolemyname Thu 06-Oct-11 17:01:28

I think its a great idea and would prove an attractive incentive to apply for a job at O2. I work in a different industry where self rostering is occasionally used and the feedback from that is very positive.

I do wonder, as some above have said, how it would work with such small teams though - what if no one wanted to cover a particular duty? How would this be resolved?

cera1980 Thu 06-Oct-11 17:08:28

I think it sounds good in practice, but could turn into a battlefield pretty quickly!!

I had previously worked in a similar set up, and it didn't take long before some members of the team began to take the p*ss and others felt used.

BecauseImWorthIt Thu 06-Oct-11 17:24:09

Bravo to 02 for at least starting to tackle this though. Flexibility for all parents, and not just mums, is a great place to start. And giving employees the power to sort out their own hours is surely to be welcomed.

boohoohoo Thu 06-Oct-11 17:28:36

It sounds really good and more importantly may pave the way for other companies to seriously rethink working hours and flexibility. One of the largest problems I faced was when one of the children was ill.

I think for this to be successful is reliant on all of the share workers working together, giving as well as taking, and a very strong manager to oversee that no one is taking the mickey.

FreckledLeopard Thu 06-Oct-11 17:35:04

I think in theory, O2 have a good idea about trying to make flexible working effective and a viable option. But, as others have said on this thread, how would it work if those that you would be 'grouped' with have similar committments to you in terms of timing, school runs etc? Surely it would be better to allow all workers to arrange flexible shift patterns amongst themselves, meaning that there would be a greater chance of people having the time off when they really need it?

llynnnn Thu 06-Oct-11 17:35:10

It is a great idea in theory but to work in real life I think each group would need to be made up of individuals with different priorities and needs to ensure all the shifts were covered. It just wouldn't work (for very long!) with a group of parents of young children who all need school holidays and school run times off.

Would be brilliant if managed very well with very understanding group members though.

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