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What does flexible working mean to you? Share with Mumsnet Talent - £300 TK Maxx voucher to be won(176 Posts)
As a parent you often have to juggle seemingly never-ending responsibilities, meaning flexible working becomes a crucial requirement when looking for a job. And it's not just parents who suffer — a lack of flexibility can be detrimental to anyone with care responsibilities, outside commitments or disabilities of their own.
That’s why Mumsnet Talent is dedicated to making parents' lives easier by promoting flexibility in the workplace. We believe it's possible to have a career without compromise, with a job that supports your lifestyle instead of dictating it. That's why every role we host is flexible or home-based, and why we strive to represent every sector and every level.
As champions of flexible working, we’d like to hear what flexible working - outside of times where employers have no choice - means to you. Do you have a flexible job right now? What form does flexible working take? Perhaps it’s a job share or part-time hours? Maybe it’s the ability to work from home regularly or flexi-hours so you’re able to drop your children off at school? What elements of ‘flexible working’ are most appealing to you?
Whatever flexible working means to you, share it on the thread below and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 TK Maxx voucher (to be spent in TK Maxx or Homesense).
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My computer have actually been really good with this. As long as we work our set hours and complete our objectives they're happy for us to work our own hours, which for some means 8-4, 12-7, sundays, etc.
Obviously we would have to log on for any essential meetings during core hours, but they've been very flexible.
My employer allows us to work from home when we need to (for example to attend appointments) but this is not a regular arrangement. They are pretty good about allowing people to wfh regularly/part time however this typically hampers progression. It’s a bit naive to say that it’s possible to have a career without compromise. A successful career is very time consuming and also quite draining. Something has to give. It’s usually hobbies/time spent with children/voluntary work.
Being able to work from home and choose your hours
A lot of people I work with do compressed hours. They do a 9 day fortnight or a 4 day week. So they do the same hours as everyone else but over fewer days.
This works well for those with childcare issues and seems to be taken up by as many men as women.
In normal times I'm able to work from home 1-2 days a week and as long as I am available at core times there is no problem with it. I also have to be flexible with which days so if there is an important meeting I have to be in the office for I change the day I am working from home to be able to attend. I've found if I'm willing to be flexible then my company are too.
One thing they are very strict on though is that you can't use working from home as a substitute for child care, i.e. if you are looking after a sick child then you can't be giving your full attention to work, although lots of people do work from home in this situation!
Today flexible working means sitting on my laptop by the open back door watching the children play in the garden.
I work 15 hours a week doing web related work from home. Sometimes it's a juggle (the only way I get conference calls done is by liberally handing out bags of Quavers for the duration to keep people quiet ;)) but I'm very lucky that mostly it works well. It doesn't stop the mum guilt though when some days the DC just want to play and a deadline is looming!
I think a lot of people view “flexible working” as either being able to WFH occasionally or doing slightly different hours. To me, and my employer, it’s much more around having responsibility for doing your job in the hours that suit you and are appropriate to the business’s needs.
So being able to leave at 3pm for a dr appt or to pick up a child but log on in the evening, or starting and finishing earlier, or WFH when needed, or taking emergency holiday - those are all flexible working to me. It’s also great that we are trusted to work hard when needed and can take it easier when not so busy. So some weeks, we might all be working long hours, and that means we know we can take a half day for free another week to make up the time with your child. The best bit is not having to put it through a system or get approval to do so, we are all treated like adults to be able to manage our own workload.
That, to me, is flexible working and one good thing to come out of CV will hopefully be that businesses see they can trust their employees to work well from home, allowing more of it in the future.
All the usual school hours/WFH/etc but also I was incredibly grateful to my employer for agreeing an annualised hours contract when I went back after my second DC - it meant that the stress of juggling school holiday childcare (no family nearby) was lifted. It made me a very loyal employee as I knew I'd struggle to get a similar contract anywhere else
I have a fully home-based contract, although some travel to HQ and field-based work is required. I manage a distributed team who are all based from home as well, and they work part time with a range of other work or personal commitments. It's an absolute breath of fresh air, during normal times, but I appreciate that it isn't for everyone, and I'm not sure it makes sense to make it the norm for all roles. I miss working in a collegiate way across the desk with colleagues, or having those watercooler conversations with people from other teams that lead to an increased understanding of other areas of work, or opportunities to collaborate. I think when you're not visible in the office, you do get forgotten about a bit and it can definitely hamper progression.
I endured years of working in environments where colleagues and middle managers just did not get the benefits of a more agile approach to where and how we work - or they understood it immediately in their sphere but simply could not understand how it might apply to someone else in a different role or life circumstances. They also could not understand how one person working on four projects in a full time role might just as well translate to two people working on two projects each, or the benefit of having more people with different expertise, skills and knowledge in a team, just that a lower headcount meant less outlay. As a manager, I appreciate that I get to employ someone who is semi-retired, someone who lives with a challenging health condition, and someone with a disabled school-age child because their views and experiences strengthen our collective output.
It's still fairly new to the organisation I work for, so I do come up against some issues - I was (gently) challenged for admitting to lower productivity last week while trying to work with a child in tow, and was told more was expected of me this week because it would have been the holidays anyway so I should just do what I usually do in the holidays - this is generally take annual leave or employ childcare, both of which are a no-go at the moment, so I had a bit of my own gentle challenge to do on that one. There's also a bit of a culture of always being available, or at least looking at your phone every few hours, which I'm not keen on, not least because switching off then becomes a challenge and I just end up feeling ratty and resentful - a better approach needing to be found on both sides, I think, but the main thing is, it's accepted as a work in progress and we are treated as professionals, who know the best way to get the best work out of ourselves.
This depends SO much on your job role though.
Also, to some extent on your Manager being able to "measure" your role in some way - output, work achieved, or logging in whilst on line or whatever. Otherwise there will always be people who take the mick.
I am able to work from home when not at meetings or on visit, and love it. I love the lack of commute. I love the lack of distraction. I love the fact I can wear what I want and listen to music if I want. I love the fact I can use any breaks I choose to take in the day to do things that would make no sense doing when I go in from a full day at work (hang out washing, or prepping a meal for the slow cooker). Or I can choose to make an appt - be that dentist or Dr or to get a haircut - in the day when they are open / less busy, and just pick up those hours at the end of the day, or work a bit extra the day before. When my dc were younger, I was able to stop when they got in from school and just have a 5 min chat about their day over a cuppa. I love that I don't have to take a day off when someone comes to do work on the house, or deliver something "between 8am and 6pm" - I just 'pause the clock' from when the doorbell rings.
However, for a lot of roles it isn't really practical to be able to work from home for most of the time, in which case flexibility looks different.
Very often it comes down to interpretation my individual managers.
Flexible hours, working from home. Also one former employer of mine (a university) had a 'sickness for dependants' policy which meant a few days per year (5 I think) of paid leave if your kids were ill.
Option to work time without being penalised, or compressed hours. Also decent sickness and dependents policies.
sorry that should read 'option to work part time'
Flexible working is so important.
I'm very fortunate that I work part time, over 5 days. So I'm able to do all school runs.
Then in the school holidays I'm allowed to do all my hours over 3 days which means I get 2 whole days at home with DD.
It works both ways though - I have to fit my 3 full days in with the needs of the organisation and other flexible workers. And my role sometimes needs me to work weekends/eves. For which I'm allowed to take TOIL.
Working from home is really important to me - it saves me up to 3hrs commuting each day and means that I get more work done (plus I'm not knackered in the evenings).
It was especially invaluable when mum was dying....
I'm hoping to be able to go part time in a few years, down to 4 days a week
My company likes to think it's flexible and has accommodated part time working for me and shifting my working hours forward by an hour which has helped me with childcare, but the reality is they want bums on seats in the office unless you have a good reason not to be there. I hope the enforced working from home during this pandemic will reduce the need for face to face meetings in future as the conference calls have been working really well.
I feel incredibly lucky as my last two managers (same org) have been fine with my very flexible working arrangements. I work 3 days a week and do different days each week in a fortnightly timetable but also change this when school holidays happen. I come in and leave when I choose. I work from home once a fortnight or once a week when possible.
I am flexible too and when I can will come in when important meetings are scheduled on days I don't regularly work.
It is truly great, for work life balance, for being able to have a career and be with DC as much as possible too.
As a manager myself, I am outcome focused, I get to know jobs thoroughly so I can make good decisions about how long tasks should take. Regular communication esp feedback is key, often speaking to people on non work days as I prefer that to catch ups after many days.
It's not for everyone I know but the farther we move from presenteeism the better.
I have to say it helps that I'm not ambitious and happy to stay in same job for many years. I don't think such a degree of flexibility would work if I managed a large team but I'd like it to.
Its balancing attention for the kids versus attention for my business.
Using apps and technology help me to manage my accounts eg Quickbooks. This means I can save a lot of time and do my accounts in the evening or even as I am leaving a booking, as it takes seconds then I don't need to worry about it later.
My work means I can accept bookings around kids school drop offs and make sure I get to their assemblies and plays etc. Best of both worlds really, I am really lucky as I love my job and I can still be a very present mum.
I'm self employed, so within reason I can choose how many hours I work, when and where, although I obviously have to fit in with others for meetings and deadlines etc. Tbh, I don't really see why any job that's admin/desk based, rather than, say, healthcare/retail/shift-based, can't be done flexibly from home if people want. I hate the culture of presenteeism and think most people would be just as productive, if not more so, if their work was measured in terms of outcomes rather than hours put in at the office. It would be so much better for families, communities, relationships and health.
For me its flexible hours to suit childcare arrangements
Working from home is my main flexi concern with children
I job share and have flexible working. I can work hours to suit me as long as office hours are covered team wide. I WFH on occasion and I love it. The hours and the flexibility were one of my main reasons for taking the job.
My role didn't allow me to work from home but flexible meant working set core hours with the rest made up any way which suits, within office opening hours. This could vary daily, and the weekly hours were averaged on a monthly basis - meant could have one part time week so long as it was made up over next 3.
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