We are in a series called Balance and, this week we are talking about flexible working. But, before we get into that, if you haven’t read last week’s post here is the link – https://hopeplace.co.uk/its-your-schedule-if-you-dont-like-it-change-it/
What is flexible working?
Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having flexible start and finish times, or working from home. (https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working)
A team approach to flexible working
The Head of Service of one of the team’s I worked in decided to take a team approach to flexibility. She set up a facilitated ‘away afternoon’, where we looked at flexible working, making requests and, the needs of the service. We discussed our reasons for wanting flexibility. The facilitator asked us to state our desired working patterns (in reality, our applications) which she wrote on flip chart paper. Reasons for flexibly included:
- Pick up children from school/supervise after school activities
- Attend appointments as they arose
- Long weekends to take city breaks
- Ability to start at 9-5 or 8-4 on an ad-hoc basis
Following this, there was a ‘give and take’ discussion to ensure that each request was treated fairly in line with the needs of the service. All of us received the majority of the working pattern we requested. I appreciate that this approach is not necessarily a common one but, it does show that it can work. Typically, however, most people apply on an individual basis.
Requesting flexible working
You have a statutory or legal right to request to work flexibly. You must be an employee and worked for 26 weeks continuously at the date of application. Any refusal by an employer must be on objective business grounds.
Before you submit a request, please ensure that you read your employer’s flexible working policy to make sure you understand all of the requirements. Invest some quality time in thinking about the working pattern that is most beneficial to you, taking into consideration business and service needs.
Types of flexible working include:
- Part-time working
- Term time only
- Working from home
- Annualised hours
- Temporarily reduced hours
- Nine-day fortnight
Try to be flexible in your application
I suggest to people that they consider presenting three options to their manager.
- Ideal working pattern – if granted this is precisely what you want
- Give and take – you get the majority of what you
- I can live with it – it’s not the best, but you can live with it
Now, remember, I said to invest some quality time thinking about it? You are only allowed to make one request every 12 months, so make sure that your application (if granted) is the one you want to work so make it count!
© Dawn H Jones is an HR Consultant, Coach, and Blogger. Please note that this post does not constitute specific HR or employment law advice if you require help please contact an appropriately qualified professional or drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org