Category: Employer Focus, Flexible Working, Ofcom, Manager, experience, senior research
Danny Kay, Senior Research Manager at Ofcom, tells us about his experience of working compressed hours.
Tell us about your flexible working arrangement and how it came about?
Shortly before I started at Ofcom we had our first son, and for the first few months following paternity leave I barely got to see him due to work demands. I was starting very early and finishing late every day and getting quite stressed.
So when I joined Ofcom flexible working was something that I discussed and arranged with my line manager from the off. This includes compressed hours - five days' worth of hours into four - which has allowed me to spend each Thursday looking after my son. I also split my working time between my home in Brighton and our London office.
What factors contribute to a successful flexible working arrangement and how do you make it work?
The agile working practices have made things much easier already (particularly technology which is now quite seamless when out-of-office). Generally, I think for flexible working to be a success it is vital that it is embraced by colleagues. The two line managers I have had since joining Ofcom have both been very supportive of it and have never treated it as something unusual, or worried about it affecting my performance.
Although flexible working has been part of the culture of our team for some time, this wasn’t previously the case across the whole organisation. However, I've seen a real positive shift over the last year and this has also helped to make it work even better for me.
What are the good things about working flexibly?
The obvious benefit is that it allows a much stronger work/life balance. In my case compressed hours relieves some of the burden of child care from my partner, as well as saving on childcare costs. Although I would say it is probably even harder work having child care responsibilities in addition to a full time job, I think it is worth it for the positives it brings.
Working from home also has its benefits. Practically, I can catch up on some of the hours that are lost travelling to and from the office (4 hours a day now I've moved to Brighton), as well as the stress commuting each day can bring.
Some people say they think they would get distracted working from home, but I find it is the opposite and I can usually get more of certain types of work done than in the office.
I wouldn’t want to solely work from home as I would miss the direct contact with the team and other colleagues, but mixing the two provides the perfect balance for me.
And the challenges?
I do have to manage my time better than I would otherwise, and when I'm in the office I tend to cram a lot of meetings in. I also try and make sure I respond to any urgent emails that come through on Thursdays when I'm not working, or let people know I'll get back to them on the Friday if it requires more than a quick response.
There are occasions when an important deadline is looming that I have to work a few hours in the evening, my day off, or at weekends, but this is never prolonged and I accept it as necessary sometimes. The only real negative I can think of is that I always seem to miss the social events as they always tend to be on a Thursday!
I haven't missed a deadline yet, nor felt under unnecessary pressure since working flexibly, so perhaps that's proof that it works.
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