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Category: Working Parents
The Government’s flexible-working policy has come to an interesting place. It was introduced to help employees balance their work and life responsibilities and is often (incorrectly) assigned as a policy just for parents.
All employees have the legal right to make a statutory application (not as scary as it sounds) to request flexible working. To be eligible you need to have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks previously. You can ask for amended hours of work, place of work or different patterns of working.
Flexible working rights
That said, the legislation does talk about arrangements for parents of children under the age of six or disabled children under the age of 18 have the right to ask their employer for flexible working arrangements.
This has been an important development for family-friendly work. Research has found that 85% of British working parents would forfeit other benefits to take up flexible working, with 81% surveyed believing the top benefit is a better work-life balance.
In practice, uptake is not what it could be. And that’s bad for all our productivity. A survey of just under 3.000 parents found they felt under pressure to be present in the office – rather than focus on working in the best they can. One in three working parents in the same survey felt they couldn’t access flexible working because of workplace attitudes. Many people (86%) wanted to work flexibly, less than half have the opportunity to do so.
Flexible working for all
On the other hand, employees without children feel the leave is just for parents. Actually, it’s a policy for all. The traditional 9-5 working pattern is already dying in many industries, with smaller businesses and start-ups at the forefront. For larger companies, the pull is being able to draw new talent, from working parents to millennials who see the workplace differently.
And it’s easier than ever to make flexible working, well, work. Digital solutions that bring people together remotely are becoming more robust and reliable. File sharing, instant messaging and video calling can all help smarter collaboration for remote workers. And most importantly, the recognition that employers can recreate a sense of community, even if you’re not in the office.
The future of flexible working
But change doesn’t always come quickly. It comes from people making small steps and claiming their rights. Every request for flexible leave that’s made is a step towards better productivity. And new ways of working for all. Would flexible working work for you?
Infographic showing an overview of just how popular flexible working has become. Click here for more information.
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