So, today we celebrate the benefits of flexible working. Let me state the reasons I love thee!
First, what do we mean by ‘flexible working’? I think today it incorporates what we call ‘part-time’ as well as, for example, different start/finish times, compressed hours, term time… there are so many different flavours of flexible. But for me, it’s all about getting the right work/life balance – what is right for the individual.
Not only do I work flexibly, I manage a team who you could all class as flexible workers. We all have different arrangements, for different reasons, and it all works brilliantly. A combo of our partners working hours, children, other businesses and outside interests mean we need to work differently than 9 to 5.
May we live in interesting times
In a world where you can go shopping on a sunday (not exactly new, I know) and you can communicate with businesses all over the world at any time of the day or night, we live 24/7 – everything is on all the time. Technology and modern expectations are demanding changes in the way we work, but it also enables us to work differently to fit those expectations. My email and calendar are synced to my phone (it also helps me not be late for meetings!) and so even when I’m not technically working, I am available and able to work when I need to. My broadband speed at home is often quicker than when my laptop is docked at work. My laptop means I can work wherever I happen to be, and so yes, it can blur into my live… but I happen to be pretty passionate about what I do, so actually that helps me to be less anxious about it as I’m able to do things when I think about them, not waiting til I’m back in the office. This works for me.
Now obviously there are job roles that require attendance (Waitrose Partners who work in store do need to be there, physically) and others have set hours (think of Nurses – set hours are essential to enable continuity of care of patients) but for most ‘office’ jobs the tech available allows more flexibility – working from home, call forwarding, VPN, web cams and video conferencing – it’s just about trusting people to do their jobs when you can’t actually see them. I know individuals who are much more productive when they’re working from home – so let them. The less we focus on 9 to 5, and more we can focus on what gets done, and then we can be more flexible and accommodating to the real world and demands of life and businesses now and beyond.
And that’s my point – utilise the tech, find the right balance and work with it. Everyone is individual and therefore have different needs – communicate with staff to find what works for them and make that work. As the days, months, years go by, flexible will be the norm and 9 to 5 will be archived to the past.
Oh, and that’s without me starting on what type of person you are! Take the guardian’s personality test for some insights. And the marvellous Robyn has something to say about flexible working, too… Find more on Twitter: