My little boy celebrates his 6th birthday today, and so it is the perfect time to reflect on how much my life has changed in the days since he was born. At that time, I was an acting head teacher of a Primary School, working full time, and also bringing a lot of work home each evening. When Joe came along I wanted to reduce my hours to part time so I could enjoy being a mommy to this precious little bundle, a request that became even more important when I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Unfortunately I did not meet the response I was expecting, and the reduced working hours came at a cost, this eventually led me to leave a profession I had been part of for 12 years. I know I am not alone in my experience of finding it difficult to get flexible hours. But maybe a shift in attitudes is finally happening.
Flexible working hours are something that any employee can now request from their employers as long as they have 26 weeks continuous employment. The rise of new technology, like Skype, and video conferencing hosted by the likes of GoToMeeting, which allows you to simultaneously host a video meeting for up to three people, means that working from home is no longer an impossibility, even when working on important projects and with clients. Flexible working hours, either less hours, or partially working from home, allows both parents, not just the mother, the opportunity to juggle the commitments of family life, to not have to miss out on the school run, or the Christmas play, yet again. But still being able to achieve great things in the world of work.
The evidence says that workplaces that allow flexible working hours see an increase in productivity, a decrease in workplace absences and actually find their staff to be a happier, less stressed workforce. If you are thinking of applying for flexible working hours, the infograph above gives you some information about how you can approach this with your boss. Employees have to listen to your requests and make every attempt to accommodate, so, if you think this is something that could benefit your family, now is the time to make your stand.