It's been 54 weeks since we all home-worked with kids and 52 weeks since I started this weekly newsletter. Both feel like a huge achievement (self-administer a pat on the back) and have a theme in common - flexible working. It's been great news when last month in anticipation of the country coming out of lockdown, the Minister for Women and Equalities called for flexible working to be offered as the default at the national level. But there are still a million unanswered questions.
Will employers actually take it on? If you are reading this and thinking: 'My boss thinks that people have had enough 'days off' and can't wait for the face-time work to restart', then I hear you! If you are reading this and thinking: 'I want to go back to the office because I am sick of trying to work next to a pile of laundry!', again I hear you! If you are reading this and thinking: 'Flexible working is good, but it feels like I am working more for the same/less money', then I hear you too!
Liz Truss calls for flexible working to be normalised – giving employees the option to things like part-time/flexi time, working from home and job shares.
New research from the UK Government and jobs website Indeed reveals offering flexible working arrangements increases job applications by 30%
A national shift to flexible working would boost productivity and particularly help women and those outside major cities
Making flexible working the default will require lots of adjustment on both sides.
'For employers, this means reconsidering the notion that flexible work is a benefit and instead acknowledging it as a better way of working that could positively impact the lives of women and therefore society as a whole,' the Governmental announcement quotes.
For employees, it will require taking responsibility for making flexible working actually work for you professionally and personally, if you want to work and live well sustainably. The world is moving towards more personalised working conditions which are much harder to manage centrally or vertically, so more individual responsibility will be required. And when we want to make a sustainable change, we need to understand ourselves first, psychologically, who we are and what is important to us. The more clarity you have around your personal and family needs, the easier it becomes to make choices and create boundaries. The good news is that with responsibility also comes freedom.
Flexible working articles roundup
As you assess what a sustainable way to flex work looks like for you and your family, I offer you a consolidated list of the first year's articles on flexible-work-related topics:
The flexible working manual article is particularly extensive and busts seven common myths about flexible working. And the missing link article has the results of the trust survey I conducted in February 2021 on whether people trust their HR and line managers to talk about flexible working. Hope you find these resources helpful and would love to hear how flexible working goes for you!