Categories
Career Change Careers Flexible Working Mental Health

Finding Your Passion: Working part-time in Health & Social Care

In the past fourteen months since we first heard of the words ‘Covid 19’, we’ve all been searching for more meaning in our lives.

Some have found it in sourdough & Joe Wicks whilst others are frantically looking for new careers.

Like so many of you reading this, Find your Flex hope that through collective action, we can all play a role in helping the world undergo the much needed ‘Great Reset’:

(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/covid19-great-reset-gita-gopinath-jennifer-morgan-sharan-burrow-climate/).

The world of work is on the brink of huge change and finding your passion is now within touching distance.

One (if not the sole) positive of the pandemic is that it’s brought flexibility within the workplace, to the fore (thanks Covid!).

It’s also forced us to reanalyse what our real career values are, what our purpose in life is or should be and to also question –

Are we living authentically?

Do we ‘love’ the job we currently do? Is the love enoughto be dedicating most of our working lives to it?

Does your job bring you enough happiness or make you feel content? 

Luckily for anyone still trying to understand what their true passion or calling is– the rise of the portfolio career is becoming the new norm: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zktbn9q.

The days of working in the same career or company all of your life before being rewarded with a carriage clock, are fading for most of us.

If you’ve been considering your next move but aren’t quite sure how to execute it – we might be able to help.

If you’ve always felt a pull towards working within an industry where caring for others and building meaningful relationships – is on the important list, then there’s never been a better time to get experience within health & social care. You can get flexible work experience that pays and you can fit around your life, exactly as you need too.

The Health & Social Care industry is one we feel passionate about at Find your Flex.

It’s an industry you’ll always have a job in, you won’t be replaced by a robot and you always have the opportunity to work as flexibly as you need.

While it’s been a sector cast in a negative light for decades, we want to do ‘our bit’ to shine a light on all the positive & immensely rewarding work that happens day in and day out.

If you’re searching for flexible work and a job with more meaning, becoming a Support Worker could be the experience you need to begin transforming your life for the better.

Considering a career in Health and Social Care but not sure if you have the right skills?

Here’s are the scenarios it could help you with:

Maybe you’ve been curious about working with elderly people ever since you watched your Grandparent (s) experience the Care System?

Or perhaps you’ve had a hunch you’d find helping young and older adults living with mental or physical disabilitieshugely rewarding?

Have a listen to these podcasts:

Hear are some really inspiring stories about what motivates so many to work in the Health and Social Care industry (and try to not be moved or cry):

Working as a Support Worker on either a part-time or ‘Bank Staff’ basis, will give you the chance to see and feel, what a career in health and social care is like in reality. Not just through our preconceived lens.

And if the role of Support Worker doesn’t feel quite right but you develop a love for the sector, there are many ways your employers can help and support you in establishing which area of the sector you are most suited too: https://careers.cygnethealth.co.uk/learning-at-cygnet/

Considering retraining into Counselling, Therapy, Psychology, Nursing or Psychotherapy?

Perhaps you need to do some academic training over the next two to four years in order to start this new role?

If you’re about to enrol onto a part-time Btech, Diploma, Degree or MA; this could be the part-time income you need to facilitate a period of retraining.

Working part-time or as bank staff is a brilliant way to see if you have the skills you need to work with a diverse range of people with diverse conditions.

While you study to gain the academic foundation required, you could also develop your people skills, listening skills and empathy. And make some money.

Working part-time as a Support Worker usually requires a minimum of two 12 hour shifts per week.

That equates to £223.20 per week so £892.80 per month. Bank Staff are expected to do just one twelve-hour shift per week, £111 per week and £446 per month.

Rather than take a part-time job in retail or hospitality to make ends meet while you study, this could provide you with something truly rewarding.

You want to live a more nomadic lifestyle? A career in Health and Social Care could be the solution

We know remote working will become ‘normalised’ over the coming years.

Flexible office space and collaboration venues are popping up all over the country (YEY!).

If you think you’ve got a book within you, or a desire to run your own business; working as a Support Worker can provide you with a regular and steady income to balance your passion projects.

Care work also teaches you an awful lot about life and the psychology of people. An untapped source of inspiration if you ask me.

I’ve also heard that if you work your hours right in part-time vacancies (which entitle you to holiday pay), many staff take a full month or two off every year to do extended holidays.

Imagine sitting on a Greek island and writing that novel or self-help book with your face in the sun?

Want to break out of the Corporate shackles?

If you’re about to return to work after a career break or perhaps have fallen out of love with the corporate world. Working with the more vulnerable in society could be just what you need.

You’ll understand what it means to feel truly valued. Knowing your contribution helps the wellbeing of others, every single day.

The organisations that have struggled to meet the well-reported increased demand in this sector are at the point where they recognise fundamental changes are needed ASAP.

https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/life-sciences-and-healthcare/articles/global-health-care-sector-outlook.html

Digital innovation and a desire to change are happening. The next phase is acceleration.

If you want to be part of meaningful change, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

We work with a number of health and social care organisations at Find your Flex.

We’re currently in partnership with Cygnet Healthcare who are doing a lot of brilliant and innovative work in this space.

Cygnet offer constant paths for career progression to any of their staff who want it. They offer a list of staff benefits longer than my COVID roots (very long).

Have a look at all their current vacancies– https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/clients/cygnet-healthcare

If any of this has sparked your interest and you’d like to talk to one of our Careers Coaches – you can meet our Team here: https://findyourflex.co.uk/coaching/

They’re happy to offer an initial 20minute FOC consultation to establish whether you’d benefit from their coaching framework.

If you decide to work together, hourly rates apply. But they offer a 10% discount for anyone considering a career in H&SC. Find Your Passion and purpose in life– it’s honestly there for the taking!

Categories
Flexible Working

Flexible Working Appeal – How to Make a Convincing Flex Request

Flexible working is undergoing a paradigm shift. Cued by the Covid pandemic, several businesses are leaning towards a more agile format. Tech giants are trailblazing and high-street brands are following suit. But many employers remain hesitant about flex. Perhaps because it was presented during lockdown in its most dystopian manner – stressful, isolated and juggled in with home-schooling. How do you convince a doubtful boss about the long-term benefits of flex?

What procedure?

You may make a statutory flexible working request if you meet the requirements. Alternatively, you may submit an informal request. For more information on your legal rights, check out www.acas.org.uk and www.gov.uk. Whichever route you choose, you will still have to sell your idea.

Slice it up

Too often people think that the default is to go part-time. There are myriad options out there and you may find that full-time but with core or staggered hours is actually more feasible. Slice up your working life and see what kind of flex will suit each part of it. For example, you could do compressed hours in conjunction with home-working. Be as creative as you can, so that you can present your employer with as many realistic alternatives as possible.

Gather evidence of Flexible Working

A case is only as good as its evidence. Check whether your employer has a flexible working policy in its handbook and use that as a starting point. To boost your request, you could gather case-studies which relate directly to your job position which demonstrate successful examples of flex working. The strongest argument against “it can’t be done” is to show, exactly and concretely, how it is being done. You may also gather statistics about flex and the corresponding impact on productivity in your industry.

Sell your business model

Our reasons for flex-working are deeply rooted because they impact on such important areas of life such as health, family or identity. But this is not the time to present a purely personal case or one that deals solely with generalities. By all means, emphasise the positive outcomes for you but that it only half the story. We all acknowledge that there are many advantages associated with homeworking. There is less stress, less time lost commuting, less pressure on public transport and a positive impact on the environment. However, your employer still has a business to run, as well as a profit and loss account to balance.

Get specific. Anticipate every push-back your employer can make and come up with a persuasive solution. If you work from home on Thursdays and there is a scheduled team meeting that day, offer to link in via Zoom.
Talk up the benefits to the employer of offering flexibility. If you work remotely full-time, your boss could save money on renting commercial office space. If business is brisk at the start of the week but sluggish later on, you could offer to do more hours on Monday in return for an early departure on Friday.


Flex back

Flexibility is two-way street. If your employer is willing to let you flex, be prepared to do the same in return. When there is an away day that usually falls on your at-home time, still turn up. If there is a sudden temporary upsurge in work, pitch in by logging on in the evening for example (although be vigilant that this does not settle into a permanent pattern). This approach not only builds strong businesses, it also promotes goodwill and fruitful professional relationships. Check out why staying connected while remote working important and how you can best state your case to your employer how it will work for them.

Schedule a Flexible Working trial period

Employers may well be sceptical about whether flex working will actually deliver and this uneasiness can lead them to turn down requests. To combat this hesitancy, offer a trial period to see how it pans out. If there are difficulties, use this experience as an opportunity to iron them out in a proactive manner.
Flex Appeal. Have you got it?

Categories
Business Careers

Flex From Day 1 Won’t Work, Here’s Why:

A fight for real change in Flexible Working, is about the long term. And if we lose sight of that by aiming for short term changes, then we are creating larger hurdles for ourselves down the road.

Katy Perry once sang ‘I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything’… which is a self awareness statement many of us will have felt over the last few years.

Standing up for what you believe in can be hard and rewarding and grey making and sleep depriving. But those who do it, lead us in new directions and drive the change we need for all of our futures.

Pushing the boundaries of the accepted is something I ask of my team on a day to day basis, we knew before the impact of Covid19 on work, just how hard our fight is – I cant say the ‘flexibility’ some of us have been rewarded with, has helped our cause…

Whilst many continue to see #FlexibleWorking as a female or mum based issue, we will never see change and whilst we applaud the CIPD #FlexFromDay1 campaign, in reality, the firms who say NO to #FlexibleWorkRequests at 6 months, are in no danger or pressure of changing their views from delivering the same verdict at Day 1.

So where does that leave us?

Well in my humble opinion, it leaves us with a rather large education piece to deliver.

Businesses need to share their best practice. Businesses need to share the trials and tribulations of their journeys to flexible working and the positive impact it has had on productivity and the bottom line. It is only by showcasing the positive impact on business, including profiling the men who work flexibly and highlighting the diversity of thought and people a flex work program can deliver, that we will finally get movement in this space.

We can’t be distracted by the ‘progressive’ #4dayweek tribe – delivering another cunning move to shut us up. A ready made excuse, for companies to not look at any other form of flexibility you may need, why would they if you already get to work 4 days a week?

We can’t just leave it to Mother Pukka and Joeli Brearly to fight for mums or Ian Dinwiddy and Han-Son Lee to fight for dads. We as a nation of workers need to be open about what we want and share with our employers HOW we can make it work.

A move to output based employment contracts?

We business leaders and owners need to find the skills to reward OUTPUT not HOURS when it comes to the relationships with our employees. We need to move away from the archaic work models of the 1950’s when only the ‘Man of the house’ was expected to work and that we are still fundamentally adhering too.

This is about the future of work (of which flexibility isn’t the only factor) and (un)fortunately its not politicians who can deliver this. The onus IS on us.

We need a reset. We need to learn. We need to want to change. And we need to do it.

If you can help our #CallForChange in working practices please do get in touch, we would love to share your journeys and the reasons why you want to see #changeinourlifetime.

Categories
Careers Flexible Working Students and Graduates

The Apprenticeship Route: Why it is a smart choice

The Apprenticeship route is a path to employment that has been around for decades. Despite many positive attributes, apprenticeships have almost become a second class career path. Taking a backseat to other means of gaining employment. This blog post will be looking at some disillusioned stigmas associated with apprenticeships. And why currently it is one of the smartest routes to take to gaining employment.

Are schools diverting traffic from the Apprenticeship Route?

In 2019 I conducted a survey within high schools with students and teachers as part of my internship. To find out which routes to employment they were most encouraged to take. The results were that the majority of students found apprenticeships appealing. Yet only a minority would actually choose this route. Students felt they did not have enough accessible information on apprenticeships.

The teachers’ survey yielded similar results. They claimed that the majority of students go to university. The teachers also admitted that there is ‘sometimes’ a stigma with other post-education career paths. They did say these attitudes are changing, but felt the other career paths are not as encouraged as university. Many said there could be more accessible information within schools on the apprenticeship route.

The results showed schools encourage the university route more than other career paths. A general comment made by teachers is that views on the apprenticeship route are changing and becoming more positive. Yet, that implies it is changing from a negative view, which should never have become prominent in the first place. One thing is clear, schools need to provide more encouragement and accessible information on apprenticeships. To do otherwise if depriving students of opportunities that could potentially lead to a fulfilling career.

The Impact of Parental Views on Apprenticeships

Parents want what is best for their children, it is their innate priority. And for a lot of young people, family opinions/encouragement is what impact’s their decisions the most. Parents can often map out their child’s career journey before they can even walk. Could pre-existing bias or misconceptions of post-education routes be impacting their children’s choices?

A survey on Young Persons’ Behaviour and Attitudes relating to careers advice and guidance, was conducted Island between September 2019 and February 2020. Statistics showed that over two thirds (68%) of pupils agreed their family encouraged them to go to university. 2% more than the number of students who agreed it was their own choice to go to university. These statistics are worrying. Showing that parent encouragement of the university path could be detracting from the number of children choosing other (just as successful) routes to employment.

This shows a bias towards the university route. It’s clear the majority of parents think that university is the best path their child can take. They should focus on what career their child is pursuing. As the university route is not always the best way to get there. For many parents, their proudest moment was when their child received their degree. And they should be proud, that is an amazing achievement. However they also need to keep their priorities straight; which is more important? That framed cap and degree, while their child is upstairs on their computer struggling to find work? Or the knowledge that their child has a fulfilling career and were encouraged to choose the best means to get there? Parents must not let misconceived bias and pride derail them from doing what is best for their child’s future.

The Apprenticeship Route vs The University Route

Every job role is subjective; some require certain routes to get there. This section is less about deciding which route is better and more about creating a level playing field. It is true that there are many pros to going to university. Yet there are more than a few cons too. And it is a fact that apprenticeships do not have these same cons.

Certain job roles specify that they want a degree in the field. However, to some employers its does not mean that much. University is expensive, often new students have to borrow the money to go to university. You are essentially in debt before you have even gotten into a full time career. Also you are giving up three or more years of your life to studying. There may be less time consuming routes that lead to the same outcome. There is a level of exclusivity to some courses; they can be difficult to get into. You may find yourself a few points shy of the minimum and unable to get onto the course you want. An apprenticeship can be a worthwhile alternative.

You don’t pay to do for the apprenticeship route, you get paid. Although payment is the least you get out of an apprenticeship. What is more important is the experience you will gain. Employers are becoming as interested in experience as they are in a high level qualification. You may be able to do work placements and voluntary work while in university. But won’t gain as much experience as the full specified training while doing an apprenticeship. Some employers conducting apprenticeships tend to take on once they have achieved that qualification. As they have spent time and money training someone how to do a job and to do it well. No route is better than the other, they are equally beneficial. But you may find one will yield results more than the other depending on the job role you’re aiming for. 

The Flexible Route

It is important to point out that more young people require flexible working hours and study time. They could be young parents. Or have relatives they need to look after or have physical or mental health needs that need catering too. There is a stigma that flexible working is primarily reserved for single mums or people over a certain age. However on, Find Your Flex, 47% of flexible job seekers using the site are male and around 60% report they don’t have children or their children are aged 17+. So no one should make this assumption. Everyone should be entitled to flexible working and young people are no exception, the same goes for their post-education routes. Is it fair that a young person cannot gain a higher qualification because they may have to look after an unwell relative? Of course not. Which is why apprenticeship providers, universities and employers need to begin making changes. To incorporate not only flexible working but flexible study into their courses.

Covid-19 has shown us how vital this is. In the face of the greatest threat of our generation, we have had to make changes. Yet we shouldn’t have had to adapt as much as we have. If society made changes to incorporate flexible working and study before this pandemic, not as many people would have suffered. We wouldn’t have has such a drop in grades and rise in unemployment. When we return to normality, we cannot forget the lessons it taught us. We cannot throw away the importance of flexible working and study; we cannot make the same mistakes twice.  

The rise of the Apprenticeship Route

Find Your Flex has been on this mission long before Covid. Yet we will continue to ensure flexible apprenticeships continue long after the fight against this virus is won. Visit out apprenticeship hub: at https://jobs.findyourflex.co.uk/apprentice-hub to find out more. We work with organisations that are making the significant changes to ensure that flexible working is available for everyone. If this encompasses you, do not hesitate to look at our apprenticeships. As you may find the perfect apprenticeship for you that will lead to that job you are striving towards.

The apprenticeship route isn’t exclusively for school leavers either, it is available for anyone older than that. Even graduates, don’t assume that because you chose to do a degree that you cannot or should not consider the apprenticeship route. If you find yourself struggling to enter the field you want, an apprenticeship could be the perfect way in. For more advice on what graduates can do or should not do to gain a career after graduating, have a read of this blog post: After Graduating: Getting that first step on the job ladder

Categories
Flexible Working Lifestyle

Promoting Wellness At Work With Flexible Working

Flexible Working In Business: Adapt To Survive

The year 2020 brought unprecedented challenges to our personal and professional lives. The ongoing crisis has also tested the preparedness of organisations across the globe in dealing with the employees and customers in a remote working environment. Wellness at work has always been important. Now more than ever though does it need special attention.

Understandably lots of people do not want to return to busy and unsafe trains, buses, offices and workplaces. At the same time many fear being isolated at home for months on end, and worry about the impact on their jobs.

In this article we look at the ways businesses can offer inclusive practices that don’t cost the earth. 

Wellness & Mental Health

When the coronavirus pandemic forced a large part of our workforce to embrace the WFH life, it was like a dream come true for many. However, close to six months down the line, stories of WFH burnout and lack of motivation were coming through thick and fast. So, it was only a matter of time before companies and employers began devising ways to make their employees’ new work life better.

While remote workers deal with being productive in a new setting and find new ways to connect with coworkers outside of the office, maintaining physical and mental health is becoming increasingly important. HR teams can help inspire employees to take their health as seriously as their work through effective wellness programs, but these have to adapt to the current circumstances like everything else. 

The Young Entrepreneur Council shared their best strategies for leaders looking to successfully implement wellness programs in their organisations.

Wellness In Flexible Working

The whole nature of flexible working promotes wellness at work. Being happy with your work pattern and place of work usually equates to better mental health.

There are many ways to work in 2020. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a parent looking for something part-time or returning to the world of jobs after a career break, there really is something for everyone. So it might help you to know what types of work are actually available.

Brie Reynolds of Motherly offers a brilliant list that you can work your way through and tips on how to speak to your employer as well.

Remote work: Also known as telecommuting or working from home, this option means you may work the same hours as usual but without going into an office.

Flexible schedule: This type of flex work gives a worker the ability to shift their work hours depending on the needs of the day.

Alternative schedule: This flexible work arrangement denotes a change in schedule with set hours that aren’t necessarily traditional office hours, for example, working 6am-3pm, or 12pm-8pm.

Split shift: In this flexitime arrangement, some hours are worked earlier in the day and some later. For example, you may work a first shift from 6 am to 10 am, then a second shift from 4 pm to 8 pm, leaving core daytime hours open for parental responsibilities.

Part-time: Part-time work means a reduced schedule where you work fewer than 40 hours each week.

Compressed work week: While you’ll still clock the same number of hours per week, a compressed workweek shortens the number of days on which you work. A common setup is four days of 10 hours each. If the arrangement is company-wide, the office may be closed completely one day per week.

Spread out schedule: Consider this the inverse of the compressed work week—for example, workers could work seven days per week but only for 5-6 hours per day.

Freelance: This option allows you to work as a contractor versus as an employee, which may allow for increased flexibility but perhaps at the cost of some of the benefits of full-time employees, such as health care or unemployment insurance. If you’re considering going freelance, then Crunch has some fantastic free resources available.

Remote Communication – Tech To The Rescue

In a remote working scenario, one of the biggest challenges is keeping remote employees engaged and addressing the sense of isolation they might feel from the larger group. Communication is key to the wellbeing of remote working teams. Technology provides the tools to communicate with their peers and managers easily.

Today’s remote communication platforms offer sophisticated collaboration tools that are efficient in creating vibrant opportunities for conversations and may be considered an equivalent to everyone being in the same location, in a connected environment.

We reached out to our network to find out their most recommended communication tools for collaboration and staying in touch, so naturally we wanted to share them with you!

  • Slack features Coordinate your integrations with countless other marketing tools, Effortlessly organise your communications across channels and spaces, Use mentions and tags to communicate with your team
  • Microsoft Teams Features: Email-style threaded conversations, voice/video conferencing, team chats & private discussions, In-line animated GIFs, tabs for frequently used documents, open API, @mentions, customisable alerts, and multi-factor authentication.
  • Skype Features: Chat, conferencing, instant messaging, live/video conferencing, monitoring, receiving, reporting & statistics, SMS integration, third-party integration, and voicemail.
  • Facebook workplace Features Workplace is a communication tool that connects everyone in your company, even if they’re working remotely. Use familiar features such as Groups, Chat, Rooms and live video broadcasting to get people talking and working together.
  • Whatsapp Features Using the app in business communications removes the obstacle of making employees adapt to an unfamiliar system. Quite inadvertently, it guarantees the received messages are reviewed on a regular basis.
  • Trello features Organise tasks across boards, lists, and cards, Prioritise projects with tags and labels, Integrate with a host of other marketing platforms
  • Asana features Plan and structure your projects in logical ways, Set priorities and deadlines on tasks, Follow your projects and tasks to completion, Uncover dependencies using Gantt charts
  • Monday.com monday.com is an intuitive platform where teams can track processes and workflows, communicate within and across teams, and bring all of their tools together under one system. Its simplistic design and flexible features mean teams can get started in minutes.
  • Zoom Features: Scheduling, chat/messaging, email invitations, live/video conferencing, meeting management, screen sharing, user management, reporting & statistics, company branding, video call recording, drag & drop file sharing, and synced content library.
  • G Suite Features: Email & chat archiving, auditing & reporting, custom email address, cloud file storage, @mentions, customisable templates, file transfer, shared workspace, live / video conferencing, two-way audio & video, email tracking, instant messaging, resource allocation, to-do list, and email notifications.
  • We Transfer features Send and receive 20 GB per transfer, Create Pro pages, Deliver work with branded communications

“It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable”

– Charles Darwin 

So while the government advice changes (again), we can all be sure of one thing. 

This is the new normal. 

People are re-prioritising their lives and deciding that they want more choice in their lives, and unless businesses want to lose fantastic employees to more flexible companies, they need to adapt and evolve.

Take care of your employees and they will take care of business.

Joining workingfamilies.co.uk and #WorkLifeWeek 

Categories
Flexible Working

Making Flexible Work Work

With our recent addition of a fabulous set of career coaches to our team, Kris Thorne decided an interview with our CEO Cheney Hamilton was in order.

In this interview, Kris and Cheney explore the case for flexible working and how The Find Your Flex Group developed into the great job site and community support sites they are today.

They also discuss mid life career changes, apprenticeships, low birth rate years and the impact on a future skills shortage.

If you’d like to learn more about Kris and our other career coaches visit this page:

Career Coaches

Categories
Flexible Working Lifestyle

The Four Day Working Week

The four day week has been touted as the “new better” for the way we work and is gaining widespread traction as a consequence of the game-changing coronavirus pandemic. A FindYourFlex survey found that 72% of respondents would welcome a four day week to turbocharge the economy with 28% against. But what does this actually entail? 

What Does A 4 Day Week Mean?

There are various forms of four day week. So, the FndYourFlex Survey further asked what kind of 4 day week people preferred.

  • Compressed schedule – complete five days of work in four, with no loss of salary. 78% favoured this approach.
  • Part-time model – work for four days and receive less pay. 18% of respondents gave this the thumbs up (4% were uncommitted to either compressed or part-time).
  • 32 hour week – more radical is the proposal made by John McDonnell of the Labour Party that the full-time working week should be lowered to 32 hours but without any loss of pay. 

A universal Monday to Thursday is unrealistic as we want to visit shops, museums, sporting venues and restaurants every day of the week, and care homes and emergency services operate round-the-clock. But the idea is that people can work differently outside the traditional norm.

Why Adopt A Shorter Week?

A truncated week is cited as offering a number of advantages as it may:

  • replenish physical resources – rest and/or leisure activities revitalise us;
  • boost mental well-being – stress and anxiety fall;
  • enhance relationships – more fulfilling time is spent with family and friends;
  • save the environment – less commuting erases part of our carbon footprint;
  • jump start volunteering – charities may see an upsurge in participation;
  • stabilise employment – redundancies are avoided by having all staff on reduced hours; 
  • widen the talent pool – those shut out by rigid timings can enter the job market;
  • capture loyalty – a talent retention mechanism to stop good workers from leaving; and 
  • cut overheads – if the office is shut for an extra day, running costs decrease. 

How Controversial Is A Shorter Week?

Objections are raised against four day patterns of whatever ilk. Flex requests have been refused for myriad reasons such as impractical personnel changes, higher costs, downgraded business performance, lower customer service, and/or the need for continuity over five days. 

But it is the 32 hour week, do-four-get-five, that is stirring particular controversy. Surely it is counter-intuitive to pay someone more for working fewer hours? Yet many of us are already paid to go on holiday through remunerated annual leave. The state offers statutory parental entitlements, sometimes topped up generously by employers, essentially paying people to look after their own children for a while. This is done because there are acknowledged social and health benefits that outweigh the pure economic expense. The ask of the 32 hour week is to push this concept one step further. 

32 Hour Week – How Much Does It Cost?

The battleground of the 32 hour week is the possible price tag associated with it. The NHS is often mentioned as a problematic situation. If you pay a nurse for five days instead of four, you must hire more staff since people are ill every day. The Conservative Party claims that the costs to the NHS would swell by £6.1 billion a year. Others assert that the NHS is a special case and not the yardstick by which to judge all sectors. 

Autonomy, a non-profit organisation, has stated that the cost of the 32 hour week is lower, as bald headline figures fail to factor in the gains from beneficial features such as reduced medical absence. As the Health and Safety Executive has estimated 57% of sick days are due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression, this is not to be ignored lightly. The difficulty is that several of the advantages, outlined earlier in this article, are not easy to quantify and are contentiously debated by those who champion one assessment methodology over another. 

What Next?

The part-time and compressed four day weeks, whilst not as widespread as they could be, are progressively being offered. However, even the most ardent proponents of the 32 hours option admit that adjustments will be incremental rather than an overnight phenomenon. There are likely to be a plethora of trial runs, setbacks and resistance. It may also not be viable in every instance. 

But it is worth remembering that changes that were initially seen as radical are accepted as standard practice. The 5 day week was once novel, annual leave was viewed as rewarding indolence, and maternity leave was regarded as an unnecessary self-indulgence. Now we expect these benefits. There is the potential to herald in a whole new future.

Categories
Flexible Working Lifestyle

Why Flex About It?

When someone commented on my “tidy and uncomplicated career”, as apparently demonstrated by my LinkedIn profile, I was astonished. Whilst I was glad that my LinkedIn entries were giving a favourable impression, my life behind them was at various junctures full of twists and turns, some beneficial and others more challenging. That simple, casual aside caused me to ponder upon the role of flexibility in my own situation and the implications of flex for the workplace and society more widely.

How And Why Of Flex

“The trouble with this flexibility lark,” I was once advised, “is that it’s all about part-time for mothers.” Leaving the matter of whether flex employees merely “lark” around (we don’t), such a narrow view overlooks the myriad respects in which work and personal life can meld together. People want a variety of adaptable arrangements, regardless of their gender or parental status. 

Although I switched to part-time after the birth of my son, before that I was full-time in varying formats – remotely from home, compressed hours and staggered start/finish. The motives for doing so ranged from fracturing my foot, caring for my father who was temporarily very unwell, undertaking voluntary activities that accorded with my values, and studying for a postgraduate qualification. There were also two instances when I took sabbaticals to be an expat spouse, accompanying my husband when he was posted abroad. 

On each occasion that a dilemma arose, I worried that I would either have to discard the job I enjoyed or compromise on other equally important concerns. After all, we are more than our CVs. Fortunately, things were made easier by having a far-sighted employer who played the long game, coupled with a line manager who was a results-watcher rather than a time-and-motion monitor. When I asked my employer why there was such understanding and accommodation across the spectrum, not only for me but the majority of my colleagues, the HR specialist responded, “we get it back in spades.”

Flex For Life

Flexible working should not be confined to the trials and travails of one person – it affects all of us. With the pension age ever increasing, we are facing a career span of 50 years. With these demographics, is it really feasible to expect people to soldier on unremittingly with set-in-stone hours for half a century? This might be acceptable if life were akin to a pleasant amble on a beach but we know that, instead, events can crash upon us in huge waves and grab us in the undertow.  

As a former Chair of a legal diversity organization, I saw the attrition rate of highly trained people who walked out for the sole reason that it was impossible to find a work pattern that suited their changing circumstances. It is a dismaying waste of talent. Sadly, in many cases, even relatively minor adjustments would have swung the pendulum in a more positive direction. 

Through being a trustee of diversity and inclusion charities, I know that flexibility is required for all groups and at every stage of a person’s life. For example, grandparents need it to help care for grandchildren as much as a young person requires it for disability issues. And it is vital to remember that flex is not only an answer to difficult situations, such as dealing with illness, but is also a liberating response to optimistic aspirations, such as having more space for oneself or one’s interests.

Ripple Impact Of Flex

Should we really care whether Jill can log on from home once a week or whether Jack leaves early on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Actually, these seemingly innocuous changes have a startling domino effect. Such tweaks result in workers being motivated to continue in jobs that best utilise their talents, instead of seeking a new employer with the upheaval that brings. Oxford Economics, for example, has calculated that replacing a staff member can be as much as £30,000, taking into account factors such agency fees, advertising, interviewing, management time etc., with a major expense being the impact of disruption.

If Jill works remotely, this minimises commuting with the attendant extra cost, exhaustion and environmental pollution. Both Jack and Jill remain in gainful employment, paying the taxes that we need for schools and the NHS, and building up pensions for their long-term security. Through flex they gain a better work/life ratio and maintain their well-being, thus cutting down on sick days and medical visits. When flexibility keeps people in jobs, in health and in balance, the ripple effect means that we all win.      

Flex Update

Reflecting on this, I rewrote my LinkedIn profile so as not to photo-shop out the significance of flex to me. Without it, I could not have engaged constructively with various aspects of my life cycle – family, health, education, volunteering, living abroad. Even worse, I might have abandoned the workplace altogether and become just another disillusioned statistic fallen by the professional wayside. This is why I advocate for others to have the advantages that I had and continue to enjoy.

Now is the time to flex and flex for all.  

 

Susha Chandrasekhar

Susha Chandrasekhar
Categories
Careers Flexible Working Parental

Getting Help to Return in Manchester

Are you
a parent or carer in Greater Manchester, looking to return to paid work? Are
you looking for support to find flexible jobs with family friendly or carer friendly
employers?

Caring,
Working, Living is a Greater Manchester project that supports people with
caring responsibilities who are looking to return to paid employment
(Returners) to increase their confidence and self-esteem in relation to
returning to paid employment, and to improve their understanding of the skills
that employers are looking for.

Returners
are people who have taken at least a year out of work to undertake caring
responsibilities for children, or elderly or sick relatives.

Caring,
Working Living can:

  • Provide information to ‘Returners’ about agencies in their local area
    that provide support with job search skills.
  • Provide financial support towards the cost of job searching, for example
    towards the cost of childcare or other care; travel to an employment support
    activity; interview costs such as travel or clothing.
  • Provide information about employers that are offering coffee and chats; workplace
    visits; work trials; placements or Returnships as part of their recruitment.

If you
have any questions about the project, please contact Vicky for more information.

Email:
returnersfund@gmcvo.org.uk

Phone:
0161 277 1044

Returners can refer themselves here: https://www.gmcvo.org.uk/caringworkingliving/returners

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaringWorkingLiving

Categories
Careers Flexible Working

Flexible Working At Oxbotica

We Are Powered By Our People.

At Oxbotica we take great pride in our team. We create a space where everyone is welcome, heard, and celebrated for their strengths. We’re driven by challenge and a commitment to make our employees experience as dynamic and rewarding as we can.

Furthermore, as we build a global business together, we are steered by our experience, insight of an entire team and guided by strong and approachable leadership.

Oxbotica support a healthy work-life balance, in part by offering flexible working and plenty of social engagements open to the whole team. We regularly share our vision, targets and company updates with everyone, including remote workers. Oxbotica believe that an engaged workforce is more productive and positive.

As we grow internationally our values and culture are fundamental in keeping us on track and moving in the right direction. Therefore, our people embody these values. They trust us to provide strong leadership, a secure environment and opportunities for growth. We trust them to contribute their energy and expertise to move the business forward.

What Our Employees Say…

  • “If there is a problem to solve, I acknowledge that I don’t know everything – and I don’t try to know everything. Instead, I surround myself with the best people. I canvass opinions from the experts – my team – and pick the answer that gets the job done.”
  • “There is a real sense of community and a very healthy attitude towards things like flexible working. This honest environment encourages accountability and creates a safe space for opening up and asking questions.”
  • “The team is full of clever people. We embrace the challenge of scaling to a global company together”
  • “It’s easy to have a say – everyone wants your opinion.”

Join Oxbotica

Join the brains behind the software that lets every vehicle do more.

Changing the way we move people and goods takes talent, dedication and a united team. Our rapidly growing company includes world-class engineers, technical leaders and commercial masterminds, who are tackling exciting challenges collaboratively and creatively every day.

We develop technology that will touch on the operation of every industry across the globe. As a company we work to create a safer future for both people and the planet. Our team members are people that share our values and drive to make an impact, as we create the future of autonomy.

Flexibility

We create the conditions to help you do your best. Therefore, we do all we can to create opportunities for everyone regardless of personal circumstances. As part of this commitment, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements including:

  • Part time working
  • Remote working
  • Extended parental leave
  • Unpaid sabbatical

We work 37.5 hours a week, Monday – Friday around core hours of 10:00 – 16:00. This is enough for most; but if you require any extra flexibility we will do what we can to support you.

To see our Current Vacancies click HERE