National Work Life Week

National Work Life Week (10 – 14 October) is Working Families’ (a UK based work-life balance charity) annual campaign to get both employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and the importance of work-life balance. Their mission is to remove the barriers that people with caring responsibilities face in the workplace. This year, they are focussing on increasing access to flexible working and finding the ‘flex’ in every role.

So, what is flexible working? Well basically it means altering the way you work to better suit your life. Examples of flexible working include:

  • reducing your hours to work part-time
  • having flexibility with your start and finish time (sometimes known as ‘flexitime’)
  • doing your hours over fewer days (‘compressed hours’)
  • working from home or elsewhere (‘remote working’)
  • sharing the job with someone else (‘job share’)

Flexible working empowers you to choose what time you begin to work, where to work and when you will stop work. It’s an effective way to fit working in around other aspects of your life, such as being a parent, carer or having another interests such as sports or hobbies. Any employee with 26 weeks of service with an employer has the right to make a request to work flexibly. You don’t have to be a parent or a carer. But you can only make one request in any twelve month period.  Now this might sound great, but you have the right to request it not a right to have it granted.

One upside to the recent pandemic has been that many office based workers have been able to prove to their employers that working from home and other flexible arrangements work.  A request must be made in writing and explain what changes you want to make and why. If you want to do this, then Working Families’ has a handy guide to help you.

The benefit are not just for the employee. Providing flexible working has been shown to increased productivity, increased morale / motivation, decreased absenteeism / presenteeism and reduced staff turnover.

As Cara Delevingne (English model, actress and singer) said, “When you have balance in your life, work becomes an entirely different experience. There is a passion that moves you to a whole new level of fulfilment and gratitude, and that’s when you can do your best… for yourself and for others”.

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