Is flexible working for you?
There’s a shift in the workplace happening. In a move that could benefit everyone from working parents to green graduates who hope to create synergy between their work/life balance, many companies are loosening their traditional working structures in place of a more agile, employee-led schedule.
Read this story of a working mum who has found happiness through flexible work within client services.
Michelle Chandler, Rocket Marketing Solutions (http://www.rocketsocialmedia.co.uk)
Just over a year ago, I walked away from a successful career as a Senior Marketing Manager in one of the UK’s top retailers to pursue a more flexible way of working.
Most of my colleagues thought I was mad; from the outside, it looks as though I had the perfect set-up – I was working 4 days a week in a senior position with a good salary and, unlike many of my co-workers, I was managing to leave the office at 5pm every day to pick my kids up from nursery and after-school club. I had a great team and my department was delivering strong results. Why would I want to leave?!
Well, behind the scenes, it was a different story. With my husband working away during the week, I was struggling to balance the demands of my job with managing all the childcare at home. With my daughter at school and my son still in nursery, doing the infamous “double drop-off” every morning whilst trying to get to the office at a reasonable time, was making the mornings unbelievably stressful.
Just as my youngest was due to start school, I saw the Digital Mums (digitalmums.com) advert pop up on my Facebook feed, and decided to take a leap of faith by leaving my job to train in strategic social media management so that I could work from home during school hours.
The course was great and I spent 6 months freelancing as a social media manager whilst completing the programme. At the same time, I started providing business consultancy to a local business, drawing on my 20 years’ buying and marketing experience to help them to reduce costs and implement a successful marketing strategy.
A couple of months ago, I ran some Digital Marketing training for GIG Retail and they then offered me a more permanent role heading up their Sales team. I didn’t want to lose the flexibility I had become used to, so I agreed to work 3 days a week from 10-3 so that I could still do the school run – fortunately they were keen for me to join and so were happy to accommodate my flexible working request.
I now have the best work/life balance I’ve ever had.
I work at GIG Retail on Monday-Wednesday from 10-3 which means that I can walk the kids to school and back before heading into work. I also work 1 day a week as Head of Marketing for Mini First Aid which I do mainly from home.
Changing my working hours has completely changed my life and has significantly improved my relationship with my children. Having an extra hour in the morning means that we now sit down as a family for breakfast, instead of giving the kids a cereal bar to eat in the car because I’m late for work. After school, we sit and read together or play a game instead of getting home at 6:30 with just enough time for a quick snack before their bath and bedtime. It also means I can arrange play-dates with their school friends, something I’d never been able to do when I was working until 5pm.
I’m much happier and less stressed which definitely makes me more productive at work.
I think it’s great that companies are starting to embrace flexible working and moving away from the ‘coat on a chair’ mentality where employees are expected to be at their desk from 9-5 (or much longer in many cases).
With advances in remote technology, many employees do not need to be in the office to do their jobs
I generally find that if you’re prepared to give your team some flexibility in when & where they do their jobs, they pay you back with increased commitment and loyalty.
I firmly believe that it is the companies who embrace flexible working who will be successful in the future. There is a whole army of talented women who have dropped out of the workforce since they had children due to the difficulties in finding meaningful, part-time work - this is a talent pool that most businesses are currently not tapping into.
As Millennials join the workforce, they will demand a better work/life balance and the top talent – both male and female - will only work for companies that can provide this.
Flexible working is the future!