The workplace in its many forms is constantly in flux and more frequently we’re seeing that employers are harnessing the benefits of flexible working in all of its glory. Slowly but surely the need to trudge into an office every day is dwindling as technology drives forward a tidal change in working practices.
At Capability Jane our recruiters specialise in helping both employers and employees find the right match for their needs. With that in mind we wanted to put together our thoughts on some of the factors to consider when choosing your next flexible working job … here goes!
Flexible working can come in all sorts of different flavours so working out what’s on offer is normally a good first step. Below we’ve listed some of the most common to help you get a grasp of the lingo.
Flexitime requires an employee to be at work during a specified core period, usually equal to around 50% of the working day for example 11am - 3pm. Outside of those hours it’s your responsibility to fit the hours in around your needs. This option can be particularly useful for taking the kids to school or working around another role.
Compressed hours allow an employee to fit in their set number of hours over fewer days. If you always need Mondays off for example but would still like to work full time hours this could be the perfect option for you as you could fit in your hours over 4 days.
Annual hours are most often offered to shift workers where there may be big variations in demand throughout the year. It’s worth bearing in mind that your pattern of work can vary week to week and throughout the year, this may be coupled with higher basic pay as compensation.
Staggered hours can allow for employees that need to start and finish work at different times. This can be really useful if you have other commitments outside of work that occur at differing times in the day.
Job Sharing is another form of flexible working where a job is shared between two or more people. This can be particularly useful if you want to work part time hours due to family or other work commitments. It could involve working alternate days, half weeks, or alternate weeks. It can even be one person working in the morning and one in the afternoon.
In this increasingly digital age it’s not always necessary to work in a physical office. Employees are connected by smart phones, able to conduct meetings over Skype and collaborate on projects via the cloud. Benefits are abound for employers too as research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2013 found that increased distraction and decreased satisfaction go hand in hand with office spaces, so a good alternative may be working from home. Working from home could also let you retain your job whilst caring for your children or allow you to avoid the long commute by working from the comfort of your own home.
It’s not always plain sailing though. Some find it more beneficial to work in an office at least some days of the week to help the creative juices flow and to bounce ideas around. Before taking up this option it’s important to know how you work best and what you need to perform.
An important factor not to be underestimated is the type of technology or processes that the employer has in place to ensure that you can keep in touch and effectively collaborate on projects. Do they have an intranet, Skype or drop box account? Do they offer paid in-house training days to keep you up to date with any business developments? Be sure to get as much info as you can as all these things will affect how pleasurable and successful remote working is for you!
When considering whether flexible working for a current or future employer, getting the low down on whether they have done this before is a must. If they have, it could be useful to talk to someone already doing it. If they haven’t, it’s not necessarily the end of the world but it is worth trying to get a feel for the company culture towards flexible working.
If you’ve worked flexibly before, this could be your opportunity to alleviate any of their fears and to set a solid foundation for your future working relationship.
As with any decision you’ll need all the facts to help you make a considered choice. Find out about the employer’s expectations both in and outside of your flexible working agreements. As well as remote working or flexible hours you may be expected to take part in meetings or business travel and this could impact on your own childcare requirements or other commitments. Getting all the cards laid out on the table will ensure that you make an informed decision on your future.
Capability Jane is made up of a team of passionate, talented individuals driven to create and lead the marketplace for high quality part-time careers.
Contact us on 0845 604 1916 for more information about how we can help you flourish in your career.
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