Different types of flexible working

If you love your job, but just wish you had a bit more time with your family, why not ask your employer for a change in your working hours? Antonia Chitty, author of Family Friendly Working: Inspiring Ideas for Making Money When You Have Kids gives an overview on making your job work for you.

If one of your children is under six, or you have a disabled child under the age of 18 you have the right to request flexible working. Your employer does not have to change your hours, but they will have to consider request seriously.

You can ask:

  • for a change to the hours you work, perhaps reducing your hours
  • to change the times you work, so you can drop off and pick up your kids for example; or
  • to work from home, all or part of the time.

There are lots of different ways to do a job:

Annualised hours: An annual number of hours are agreed, and you then work out with your employer when you will work. This could be something like two weeks on, two weeks off, or you may be able to work all your hours during term time.
Ask yourself: is there enough flexibility in your work and life for you to work many hours sometimes and less at other times?

Compressed hours: You still do the same hours, but over fewer days. This could mean doing four 10-hour days or perhaps working a nine-day fortnight of nine-hour days.

Flexitime: This usually means that you work seven and a half or eight hours between 7am and 7pm. This is a good arrangement if you need to do the school run at one end of the day or the other.

Could all or part of your job be done just as effectively from home? You will need to make sure you stay in touch with the office, and may need to attend meetings. Bear in my though that depending on the nature of your work, family commitments and workload, time you take off during the working day may need to be made up in the evening.
Ask yourself: do you have enough discipline to ignore the distractions at home, e.g. your children coming home from school.


Job-sharing: This is where you work with a partner, covering a single job, but split the days of the week between you. You will need good handovers, perhaps with a time where you are both in the office to discuss what is going on. It can be problematic to find the right job share partner, but it can and does work.
Ask yourself: are you organised enough to finish you share of the work and handover to your job-sharer?

Part-time: this can mean working either mornings or afternoons only, or two to three full days out of five, and your pay is pro rata ? make sure your work reflects the change in your hours, too!
Ask yourself: can your job be done in reduced hours, and if not, how do you feel about the possibility of taking a more junior role?
Self-rostering: You select the hours to work that will suit you, and fit in with the needs of your employer.

Shift-working: There are many jobs outside the traditional nine to five. Consider evening and weekend working and you may be able to arrange things so either you or your partner is always there for the kids.
Staggered hours: Start and finish times can vary for different people in a team, so some finish early, while others start and finish late. This means that there will always be someone available to deal with clients or customers.

Term-time-only working: This works well if your company has seasonal demands, and is likely to be quiet during August, Christmas and Easter.


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