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Want to find a new flexible job, but are anxious about when to bring up the subject of flexibility? Workingmums has some tips.
You’re looking for a flexible job that can work round your children. You know lots of people with flexible jobs, but they’ve all negotiated them before or while on maternity leave with the firm they were working for before they got pregnant. Where do you begin?
1. Try organisations that specialise in offering flexible work, like workingmums.co.uk, which works with employers who are keen to promote their family friendly credentials. Also, do research in the field you want to work in to find out what the best firms to work for are in terms of flexible working. Working Families runs an awards scheme that identifies good practice. Check the websites of the firms you want to work for – look at their HR policy and check out issues like their attitudes to flexible working. Those that have good policies on flexible working are usually keen to advertise it and to list what they offer. Look out for companies that offer a range of different types of flexible working, from flexi-time and compressed hours to working from home and job shares.
2. When you go for interviews, don’t be shy about asking about the company’s flexible work policies. You don’t need to ask outright if you can work part-time or from home. It is better, at interview stage, to ask indirect questions about the company’s policies, about whether people normally work beyond their contracted hours and about how many of their employees work flexibly. If you are offered the job, you would then have to make a good business case for why you should do it on a flexible basis. Be realistic and don’t ask for a degree of flexibility which clearly will not work for the kind of job you are applying for.
3. If you have not agreed a flexible work pattern when you join as part of your contract of employment, it is advisable to go through a formal procedure for agreeing flexibility so that your work pattern is written down and becomes part of your contract after you have worked it for more than a year. You can refer to this if the company subsequently seeks to change your hours which they would have to do in consultation with you or risk being in breach of contract.
4. Remember that you still have to have childcare covered for flexible options such as working from home.