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Flexible working is much more than part time work. Working Mums outlines some of the growing range of options.
When people think about flexible working, they mainly imagine part-time work, but the term encompasses a huge range of different ways of working and new options are being added all the time.
Flexitime: employees work an agreed number of hours over a set period. Usually some core hours are agreed, with flexible start and finish times and the option of time off in lieu if more hours are worked.
Compressed hours: working more hours in a shorter period, for example, working four long days instead of five shorter ones.
Annualised or seasonal hours: employees work longer hours in busy periods and fewer hours at other times of the year/season.
Homeworking or teleworking: employees work from home because their job is suited to homeworking, work from home a day or more a week or work from home on an occasional basis.
Job shares: two employees share the same job, with the work usually divided 50:50 so each employee works 2.5 days a week, although some people choose to work on alternate weeks instead. Not all job shares are split evenly.
Term-time only work: employees work during school term-times only, and have the holidays off.
Temporary reduced hours/phased return or retirement: reduced hours agreed on a temporary basis, for instance by mothers returning after maternity leave or by people heading towards retirement. The time period for reduced hours is usually agreed beforehand.
Part-time work: working reduced hours from the normal 9-5 day.
Some employees use a variety of flexible options, for instance, working part time with one day working from home.
Clare Dean works part time as a Human Resources Manager for a Sales and Marketing consultancy based in Ascot. Her hours are 9.30am to 3pm 4 days per week which allows her to see her two small children.
She switched from a full time job around half a year ago after seeing her current job advertised on WorkingMums website. “I realised that as much as we needed for me to work full time financially, I actually wasn’t able to devote to anyone ie my children, my husband, my job and myself – enough time and energy resulting in all areas of our lives being affected and me having to leave my job after 7 years (in post) to be able to readdress the balance and satisfy us all,” she says.
Jenny Keen also got her job as a home-based estate agent through WorkingMums. She works 16 hours a week around her three year old, who attends preschool.
She had taken three years out of the workplace after giving birth.
Kam Kaur is a local government worker and single parent of two primary school-aged children. She works compressed hours.
This means she works longer hours for four days a week, allowing her to have Fridays off to pick up her children from school. She says the flexibility this gives her is invaluable.