One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many employers have seen the benefits of providing flexible work. Find out what it is and why you might ask for it.
The modern company is looking with greater frequency towards the benefits of diversity and inclusion. However, part of this is being able to have work for someone who is unable to fit to the typical 9 to 5, 5 day working week.
As such, many employers are hoping that they will increase the number of quality candidates by offering forms of flexible work. This is becoming increasingly common and has taken leaps forward after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is because the pandemic prevented workers from going into their office, such that almost all companies across the UK had to look towards some sort of flexible work just to keep running. In turn, even when companies did not have to offer flexible work, they have been opened up to the benefits and recognise that it is not particularly difficult to implement.
Are most employers offering flexible working conditions in the UK?
Although the numbers of employers offering flexible work has increased in recent times, there are still some roles that cannot be made flexible. For example, if your role is tied to serving a customer, you have to work when the customer is available. As such, your employer couldn’t agree to you working hours when the customer is not available, as that would make your job redundant.
There are a number of different kinds of flexible work, with differing levels of flexibility. Often, there is still a strictly held structure and agreement between the employer and the employee in regards to when and how flexibility the role is.
This has been included as an example to demonstrate that some flexible work is so common many don’t even recognise it as irregular. However, agreeing to work only part of the time is a level of flexibility that not all employers offer. As such, it is classed as a form of flexible work.
Flexitime is a form of flexible working in which the employer and employee agree a set number of hours or workload within a certain timeframe, but the employer can choose whenever it is completed within that timeframe. For example, an agreement may state that the employee works for 7 hours on Monday to Friday every week, but that the hours can be completed at any time between 7am and midnight.
This is an agreement in which an employee will complete the regular number of hours or workload but within a shorter timeframe. For example, the employee may agree to 35 hours per week, but that they can compress that into three 9-hour days and one 8-hour day, instead of five 8-hour days.
A common preference for someone who might live elsewhere for part of the year, or has other dependents, annualised hours is where the employee agrees to a set amount of work over a whole year. That means that they can choose to complete all their work within a shorter period and take the rest of the year off.
This flexible working is specifically developed for parents: It involves a regular working week or period, such as a 9-5. However, there are agreed upon periods of the year in the employee will not work without having to request leave. This is usually the periods in which an employee’s children are not at school and so they usually take that time off.