How OnBuy has embraced flexible working at the company

Ben Melville is a graphic designer at OnBuy. He explains how he and his employer worked together to build a flexible working pattern.

flexible working onbuy


Graphic designer Ben (pictured above), 40, is married with one seven-year-old daughter. So how does he make his job and family work for all of them?

Tell me how your job works from a flexibility perspective?

In 2021, my employers, online marketplace OnBuy, introduced hybrid and flexible working as a permanent working model, after the mandatory period of ‘work from home’ showed to have a variety of benefits to our workforce. This means I can now have a home office setup, allowing me to be around to look after Lilly, my seven-year-old daughter.

My partner Georgie is a Colorectal Nurse Specialist for the NHS which involves working various shift patterns, proving historically to be quite a challenge. Now that OnBuy allows me to work the hours that suits me and my family, these challenges have been eliminated. Georgie now gets to spend the time needed with her patients without having the stress of rushing back home.

We also no longer need to rely on a breakfast and after school club for Lilly, which in turn has saved us a substantial amount of our money and means I get to spend time with Lilly walking her to and from school. We get plenty of fresh air together and some one-on-one time to chat about our days, something that I really missed before.

How did you find negotiating it with your line managers?

It was really easy, I am encouraged by my manager to ‘own the way I work’. I love that I am not measured on the time I spend in the office or by the hours I work, I am instead measured by hitting my agreed goals and targets. This approach personally motivates me to work harder and makes me want to achieve more.

Do you know of any other colleagues that benefit from flexible working?

Yes, in our team alone there are some great examples of how flexi-time and hybrid working is being utilised by colleagues – taking on hobbies, self-wellbeing, going to the gym, and even simple things like being able to walk their dog. All activities that wouldn’t have been possible in a 9-5 office role. One great example is a colleague in the company is able to coach young girls’ netball, something she has always dreamed of doing but not been able to fit around previous roles.

What has it allowed you to do from a family perspective?

I can now spend more time with Lilly whether that be cooking, reading or being outside walking. Time with children is something that you can never get back, so I am so grateful for this.

How do you think it’s affected your productivity?

I come back from waking Lilly to and from school feeling inspired and more creative than ever. In previous roles, when I sat at my desk in an office for hours on end, I would lose my creative flair. Designing became harder. Now, having those breaks away I find that my work is the best it has ever been. If I could give one bit of advice, it would be to get up, get out and go for a walk, it helps to blow the cobwebs away and clears your thoughts, meaning you can return to your desk with a fresh mind.

Why do you think more employers should promote flexible working practices?

There are clear benefits of a more flexible working model. OnBuy carried out some research on this subject recently. They commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK workers to ask what their most valued work perks are and flexible working came out on top.

Our Founder and CEO is also a dad and understands the challenges of having to be in an office 9-5, he himself often picks up his children from school, therefore realises the need for such policies. Leading by example is the best way and it’s been a much-appreciated adjustment for our entire team. I know I still have an office to go to for the days I want to get together with colleagues and collaborate, but I also know that my work is celebrated just as much if I choose to work at home.

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