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workingdads.co.uk outlines the all different ways you can work flexibly, from home working to annualised hours.
Once you become a dad, the importance of flexibility in your work suddenly comes into focus. But to request and achieve flexible working, you need to be clear about exactly what you need. Let’s look at the different options that sit under the flexible working umbrella….
Many companies actively embrace people working from home or other locations outside the office. It reduces their overheads and often drives better productivity.
Some people opt to work from home most of the time, travelling for meetings or using video and audio conference facilities as needed. Others will have a set day or days each week when they work remotely.
It’s a great option for those who need to do the school or nursery run, or have a long commute that impacts on the amount of time they have with their children.
If your employer is resistant to homeworking, look around – there could be good opportunities with other companies in your area.
Some dads choose to shorten the number of hours they work to have more time at home. Clearly this also affects your total earnings, but if you’re paying costly nursery fees or other childcare costs, it can make financial sense.
If your role can’t be performed in three or four days per week, another option is to arrange a job share, where you split your workload with a colleague to cover the days each of you is not around. Often this is instigated by two full time colleagues that are both seeking part-time work.
Some employers have job share registers and there are also job share agencies that exist to help you find job share partners.
With an annualised hours arrangement, you work longer hours at busy times of the year and shorter hours at other times. This approach is often found in shift work, perhaps at a manufacturing company or a hospital where, for example, the winter months can be busier.
Some roles and employers enable employees to take all school holidays off. This is often found in workplaces with close partnerships with schools and universities. You might be paid only for the weeks you work, or you could negotiate to spread your pay evenly over the year.
Flexible hours as a full-time worker can often deliver what’s needed as a professional and dad. Here, you’re able to determine your own hours: starting earlier in the day or working until later to fit around childcare.
This can be done on a formal or informal basis – for instance, having set daily hours so you can drop off at nursery every morning or, more informally, leaving early one afternoon for a school event and making up the time elsewhere in the week.
Another useful option: with compressed hours you work full-time, but over a shorter working week
with longer days. A 37-hour week can fit into four days by working 8.00 to 5.45 with a 30-minute
Employers have a legal obligation to consider a request for flexible working and all the options above can be negotiated with a manager. The changes can be agreed informally, or you may need to submit a formal flexible working request.
A formal request, if agreed, means that your terms and conditions will be permanently changed. In a formal request you must show that you’ve considered the potential impact of your request on your employer. There are various reasons why your request can be rejected. You can appeal if the reasons given aren’t credible, or if you believe your employer has dismissed the request without due consideration.
For more information, advice and support on this topic, see our pages on Flexible Working.