Types of flexible working

workingdads.co.uk outlines the all different ways you can work flexibly, from home working to annualised hours.

Types of flexible working


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….

Working from home

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.

Moving to part time

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.

Job share

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.

Options for full-time work

Annualised hours

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.

Term-time hours

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.

Flexi hours

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.

Compressed hours

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 lunch break.

Your rights

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.

Comments [2]

  • Mark Lee says:

    I worked in a department on a flexible pattern, leaving there 15 months ago. Since that time nothing has changed within the organisation, the role, or indeed the staffing levels. I am supposed to be returning to the department but now they’re refusing my flexible request yet I need it due to having a court order in place because of child access which is set up around that shift pattern. Of interest, this pattern has been in place and accepted by the organisation for the past 9yrs.

    What are my rights and if rejected am I within my rights to take to an employment tribunal?

    • Ben Falk says:

      Hi Mark, I’m sorry to hear about your issues. We need a bit more detail. Is there a contract in place with this pattern? Or a written agreement? Is it the same role, or a new role? Were you seconded to another department, or have you been off for the last 15 months?

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