It’s the most flexible time of the year…
Updated: Jan 16
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Mainly. As a working parent, I’m currently experiencing that frantic plate-wobbling that happens with the advent (no pun intended) of the end of term for two young children. It’s the last week of term, and so far we’ve had three different Christmas performances, “home clothes” days, Christmas jumper days AND a pyjama afternoon (I know, right?).
Now I’m really lucky, because at A New Normal, we all work flexibly. Sometimes this means very long hours (Monday this week was a classic), and sometimes it means slightly shorter ones. I’m really conscious that as a person who runs their own business, I have a pretty sweet deal when it comes to flexible working. But I know that’s not the case for everyone. In some roles, there just isn’t the option to work flexibly (although my personal belief is that you have to work pretty hard to find jobs where flexibility genuinely isn’t an option).
More often than not though, where people aren’t able to work flexibly it’s because of the culture of the business within which they operate. I hear all sorts of reasons why businesses aren’t able to offer flexibility, ranging from “but we’ve never worked like that before” to “well how do I know if they are actually working when I can’t see them?”. It’s time to wise up – research shows that offering flexibility is brilliant for a business. From a business perspective, it means your people are going to be more productive (research from BT reckons up to 30% more productive!), happy and loyal, and from an individual perspective, it makes life just that little bit easier, especially at this time of year.
From a personal perspective, I know that I am much more productive, and much happier when I feel like I have balance in my life. In my previous life in corporate, I was lucky enough to work for businesses where flexibility was a way of life, and I know it meant that those businesses got the best from me. And this isn’t just my experience – I have a friend who works for a really large public sector organisation. He thinks part-time and flexible workers are such a great asset that he actively campaigns to bring them into the teams he runs… Smart cookie… So why not think about how you can change your business’s approach to flexibility in 2020 – it might be the best Christmas present you could give your company.