Demos, sovaldi sale a thinktank, store have recently published a report called ‘Reinventing the Workplace’. The report, published last week emphasises how flexible working is “particularly important” in a sluggish economic climate.
The report talks of strong evidence to show that more involved parenting improves the life chances of children, a better work–life balance increases individual happiness, a more flexible workforce is more able to bear the burden of an ageing population, and the Big Society will require people to have more time to be active citizens.
The report goes on to say it would be “short sighted to sacrifice flexible working rights on the altar of short-term economic recovery”, particularly because they can be complementary, in that greater availability of flexible working allows for a more inclusive labour market, expanding the size of the labour force and expanding output.
This is certainly something that Kirsty agrees with, who became a mum for the first time ten months ago. Realising that returning to full time work in the City would result in her missing out on precious time with her young daughter, she was keen to find an alternative solution.
Whilst on maternity leave, she attended an NCT meeting at Third Door and inadvertently realised that she’d found the answer to her dilemma. She had found a flexible solution that would allow her to work full time and spend time with her daughter.
Kirsty and her husband, Jonathan use Third Door three days a week. She explained why the solution works for her: “It’s perfect. I only live 10 minutes away which means I get to spend an extra two hours in the morning with her. We get to enjoy lunch together and have an extra hour in the evening, as she’s right there when I finish work. I also get to sneak a peek at her throughout the day and I am on hand should she need me.”
Kirsty has worked as a Finance Manager in Business Development for her employer for five years. As her role is predominantly project based and doesn’t necessarily require her to work from a specific location, she approached her employer to suggest that she work from the office three days and Third Door twice a week to enable her to spend more time with her daughter.
Understanding that balancing work with family commitments had become a priority, her employer agreed to the change, knowing that Kirsty was still able to deliver a full day’s work and see her young daughter. She generally spends Wednesday and Friday at Third Door, but is able to change her days if she needs to be in the office.
Kirsty added; “The flexibility afforded us is terrific. We are able to change our days if necessary and it doesn’t matter whether Jonathan or I use the workspace. And as it’s a fully Ofsted registered nursery we can also leave the premises if we have or want to.”
Clearly there a number of initiatives that need to take place if the economy is to have any kind of kick start. But, one of those has to be to encourage employers to get smarter about affording flexibility to a workforce that will deliver retention, commitment and performance. And that can only mean a healthier bottom line for everyone!
To download the full report by think tank Demos click here