At that time annualised hours contracts were largely unheard of but I guess would have been an ideal solution to my situation.
I continued to work on this basis throughout my ‘paid employment’ however the arrangement came under increasing scrutiny and challenge from male colleagues. Flexible working hours are not a female only preserve yet how many men would put their hand up and ask to work flexibly to suit family arrangements?
It is interesting to note, then, that HR recruitment firm Ortus undertook a survey recently which found that out of 450 professionals a resounding 90% thought that ‘flexible working would become the dominant
employment model in the near future’, although a far lesser percentage (12%) thought that it would be a vital benefit.
Flexible working is often seen as something which is associated with childcare arrangements, but it can offer benefits to a much wider audience than the traditional ‘working mother’ group which it is normally associated with. There are increasing numbers of us who have to care for elderly relatives, or who find commuting a real bind at ‘traditional’times of the day and could discharge our duties quite simply by
starting and finishing work outside core commuter band times. Perhaps an annualised hours contract would allow Joe to work long hours in the winter and have long weekends in the summer for surfing . . .
Happy workers are productive workers!
In all these cases what is needed is thought and a willingness to explore options. In the latter days of my employment on the 4 day arrangement I was asked to return to 5 day working, and when I asked why I was told ‘because that is what everyone else does’. Business gain from this? In terms of hours worked it
would have been nil, or a negative variance as I was already working far more than my contracted 37 hours. In terms of motivation and enthusiasm – wow what a huge loss there’d have been there. Managers need to be encouraged to think outside the 9 to 5 box – flexible working is here to stay and grow.