Flexible Working – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Flexible Working?
Flexible working enables employees to work in a different pattern from their current arrangement or employer’s norm. Flexible working arrangements involve adjustments to one or more of the following elements of a role:
- Time – working a different set of core hours or compressing the required hours into fewer days.
- Location – being able to work from another location either temporarily, permanently, periodically, or ad hoc.
- Amount – changing the scope or design of the role so it can be performed in less hours worked, either part-time or by multiple individuals in a Job Share.
What are the types of Flexible Working?
Flexible working can take many forms, with the following being the major categories we see implemented in businesses:
- Job sharing – This is where two people do one job, splitting the time and accountability of delivery of the role.
- Remote working – some, or all of your work, is done outside of the primary business location.
- Part-time – This means you’re working less than your companies normal full-time hours either by working fewer or shorter days.
- Compressed hours – Working a week’s full-time hours but over fewer days.
- Flexi-time – you have the option to choose the start and possibly end time for your work but may include ‘core hours’, e.g. 10 am to 3 pm.
- Annualised hours – This is like compressed hours but over a year-long time frame where you must complete a total set of hours.
- Staggered hours – With staggered hours, the employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers.
- Phased retirement – reducing the time or days you spend in the office as you approach retirement.
Understanding what makes sense for you and your employer is critical to being able to present a positive request that shows benefits on both sides.
What is a Job Share?
Job Shares are a flexible working approach where two people coordinate to perform a single full-time role. They differ to part-time working due to the position being permanently staffed reducing the amount of out of hours contact as the Job Share partner is available to answer questions.
How Would Flexible Working or a Job Share Help Me?
There are a number of reasons that make Job Shares highly desirable for people looking to work less than full-time, specifically:
1. The ability to continue in your chosen career without the compromise of moving to a different or lesser role. Many employers struggle to support part-time work requests as they prefer to have full-time positions to ensure coverage and productivity across the whole working week. A Job Share enables this by having the position fully staffed during the week by two people.
2. Being able to minimise out of working hours contact which is a common problem in part-time positions. Frequently people highlight when moving from a full-time to a part-time role they find themselves doing a very similar amount of work compressed into a shorter working week. Additionally, getting contacted out of core hours is also highlighted as a challenge of part-time roles.
3. There has been significant research into flexible working patterns that suggest achieving a more balanced work/life schedule improves employee well-being and productivity.
4. Career growth, learning, and personal achievement improve individual’s self-esteem and confidence. Job Shares provide a great way to continue your career whilst learning and developing alongside a Job Partner that may have complementary skills to your own. A number of Job Shares highlight how they learn new ways of working and skills as they develop their approach to shared working.
How Do Job Shares Work?
Depending on the type of role, Job Shares are typically a full-time role divided amongst two people with each working 2.5 or 3 days a week, i.e. Monday to Wednesday.
The split can be based on time with the Job partners both performing the same tasks just on different days or it can also be split by activity with each individual owning a set of tasks to perform.
Handover and communication between Job Share partners is crucial with many Job Shares having an overlap period to transition activities plus having an agreed communication approach to aid information sharing.
How Do I Get a Job Share?
In the UK you are entitled to ask your employer for flexible working if you’ve worked continuously for the last 26 weeks. Your employer is required to review your request and provide justification if they do not agree.
More information can be found here, https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working.
Job Shares are top of the UK Government list of Flex working types: