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Arkadin Employee Stories: Creating Time with Flexible Working

Discover how flexible working can free up more time in your day.

The one thing that most people wish they had more of (after money of course!) is time. While there is, obviously, a limited amount of time in each day – there are ways to squeeze the most out of each hour, especially when working flexibly. And, as of June 30th, 2014 every employee in the UK , regardless of industry, has the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks continuous employment service. While everyone’s priorities and time-management techniques are obviously different, here is a short outline of some of the benefits of flexible working and how it can enable you to make the most of your time.

With an almost full-time job, a husband who is currently studying full-time and three young boys, my life is pretty full.

One thing I have learned though is that it is all about juggling:

Juggling…

  • Work commitments, social engagements, family occasions, my book club, playdates for the boys…
  • household chores, cooking, doing the laundry and weekly planning…
  • gift shopping, clothes shopping, food shopping and necessities’ shopping…
  • school runs, parent/teacher meetings and musical recitals…
  • dentist check-ups, doctor visits and hairdresser appointments…
  • And just to top it off, I’m about to start a distance mini MBA (20 hours a month self-study).

So on my wishlist for Christmas (besides winning the lottery) is having more time – more time to play with the boys, sleep, tidy the house, meet friends, read a book, and yes sleep some more!

So how can flexible working help me make the most of my time?

For a start it saves me 1.5 hours of travel time per day, that’s equal to 7.5 hours per week or a whopping 30 hours per month. This spare time can be used in any way I wish – to tidy the house, to meet friends for a coffee at a time when I otherwise would be commuting, to play with my boys or, if I wish, to get a head start on the working day by checking emails when I would otherwise be driving to work, or crammed in on a train.

Or, if working from home, I spend each of the two minutes  that I would have spent standing around while getting a cup of tea in the office, doing something productive at home while the kettle boils – making a shopping list, tidying away the kids’ toys, scheduling an appointment at the Doctor, etc- it means that I don’t have to do it at the weekend, thereby freeing up time on Saturday that otherwise would have been spent on personal admin.

What is more, flexible working for a forward looking employer is just that – flexible. If, for example, when working from home it is more convenient for me to begin work at 7 am rather than 9 am and finish at 3 pm in order to pick the children up from school or focus on my MBA then flexible working enables me to do just that.

In short, it enables me to integrate my life with my work and my work with my life.

As, Verity O’Keefe (EEF) wrote in ‘Workplace Trends of 2015’, “Employers offering flexible forms of working can support their employees to achieve a better work-life balance, and in return employees are often more willing to be flexible for their employer.”

What is perhaps more important is that the ability to work flexibly makes me happier, and being happier makes me more motivated and engaged with my job – boosting my productivity – and the statistics back this up.

The UK Government reports that, of the companies that have implemented flexible working practices, 40% report an increase in productivity and 38% see a decrease in staff absence.

While requesting flexible working might seem like a big step (52% of workers are ‘nervous or very nervous’ about doing so), the benefits it will bring to your life, and to your employer, are worth it, besides 90% of UK managers welcome flexible working inquiries.

To recap, here are some questions I ask myself and my employer when considering flexible working:

Is flexible working something that I am looking for from my employer? Definitely!

Does being able to access all the files and systems that I need to do my job, from home, make my life easier? Absolutely!

Does being able to work from home, saving 1.5 hours of travel time, make me a happier employee? Yes!

Working for a collaboration company involves having most of your meetings online. One of the advantages of this is that online can just as easily be online from home as online from the office. I’m just as accessible when I work from home and my home environment is less disruptive to my work flow than my work environment.

One last thought…

As I’m a social person who enjoys being part of a physical workplace, I would never want to replace working in an office with working from home. But it’s a real benefit to have the flexibility to be able to do both.

Takeaway:

  • Remember, flexible working is about more than working from home.
  • By carefully managing your time flexible working can enable you to free up your day.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for flexible working – it is a right.

Discover how you can make flexible working a reality of your people, download HR Make The Most of Your Relationship With I.T – Be A Power Couple now.

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About the author

Gemma Whelan Thessman is a PRINCE2 Practitioner and ITIL® Foundation certified Project Manager based in Arkadin’s Swedish office. Before joining Arkadin, Gemma held various project management and managerial positions in Sweden and Britain which included roles at Clear Channel Outdoor and Centrica. Part of the Professional Services team, Gemma is responsible for managing the planning and delivery of projects, involving the implementation of Arkadin’s services, to clients within Northern Europe. Gemma has just started a distance Mini Master of Business Administration with Probana Business School and says that her organisational and time management skills are put to good use more than ever now!

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