Written by: Shani Fowler
Many working parents want to work part-time hours and ones that ideally fit around the family; but acquiring decent paid part time work, with flexible hours that suit you can be rather tricky. With the increasing costs of childcare the majority of your hard earned cash can be swallowed up almost before you have even seen it hit your bank, leaving your wondering what is the point?!
There seems to be a lack of quality part-time roles which can mean that working parents and especially women, have to slide down the occupational ladder leading to lower pay and reduced opportunity. Can flexible working be the answer?
What is flexible working?
In a nutshell flexible working refers to working outside a schedule that could be considered a “normal working pattern.” It is a flexible format of working designed to suit the needs of the employee e.g. flexible start of finishing times or possibly using time where you can work from home. It could also mean compressed hours or even term-time only work. Recent changes have been applied to flexible working as of 30th June 2014 resulting that all employees can legally request flexible working (not just parents or carers).
Employers have an obligation to deal with flexible working requests in a reasonable manner; one which assess fairly the advantages and disadvantages of the application. There should also be an appeals process offered to you should your application fail.
How can it work for you?
Employed – if you are already in employment and want to request a review of your hours then you need to make sure your application shows the benefits to your employer as well as yourself. You need to make the proposition as attractive as possible.
Looking for work – if you are seeking new work you could apply for suitable full-time roles and then once you are there and are proving your worth in the role you could then try to negotiate for hours that could suit you better. This approach is better for positions where the skills required for the role are often hard to find.
Making a case for yourself
In any aspect of seeking out better hours for yourself, you have to be prepared to make a business case for your flexible working hours, such as the economics behind it all, highlighting what you feel the company will benefit from this work pattern. For example you could focus on the fact you believe the company are getting senior level expertise for reduced costs.
Ensure the company is right for you
Some organisations generally have a more relaxed and flexible attitude to working hours than others. Do some research and target these organisations. The more supportive a company is the more likely you are to get nearer what you really need. Social enterprise www.womenlikeus.org.uk is a great website for researching flexible working and they have Timewise Jobs which specialises in senior part-time work and it is definitely worth checking this website out.
Return to work
If you are returning to work following a career break this can be daunting enough. Many people lose their confidence and fear the market place has moved on without them, leaving you doubting your skills and worth. Networking shops are a great source of support and encouragement and could get you back on your career path. Ensure your CV reads as well as it could, showcase your strengths, experience and achievements, tailoring it around the requirements of the roles you apply for.
Making a request for anything you really want can seem difficult and approaching bosses is no exception, but with good research and preparation, and the showcasing of your talents you could be working the way you want to in less time than you think. Be confident and also a little flexible yourself and you may have employers eating out of the palm of your hand!