Flexible working is a hot topic in the workplace but not everyone knows what it is all about. Working for someone else has a raft of benefits such as job security, a workplace pension and collaborating with others for a common goal. But there are some downsides to it as well. One of the main bugbears of employees is the way that their job affects their home life. Work life balance is vitally important for everyone involved as employers want the best from their team and employees feel valued. Flexible working is one way of making this happen. Let’s take a look at flexible working and how it can transform the way you work.
What Is Flexible Working ?
It is simply working in a different pattern to the one you are working now. Flexible working can take one of many forms –
- Starting later in the day
- Finishing earlier
- Having certain days in the week off
- Working from home some of the time
- Working for a different location
- Changing the hours you work
- Changing the days you work
- Job sharing
- Being in control of your own hours of work
- Only working during the term times
Now each of these might work for different circumstances. As a man approaching fifty, you might experience life events that prompt you to discuss flexible working with your employer. This might come about as a result of an illness, divorce or separation requiring different childcare arrangements or any other major life event that causes you to reassess your working hours.
How Do You Make Flexible Working Happen?
There are a couple of ways that you could ask for flexible working arrangements with your employer, and these depend on your circumstances. They are –
- Making a statutory request
- Making a non-statutory request
You see, there are certain people who have the right to make a request by law (statutory) and then everyone else can make a request that will be dealt with by every employer in their own way. Let’s take a look in more detail at how each of these work –
Making a Statutory Request
You need to fulfil a few criteria to be able to make a statutory request for flexible working with your employer, and these are –
- You must be employed permanently by the employer
- Also, you must have been an employee for at least 26 continuous weeks
- Not in one of the groups listed as ‘not entitled’ in the non-statutory section below
We suggest that if you are eligible, you take the time to plan the change and decide exactly what will work for you. You can only make one request in any one 12- month period so it pays to get it right. Once you have a good idea of what you want, the next step is to put it in writing. Your employer must consider the request seriously and make a decision within 3 months (and that includes any time for an appeal) so it doesn’t take that long.
Making a Non-Statutory Request
If you fall outside of the criteria for making a statutory request, then you can make a non-statutory one instead. Many larger employers have a process in place already to deal with these, but a smaller employer may not. If you fall into one of the following categories then you cannot make a statutory request –
- If you are a member of the armed forces
- When you are an agency worker
- If you have made a request in the last 12 months already
- When you are an employee shareholder (ask your employer for more details here)
The process would be if you fall into one of these categories then you make a non-statutory request. Again, big companies will have a lot of support here. As a man approaching fifty, I’m sure you can appreciate that you might need a little change to your working arrangements to cope with all of the stresses that the world can throw at you.
From there, any change that has been made will show as a permanent change to your contract and terms and conditions of employment. This means that you request for flexible working should be thought out and exactly what you need. Don’t make requests lightly.
Flexible working can really help you to manage your work-life balance and set you up for a happy future. If you are in this situation then do your research, put your request in writing and see where it takes you. Good luck!