A recent report from the CIPD suggest that a significant proportion of the UK workforce have no opportunity to work flexibly and suggests there’s an uneven distribution of flexible working across the economy.
I think this means that many organisations might be missing out on an opportunity to capitalise on the talent they have, and release trapped potential. So, this week, I thought I’d use our own experiences in Glasstap to show how flexible working has enabled us to recruit and retain our uniquely talented group of people.
I asked three people to describe how flexible working has helped them, and how it’s benefited Glasstap. Here’s what they said:
Case Study 1 – Louise "I didn’t think I would be able to get a job with my partner working full time, two young children at school and living in a small rural area with virtually no childcare facilities available. But when Rod and Craig were hiring back in 2004, I was encouraged to apply anyway, despite my limiting circumstances.
During the interview process we discussed at length my situation and when I was successful, a ‘term-time’ contract was agreed, which meant I could be at home with the children when they weren’t at school. This provided a perfect opportunity for me to re-join the working world and still be there for my children when they needed me.
When my partner was made redundant, a few years later, Rod and Craig agreed that I could switch to a full-time contract.
I’ve now been with the company for more than 14 years and I still love the job, which has changed beyond recognition in that time! So Glasstap has benefitted from a loyal and engaged team member."
Case Study 2 – Zoe “After several summers working overseas I started working for Glasstap but after less than a year I decided that I wanted to go back to Crete to work for another summer. Thinking back, I’m not sure that there was an official company policy in place for unpaid leave, but a new set of guidelines were drawn up and it was agreed that I could take up to six months off and still return to my existing role. This meant that I could spend more time in my beloved Elounda, safe in the knowledge that I had a job to return to.
Glasstap knew they had not lost a member of staff, or retained one who’s commitment was wavering, and it meant they didn’t lose the investment in recruitment and training they’d made.
As it happened, I returned from Crete after just two months and 13 years later I’m still here, looking after our customers.”
Case Study 3 - Frances “I work from home full time and so benefit from an informal flexible working arrangement. This means that, within reason, I can adapt my working week. This helps me personally because my son has additional needs and has regular appointments that I need to take him to. Knowing I can adapt my working hours to fit in with this is crucial.
My job requires me to have ideas or be creative, so this flexibility is wonderful if I am stuck on a piece of work; I can log off and do something else whilst I mull it over in the back of my mind. It also means that when customers, often in different time zones, get in touch with a last-minute request for help I can be there to help in a way that I couldn't if I were office based and/or restricted to working 9-5.”
What’s In It For Us? It's not always easy, or convenient to provide flexible working arrangements, but as our own examples show, a different approach can provide a genuine opportunity for win-win, helping the organisation, and the individual. A genuine case of ‘what’s in it for us’, not 'what’s in it for me'.