Isn’t it time we erased the stigma about flexible working, once and for all?
This week MP Helen Whately
, introduced a flexible working bill in Parliament on Tuesday. In her speech she said;
"The 40-hour, five-day working week made sense in an era of single-earner households and stay-at-home mums, but it no longer reflects the reality of how many modern families want to live their lives,"
"As a result, men don't get to spend as much time as they might like with their children, women miss out on career opportunities, and the country loses out on the contribution they could and would like to make - if only they could do slightly different hours or work some days from home."
Despite the ongoing conversation about flexible working, the 2019 blueskies survey has shown that year on year increases to people’s workload, and their responsibilities, are not being met with working practices liberating personal efficiency and productivity.
Our survey also shows that with this comes a feeling of stifled career progression and incentive prospects which don’t meet candidates needs. For example 30% of the men responding to the survey told us they felt unable to create work-life balance, and had experienced inequality when trying to access different ways of working that help them be present at home and productive at work.
Flexible working takes effort on all sides and is strongly subject to the policies put in place by the employer. Many have these of course, some promote them in recruitment advertisements and employer brand marketing. But once checked back into the Sharepoint site, they can sit awkwardly alongside the forms for opting out of the maximum 48hr work week directive - which, unlike the flexible working policy, is the one issued out with the contract packs.
“Lip service” one respondent told the blueskies team, “that’s what’s still happening.”
From a culture point of view, employees sometimes don’t help the situation either. There’s still a majority of people either conforming to an ‘ideal’ of being an always-on 24/7 worker, or they’re pretending to be, and hide responsibilities derived from their private life from view.
To achieve the year-on-year performance increases businesses are looking for, the conversation on smarter, flexible and more efficient working practices must be elevated, and the stigma of creating balance in life eradicated.