by Sophia Dutton
Marketing & Admin Manager at Inclusive Recruiting
Life is complicated. We all know that. Work has to fit in around many other things. And just when you think you’ve got everything manageable and balanced just right, life will throw another challenge at you.
For me, the biggest challenge of the summer is usually finding ways to entertain my two girls over the school holidays. They would happily sit and stare at their laptops, watching their Sim characters enjoying full and exciting lives, but sometimes you need them to switch off the tech and find “something less boring instead”.
How flexible working works for me.
Fortunately, I work for a company which fully supports flexible working. During term-time, this means I can do the school run and be at home at my desk by 9.30 every morning and then return to the school gate again at 3.15 every afternoon. It also means I’m available to attend school assemblies and parent/teacher meetings. Because I work remotely, I am able to do a full day’s work, just fitted around the needs of my children. And when I want to, I can choose to work mornings only or catch up on tasks in the evening instead. This frees me up to drag my girls away from their virtual families and spend quality time with their actual real-life family. The school holidays are always a difficult balancing act, but I’m so grateful to be able to manage my time in this way.
It’s not just parents of young children who benefit from flexibility.
This year however, working from home and flexibly proved even more vital. A few weeks before the summer holidays started, my mum had a fall and broke her ankle. There she was, aged nearly 80, with a plaster cast on one leg and, because of a recently installed new knee in her other leg, completely immobile. She needed looking after. She needed someone to keep her supplied with cups of tea (she likes to drink a LOT of tea). And so, during the day, I was able to be with her. All I needed was my laptop, my phone and a comfy chair and I was able to work whilst providing care/tea, as and when required. I held telephone interviews with new candidates and joined in conference calls with my team, all from the bedroom I’d shared with my sister while we growing up. It was a bit of a bizarre and makeshift situation but I made it work!
If I had to commute to an office every day, if I didn’t have the flexibility to manage where and when I work, I would not have been able to be there for my mum and I would not have been able to ensure my daughters’ summer holiday wasn’t entirely spent staring at a screen.
We don’t just talk-the-talk.
Many of the team at Inclusive Recruiting work remotely/flexible hours. Some for family reasons, some for health reasons. But regardless of reason, the option is there and it works for the benefit of everyone. We are less stressed, more productive. And we encourage our clients to tackle lack of diversity in their organisations by offering more flexible working options. Do they really want to miss out on the huge pool of talent out there, who for a multitude of different reasons are looking for flexible roles?
You can read the CIPD business case for flexible working here.
I realise flexible working is not always a practical option but I believe there are many roles which could be done remotely and the benefits to employee wellbeing and family life are immeasurable.
It requires trust, good communication and understanding.
And a kettle. And teabags. Yes, I get that from my mum 😊
Inclusive Recruiting are pioneering recruitment and training partners.
We provide diverse, outstanding, HR and finance talent and deliver innovative workshop programmes to progressive organisations serious about embedding inclusion and belonging.