How can you benefit
Flexible working and teleworking can help improve your work life balance. Through flexible working, you may be able to reduce travel, avoid congestion, have more time to spend with your family, make the school run or have more time to spend on other responsibilities and interests.
You may also find that you can perform your job better if you can choose when to work. It is often easier to concentrate when you are away from the distractions of the office environment, increasing productivity.
With superfast broadband, it is easier than ever to work effectively from a home office or on the move, so the time for flexible working has really arrived!
Benefits could include:
- Changing your work hours to compressed hours, annualised hours, monthly hours or job sharing so they fit in better with your family, other responsibilities or interests outside work.
- Changing your work to telecommuting or mobile working so that you reduce travel to the office, saving time and money
- Travelling to and from work outside the 'rush hours' so you waste less time and fuel in traffic jams and avoid congestion
- Working when you are at your peak, increasing personal productivity. Many people find that they are at their most creative late at night, while others are at their best in the early morning. Flexible working and teleworking allows you to work at the times that are best for you
- You may find that it is easier to concentrate and enjoy increasing productivity when you can work without the distractions of the office environment.
- If you have a disability that limits mobility or lack of transport options, flexible working can enable you to increase your productivity from home, and reduce travel.
- If you work from a home office or garden office some of the time, you will reduce travel and associated costs
Depending on the benefits that are most important to you, certain types of flexible working will be most relevant to you.
Types of flexible working
Below are some common types of flexible working and teleworking. However, flexible working and teleworking is not limited to these types and could combine several different styles of working. For example you could be a part time worker, working flexitime, with some time spent working in a home office or garden office.
Part time working
Part time working simply means working fewer hours than the standard working week. The law states that part time workers must not be treated less favourably just because they are part time, e.g they cannot be excluded from pension schemes or paid a lower hourly rate. Although there is no legal definition of part time work, benefits and tax credits do have minimum and maximum hours.
Flexi - time
Flexi time allows you to vary your hours, although there is usually a "core" time where you have to work, and an expected number of working hours a day. For example if the core time is 10 am - 4 pm you could work 8 am - 4 pm, 9 am - 5 pm or 10 am - 6 pm. If you worked 8 am - 6 pm one day you could bank the extra two hours and work 2 hours less another day. Many schemes allow you to bank hours over a long period and take whole or half days off.
Some employers may offer a more flexible approach, where the hours can be worked more flexibly than in conventional 'flexi-time'. Working flexible hours can give you the opportunity to do other things during the traditional 9-5 day. For example, doing the school run a couple of times a week, and finishing off the work later on in the evening can really improve your work life balance. However, there will usually still be 'core hours' when the employee will definitely be available and contactable.
Teleworking or telecommuting
These terms are used to mean using telephone links, broadband or ideally superfast broadband and remote computer access to work from a home office or garden office, as well as sometimes mobile working. Telework is a popular form of flexible working, making the most of the latest technology advances to improve work life balance.
Job sharing is where a job is split, usually between 2 people. For example one person might do mornings and another afternoons or one could do Mondays and Tuesdays and the other Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Sometimes there is a period when both of those job sharing are in the office to liaise and handover.
Term time working
This allows you to work full or part time during the school term only while taking unpaid leave in the holidays. Your pay may be averaged out over the year, as in annualised hours.
School hours working
Where you work school hours only so you can do the school run in the morning and afternoon.
With compressed hours, you work more hours a day but fewer days a week.
With annualised hours, you commit to a specified number of working hours over the full year with flexibility as to when these are delivered
This is a flexible working arrangement where you agree to a specified number of working hours a month with flexibility as to when these are delivered.
Working from a home office
Also sometimes called teleworking or remote working. You can work all or part of the week at home from a home office or garden office. Working from a home office is not a substitute for childcare for young children, although it can still be useful as it cuts down on commuting time. Your employer is still responsible for your health and safety when working at home so can insist that you have the correct equipment and childcare in place.
In addition to other forms of flexible working, you may also carry out remote working from locations such as superfast broadband WiFi hotspots or use a tablet, a smartphone or a BlackBerry to keep up with email when you are out and about, enabling mobile working. This will enable you to use broadband to connect to the office, customers or colleagues when you are out of the office, so it makes it easier to increase your productivity