Working flexibly to cope with summer heat.

If the weeks of hot weather, bad office air-conditioning, stifling buses, tubes and trains aren’t enough to motivate you to discuss flexible working – what is??

A long, hot summer, with children off school and mounting childcare/holiday club bills – there’s no better time to assess whether some form of flexible working might give you a healthier balance and a way to cope with the exhaustion that accompanies working, commuting and parenting through the summer.

This week, the TUC urged employers to consider giving employees flexibility to cope with the heatwave.

Gone are the days when there was only one way to work flexibly: part-time with a substantial hit on the finances.  These days, with a bit of creativity and negotiation with an enlightened manager, there could well be something out there to suit your role and circumstances.

Working flexibly to cope with summer heat.

As long as you’ve been working for your employer for 26 weeks, you are eligible to apply for flexible working.  So why not consider the options:

  1. Working from home – particularly for those who are office-based, non-client facing and not on shifts – you may well split the hours you work at home g. working before, during, and after school hours, with non-working time for the school runs and/or home-jobs
  2. Changes in shift patterns – for example requesting to do all the late shifts so that you can spend the first part of the morning with your baby/children and drop them at school or childcare.
  3. 9-day fortnight – every other week you have 1 day off – salary decreases accordingly – for those who need the extra day twice a month but who don’t want to take too much of a cut in salary.
  4. Condensed or compressed hours – working more hours in each day and then taking time off in lieu – for example working 7am-4pm over 4 days instead of 9-5 over 5 days.
  5. Term-time only – for those with school-age children with lack of childcare/support network during the holidays.
  6. Part-time hours – working for example 3 or 4 days a week to leave the other days free for home/hobbies/caring responsibilities.
  7. Job share – do you know someone who does a similar role to you who would also like to reduce their hours? Could you split the week in half or both work 3 days a week, with 1 day when you work together?

Not ready for a formal change yet?  Why not consider informally chatting with your manager to look at more temporary, ad-hoc ways of working flexibly, to get you through the summer months:

  1. Using your Parental Leave (if you are a parent) – are you aware you could be taking 4 weeks of unpaid leave this summer (per child), simply to spend time with them?
  1. Working from home – this is only going to work out if you have a home office, work you can do at home and childcare in place – however you may get to see your children for breakfast, dinner AND get to read the bedtime story…
  1. Starting an hour early and leaving an hour early – to avoid the heat and crowds of the commute.

Still need persuading?  See this article from The Guardian on the benefits of flexible working.

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