London 2012: Have you got flexible working hours?

flexible working hours

flexible working hoursThe London 2012 Olympic Games could mark a significant moment for many of us working parents, signalling a sea change to family life through flexible working hours, according to a family charity.

With the Games just around the corner, many working parents in London will be making plans for either navigating or avoiding altogether the busy London transport network in August, to escape too much disruption to both our work and family lives.

To this end, many employers are allowing their staff to use far more flexible working hours, or even work from home, in order to avoid the busiest periods of the day, and many think this could usher in a promising new era in terms of how we spend time with our loved ones.

'Watershed' for working parents

The Family and Parenting Institute believes the effects of this practice could actually turn out to be long term and mark a real turning point for the UK in becoming a more family-friendly country.

CEO of the Family and Parenting Institute, Dr Katherine Rake, iterated this the day before the 50-day countdown to the Olympics on 7 June: "Flexible working is a key aspect of ensuring London and other UK cities can host events successfully and maintain business-as-usual through the Olympics period.

"But beyond this, flexible working during the Olympics could usher in a revolution in terms of how we can balance our work and our family lives.

"Britons are crying out for greater freedom from long commutes, deskbound jobs and inflexible hours which undermine family relationships. Flexible working is the key that could change family life forever."

She goes on to add that evidence shows employees who work flexibly are more productive, loyal and motivated. This, she believes, "could be the legacy of the Games."

A flexible future

If you are planning to ask your boss for flexible working hours during London 2012 and beyond, always be sure you are fully aware of what you are entitled to as an employee.

It seems the Government is backing the employment arrangements during the Games, too, and may even encourage flexible working hours for families beyond the global showpiece.

If all goes to plan, the newly revealed Children and Families Bill should make it easier for companies to bring in more flexible working hours for families.

And remember, there is more than just one type of flexible working. If you feel it sounds right for you and your situation why not also consider what's best for your company - would a job share, for example, be more favourable?

On top of the usual format of 'flexi-time', there are also options such as 'annualised hours', whereby your working hours can be brought in line with the school calendar, and 'compressed hours' where a set amount of hours are fit into a number of days in a week.

Also to consider of course, are working from home, staggered hours and finding a part-time role. It's quite simply a case of finding out what works best for yourself and your employer.