22nd June 2017Category: Working Carers
Carers have rights in the workplace and one of them is the right to request flexible working. There is a process on how to apply for flexible working (don’t worry I will be writing about this in July) including the criteria to be able to apply such as written request after working 26 weeks at your employer. But what are the different types of flexible working?
This week I am going to describe the different types of flexible working available. Over the years as technology has developed and the internet has become faster and more reliable how we can work is changing. There are industries where it can be more restricted in the options but there is still options.
Please find below brief descriptions of the different types of flexible working:
This is where two people do one job and they split the hours. For example, person A works Monday and Tuesday and person B works Wednesday to Friday.
Working from Home
This is an option where you can work from home (or anywhere else if agreed) rather than the normal place of work. Considerations have to be made for the protection of the employer’s data, but IT will often allow employees to work and take calls at any location where they can get internet access or can use a computer to fulfil their duties. Encrypted laptops are used to protect data if the person works with confidential information. This option can be mixed with other types of flexible working such as flexitime. This is a popular option for people such as social workers or office workers or managers.
Working less than full-time hours. There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.
Working full-time hours but over fewer days. For example, working 4 longer days rather than 5 days.
The employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain ‘core hours’. Core hours might be 10am-2pm but varies depending on the organisation. For example one day starting work at 8am and finishing at 4pm then the next working 9.30am to 6pm because of a meeting. People may work more than the normal week day hours but this scheme allows them to take the time back when it works for them (around the core hours).
The employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work. There can be ‘core hours’ which the employee regularly works each week, and they work the rest of their hours flexibly or when there’s extra demand at work.
To be honest, I haven’t heard about many people using this method however I imagine this one would be useful if you work in tourism or seasonal, with busy periods like Christmas.
The employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers. These policies can serve the interests of both employers & employees, providing cover in the workplace over a longer period of the day, and providing employees the option of getting off work earlier or arriving later, either of which can help manage work & child care or other responsibilities like caring. An example could be an employee who is a parent and a carer who starts at 9.30am because they need to get their child to school and check on their elderly mother in the morning.
This is a popular option. It allows older workers to choose when they want to retire. They can gradually reduce their hours and move from full time hours to part time. This option is useful for businesses with positions where the older worker can pass on their skills and knowledge in the role. They can mentor or work with a colleague to ensure their knowledge is not lost. As it is a phased retirement it is also good for the employee financially as well as mindset adjustment.
Employees are given freedom to swap shifts between themselves, ensuring the shifts are covered. This works well when most employees are performing the same tasks.
Employees work during school term but are on leave at school holidays. This is an option for employees without child care arrangements. This option can also work for part time working as well.
This type of flexible working has had a lot of negative press recently. For some, it is a poor option as they need more reliability when it comes to what hours they work. For others though, it works for their situation. Employers only provide employment when there is work to be done. The staff remain employees, but are contracted for no set out hours. Small start-up companies use this option as well as seasonal retailers or event locations. People such as students prefer this arrangement as it allows for their hours to vary (e.g. low hours during exam period but higher hours in summer holidays).