Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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Returning to STEM

4 Flexible working: the employer perspective

Figure 3 Contract

Employers are increasingly becoming used to managing flexible working and seeing this as a positive benefit to their organisation, and it’s useful to hear what they have to say when you are thinking about how to make the case to a potential employer yourself .

Here are two employers, John from SSE and Julie from Tideway, talking about the range of working patterns available in their companies and how this benefits their organisations.

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Effectively, our company offers a fairly wide range of flexible working options. They relate, obviously, to the nature of the role, so if a role is a kind of full five-day-a-week operational role, then somebody has to be there, but if it doesn't, we are flexible about the time that people spend working from home, working in the office.
We're flexible about term-time working. We're flexible at people looking at compressed hours, where they maybe work full-time, but they actually compress their hours maybe into four days, rather than five. We also have arrangements at times where people might work a shortened nine-day fortnight so that every second Friday they can get time off if they've got obligations around things. And lastly, of course, we look at job share, and we look at part-time working as well.
What we try and do is obviously have an ongoing dialogue with our employees about what we're offering. Does it make sense? Is it helping us to retain people and retain skills? And recently, we've actually surveyed about two and a half thousand of our staff around our flexible working policies to ask the questions about, do they make sense just now? Is there anything different we can do?
And we're actually in the process of holding a number of focus groups just to check that what we've actually got is fit for purpose because from my point of view, there's no point having these policies unless they're helping actually retain people and helping people feel they're getting the right balance being able to contribute in the workplace, but if they've got priorities outside work that we're actually kind of tuning in and understanding that we're balancing with that.
Part-time and flexible working is really important on the project for us. It is a way that actually allows all working families to actually manage their time appropriately. We have a number of people who are part-time workers on the project, some in quite senior roles. Some are balancing families. Actually, some are balancing other things. So we have someone who's actually taking another qualification whilst working part-time.
And I think the key thing around part-time working is to have those open and honest conversations about what is possible, how it can be done. And actually, most cases, most things can be accomplished.
And I think there's always a bit of a struggle around, first of all, can this role be part-time or can it be flexible? But sometimes, flexible just means that you work from home one day a week, or you come in later, go home early. So there are a number of different ways that we can help people actually balance what they have to do at work, but also what they need to do in their personal lives as well, and we welcome it.
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