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Can ‘flexible working’ help me strike a better work–life balance?
Absolutely. Flexible working (which includes working from home, flexitime, term-time working, compressed hours and staggered hours) has evolved to reasonably accommodate people’s lives outside work, primarily parents and others with caring responsibilities. Since 2014, most workers (except agency workers) just need to have worked 26 weeks for their employer before they can make a flexible working request, which their manager must give serious consideration (although ultimately, they may refuse for a legitimate business reason).
Remote working, from home or somewhere other than the workplace, is becoming increasingly popular: millions of people in the UK telework from time to time, while up to 1 in 4 office-based workers in the UK are able to work remotely as often as they like.
Remote workers can look forward to saving time on commuting, and having more control over their working time, often helping them to reconcile work and home life. This can be particularly valuable if you are a parent juggling the school run and myriad other family responsibilities.
Simply being away from the office without the boss breathing down your neck can be liberating. And despite the temptation to slack off, most people find that they get far more work done when they don’t have the meetings, phone calls and interruptions and other distractions of the workplace to contend with – meaning they can get the job done in normal working hours, leaving them more time for life outside of work.
On the downside, work from home often enough and if you’re not careful, the boundary between your work and non-work lives can become easily blurred. See the workSMART blog for more on the pros and cons of remote working.