What is flexible working?

As it is becoming increasingly popular, more people are asking what is flexible working? Flexible working is not about working less but having greater control to get work done more effectively. It recognises that people across all demographics may not be able to commit to the rigid 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Flexible working simply refers to any working schedule that is outside of a normal working pattern. This means that the working hours, instead of being repetitive and fixed, can involve changes and variations. It can mean the employee has variables such as when they are required to work or even their place of work. 

What is the flexible working legislation?

As of June 2014 in the UK, all employees with 26 weeks of continuous service can legally request flexible working from their employer. However, we recommend stating your need for flexible working at the start of your employment, even at the interview stage. This way employers are aware of this from the start.
It is important to remember that all demographics of people can request flexible working, not just parents and carers like what it was before the legislation was passed.

In order to request flexible working when you are already in a current job, you must put the request in writing. Check out our tips on how to request flexible working.

What are the different flexible working hours?

There a number of myths around the different types of flexible working and who would be suited to them. There is no longer the need for staff to work 35 hours per week from 9-5pm, from their office desk. Also when people ask what is flexible working, a lot of people usually only mention part-time or work from home when in actual fact there are many types of flexible working patterns. 

Check them out below. 

1. Full Time – Open to flexibility  

Full-time hours with the element of flexibility. 

Examples include:

• Time off one afternoon per week for childcare commitments.

• Leaving early one night a week for a sports engagement


2. Flexi-time

Under flexi-time, there is normally a core period of the day when employees must be at work(eg between 10 am and 4 pm), whilst the rest of working day is ‘flexi-time’, in which staff choose when they work, subject to achieving total daily, weekly or monthly hours. An employee must work between the basic core hours and has the flexibility to clock-in/out between the other hours.


3. Condensed hours  

• There are a number of ways that condensed hours fit into a working pattern.

• This could simply be full-time hours completed over 4 days instead of 5, 30 hours per week over 3 days, 3 twelve hour shifts which afford’s the employer even greater flexibility.  


4. Home/Remote working jobs  

• Working in this way works for many people as it frees up the commute to work, it can increase the time available to work and allow you to work around a predesignated schedule.

• This is particularly popular with freelancers/consultants and parents returning to work.  

• It’s important to note that this doesn’t have to be working exclusively from home for the full week. 


5. Shift work  

• This type of work is common in industries such as healthcare, law enforcement, and tourism

• It is fast becoming more favourable across other industries.

• Shift work offers more freedom whilst working and the ability to spend time with young family during the daytime.


6. Part time

Part-time working is probably the most recognisable after full time. It takes on any form that is not full time working. This does not mean that it is less quality or lower skilled work. 


7. Job Sharing

• Job sharing allows people who work part-time can still hold roles of responsibility without feeling like a spare member of the team.

• This can be a great option if you’re an older worker looking to gradually phase into retirement, have a family to look after or wish to dedicate your time to another project.


8. Term time jobs  

• Term time roles are geared toward parents/guardians to enable them to work around their children’s needs during school holidays.


9. On-call jobs  

On-call jobs operate in a similar way to shift work, rather than having a weekly commitment, they are based on the staffing needs of the employer.


10. Short contract

• These roles are temporary positions with a limited time frame.

• These are great options if you are a freelancer or consultant looking for temporary work.