On Friday 4th October, Team TechPixies went to Flexpo! 🦸♀️ It is an event for all people that are looking for flexible employment or trying to negotiate flexible working with their employer.
After a fabulous introduction from Mother Pukka – Anna Whitehouse, the event kicked off with ‘What are my flexible working options?‘
We learnt what flexible working means in practical terms. This is what flexible working actually looks like and the options available to us and more importantly, to you! Here are your options:
🌟 Job sharing.
🌟 Part-time hours.
🌟 Agile, compressed hours and working from home.
🌟 Flexi hours and term-time contracts.
🌟 Other flexible working arrangements.
”Most companies don’t operate in a fully agile way“— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Carolyn Nevitte, Marketing and HR Operations Director, People Insight @PeopleInsightUK#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/mnutcWLBdK
As illustrated by Carolyn Nevitte above, there are many options available but many companies do not operate this way.
After a quick coffee and a shuffle it was time to learn about how to actually put these ideas into practice! ‘Going from full-time to flexible: negotiating your new job design‘.
I believe the phrase is ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’. 👕 This panel told us their warts and all stories on how they negotiated their flexible work arrangements. In particular they discussed what to do if…
🚫 There’s no policy for flexible working?! Uh Oh! Computer says no! Try offering solutions perhaps a policy can be drafted from the problems you solve as per your suggestions and negotiations!
🚫 Not getting through to your employer. Try looking at everything from the lens of your employer. How will they benefit? You stand to gain too of course, but flexibility works both ways don’t ya know!
🚫 When all else fails… present data to support your case, suggest trying it as a pilot? compromise!
🚫 Access denied: If your request is refused… maybe this isn’t the right place for you.
Trust was the key word here, as beautifully described by Robert Powell:
“If your employer doesn’t trust you, why are you there in the first place… Work is a thing that I do not a place that I go”— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Robert Powell, Head of Pro Bono and Corporate Responsibility at Weil, Gotshal and Manges @WeilGotshal#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/6Tcp5uOpcx
Preparing your business case
You may have to prepare a business case for flexible working. 🤔 You might not know where to start or what employers consider when assessing flexible working requests. What should you include?
The general conscensus with this panel, is that everybody deserves flexible working:
The Dad wanting to be present in his children’s lives;
A daughter that wants to bring her mother with altzeimers soup to the hospital so she eats that day;
The employee who just loves amateur dramatics;
The pet owner nursing their sick guinea pig! -All true stories!
⚖️ It’s about work life and home life merging, so the employer gets the whole person and the employee gets a life that encompases work. An open, honest, relationship built on trust. The employees home life is not hidden in the shadows.
Inclusivity was a very important factor too. If you’re not having to hide who you are, what you are, what you do outside of work then you become less of s number and much more valuable to your company. Chances are you’ll care more too!
“This shouldn’t be an HR process, it’s a business process. It’s not just parents, if your employer can facilitate your ‘Thai cookery class’. The outcome is a more engaged, more committed employee”— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
David Blackburn @FSCS#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/q2tPtBJGKb
So when preparing your business case. Be honest and open about your requirements. Be prepared to negotiate and not to have all the answers -yet! Lynda Thwaite has a brilliant reason why she should be allowed to work flexibly:
“It comes down to confidence in your own ability. I don’t need to ask for it because I actually deserve it. I won’t let you down. You will get amazing things from me if I can do this on my terms!”— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Lynda Thwaite @WeAreMcAlpine#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/obMyC92XP6
The next session ‘Tips and tricks for landing your flexible dream job‘ although completely valuable, it was much of the same message such as presenting yourself at an interview as a worker who requires flexibility and honestly talking about gaps in your CV, picking an employer that will offer real flexibility and fair opportunities and also presenting your transferrable skills if you are looking to make a career change. Remember! Being flexible is a two-way street:
“Top tip!: Be Flexible yourself. Go and talk to someone and ask what their policies are. Flexible working is not on most recruiters agenda”.— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Louise Deverell-Smith, Founder of The Daisy Chain Platform @_thedaisychain_#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/zwyc0gHhep
How to get back into your career after a break
In this section our founder and managing director, Joy Foster, was part of the panel speaking on getting back into employment after a break, updating your skills and reframing yourself as a potential employee. You can watch this section below as it was streamed LIVE from our facebook page.
Key takeaway points from this session include:
Reinventing yourself after a career break. Be honest about the gaps on your CV. Proudly present yourself as a returner and be sure to hilight the positives that you bring. Talk about your time out of the workplace as a positive.
You could consider a ‘Returnship programme’ or retraining. At TechPixies we offer support for those who want to return to work, change careers or start a business.
You could go freelance or self-employed.
A flexpert’s survival guide: juggling work/life and progressing your career
You’re now in a flexible job! Hurrah! the key to making a success of it according to this panel is respecting boundaries.
“Be clear on mindset and outcome. Do not apologise. Empathise and establish boundaries. Respect your own boundaries and others will respect yours too” ✊— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Jessica Rogers, Award-Winning Business and Executive Coach @JessicaRogers76#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/jEvcKK0OIC
🚨 You need to know when you will be contacted outside of work. When is appropriate? Establish rules so that everybody knows where they stand.
🚨 Chances are, you’re in a team. To avoid conflict everybody should be clear on when, how, and where everybody is working / off duty. Particulary if they work full time.
🚨 It is going to be a balancing act. We all have pressures inside and outside the home. Flexibility means give and take. There is no point being flexible if you are not managing your outside priorities.
🚨 You are at work! You do not feel guilty about the way you work and should still apply for promotions and get paid the same as everybody else!
🚨 An important factor to consider when flexible working, is burnout! Yes! Structure your time and don’t be afraid to say when you’re off duty!
“I’m going to retain the same objectives that you sent me at the outset, if I’m going to deliver on those objectives, you’re going to pay me” on Flexible working.— TechPixies Award-winning Social Media Course (@TechPixies) October 4, 2019
Lance Doughty, Executive Vice President of Capgemini @Capgemini#Flexpo @LiveFlexpo #flexappeal #flexibleworking pic.twitter.com/CpIaXJXC7P
Flexible working isn’t just for Mums, it is for everybody. Having flexibility at work leads to more productive and dedicated employees as well as better cultural diversity!
Want to find flexible work? We’ve got a bunch of blog posts about working flexibly… check them out here
Here are some of the highlights:
Best Books about Flexible work
Best Events to go to in the Flexible working space
Best Podcasts to listen to
Best Facebook Groups to Join
Best Places to look for Flexible work online
Go check out our ‘Flexibility’ series!
Don’t forget, you can listen on the podcast too!