National Work Life Week 2016: flexible working in practice
Published: 7 Oct 2016
By Neil Gray MP
As National Work Life Week looms, I wanted to share my experiences as an employer offering flexible working to my staff.
As I work in Westminster at least three days a week, I have to trust that my team is manning the constituency office during office hours, or as close to them as possible. Thankfully they’re a great bunch who put in the hours as they know that, should there ever be an emergency, I have no qualms about them taking time off, coming in late or leaving early.
I find that the office works well and everyone gets on brilliantly as there are not the usual start dead on 9am and finish at 5pm restrictions or the snide comments if someone continually comes in late or leaves early when no one else does.
Trains are late, cars don’t always start, children take ill, childminders have emergencies – all things that flexible working allows my team to deal with.
There have been occasions when I have arrived back to the office to find a 10-year-old boy at my desk as his babysitter had an issue and his mum had to pick him up early. No biggie, he sat, did his homework and his mum finished what she had to do that day and left a bit earlier. The next day she stayed later to make up for it.
I didn’t demand it, she offered as she was delighted that I understood her problem.
I also say that they can work from home if the need arises, all they have to do is take the laptop and let me know the day before.
Equally, they work around me trying to balance being pulled between Westminster, the constituency and home. They all do a little extra for me and it works.
Flexible working works for both the employer and the employees. As long as the work is done and my constituents are happy then that is all I ask.
If you feel that flexible working hours would benefit either you or your staff, or if you are a staff member looking for a more relaxed way to work look at Working Families advice pages for more details.
Neil Gray is the Member of Parliament for Airdrie and Shotts