One of the things I value the most about my employer is their approach to flexible working. I’ve worked for the same employer since the end of 2000, and I first started working flexibly at the start of 2007. We’d just completed our first cycle of IVF treatment, and I was exhausted. I knew I would either end up pregnant or needing further treatment cycles. Either way, the exhaustion wasn’t going to get any better! So I asked my line manager if I could drop to working 4 days per week. I had to write what was effectively a business case to justify the change, explaining how my job would be covered for the day I wasn’t in the office, but everything got agreed. It was a working pattern which worked really well.
Since then I have had various different flexible working arrangements in place, depending on what suited me and the company at the time. I’ve worked 4 days per week, 3 days per week, a 7-day fortnight and a 3 day per week job share.
For about the last 5 years I’ve been working 3 days per week, and it has been brilliant. I’ve often referred to it as the best work/life balance for me. I would be in the office Monday to Wednesday, and at home Thursday to Sunday. However, recently it’s felt like my workload has increased, and I’ve been finding it harder and harder to leave my work at the end of each Wednesday, and our financial situation has been getting a little tight.
I believe that a flexible working arrangement should be in place for the benefit of both the company and the individual. So when it looked like there would be benefits to both of us by my increasing my hours I approached my line manager with a proposal. Thankfully she agreed with me, and so from the start of August I have been back to working a 4 day week. I’ve been nervous about making the change as over the years I have a routine with a number of commitments on my non-working days, but I’ve been able to agree that I’ll work for home on Thursdays so that I can continue to do the school run and take my daughter to her gymnastics class that day.
I am still adjusting to that extra day at work, but feeling better about the amount of work I am able to complete in a week, so I think it is going to work out really well. I am having to re-balance some of my activities as I’ve lost a day of “leisure” time, but I am confident in time things will settle down.