In the UK the right to request flexible working has been open to all (for any reason) for a few years now. The growing popularity and acceptance of flexible working has left some colleagues feeling like they are picking up the slack.
To work best, true flexibility is output driven. I am a strong believer that:
1. to engage your workforce you need to trust them. If you trust and respect your staff, you will generally be rewarded with productivity and loyalty; and
2. work is something you do, NOT somewhere you go. The fact that a colleague might have been late in or left early does not automatically mean they have not met their role requirements (or done less work than the person who worked full office hours).
Communicating and educating staff on effective working practices can stop these 'gripes' becoming more serious, and may even increase productivity!
And for freelance social media director Georgie Gayler, who doesn't have children, a bias over formal flexible working requests is only part of the story. In her experience inconsistencies are rife and unquestioned across a number of informal arrangements, from time off automatically given when children are ill to leaving work early or coming in late to accommodate their needs. "If their children are sick, or they need flexible working suddenly due to difficulties at home, then of course this should be recognised, but at the same time, the job still needs to be done and without an impact on other colleagues, and this is where it can often fall," she says.