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Jane & Harriet 
Does your business offer flexible working, if so, what does this look like for you? 
Change is here – People are changing, we’re waking up to the fact that we don’t have to conform to working the way we always have. 
Part of this might be the stresses of modern life or perhaps we’ve just had enough of the daily grind, not having time or energy to do other things, trying to squash everything non-work-related into a weekend (when everyone else is doing the same, so everywhere is really busy), and still have time for some sort of social life. Maybe we’re growing tired of the uncertainty of the job market. Maybe it’s related to equal pay or equal benefits. Perhaps it’s all of these things. 
Either way, there’s a significant increase in those looking to self-employment as the only way to get balance in our lives. From 12% in 2001 self-employment has increased year on year to 15.7% (national averages) at the end of 2017 – and for London it’s up to 17.4%.* 
Don’t follow the trend, set it! – People are taking action and it’s only set to increase. Much of this is because we’re not able to find an organisation that offers genuine flexible working for all. Is this growing trend something your business can ignore? 
Luckily small businesses and start-ups have the opportunity to be real trend setters in this area. They may not have the resources to offer expensive training plans, or fast-track promotions, they’re unlikely to have the budgets for huge bonuses – but these aren’t the only things that motivate people. Giving people the trust and respect to allow flexible working is a genuinely attractive proposition for recruiting the right people to your business. 
Flexible working has long been seen as a way to allow mothers to get back to work, and only this. As we fight for equal pay for women, should we not also be fighting for equal benefits for all. Should only mothers get to benefit from flexible working? 
Different ways to embrace flexible working: 
Flexible hours 
Remote working 
Compressed hours 
Reduced hours 
Part-time hours 
The benefits: 
Reduced overheads on premises 
Increased staff retention 
Increased business continuity 
Improved employee engagement 
Reduced recruitment costs 
Increased productivity 
Be a pioneer – promote trust, loyalty and true equality! 
* Source: Office for National Statistics, Labour Force Survey 
About The Author 
If you’d like to improve flexible working practices in your business, but aren’t sure how, get in touch for a chat https://acornsandoaks.uk or send an email: maria@acornsandoaks.uk 
Please enter your email address in the box below if you’d like to hear more about upcoming webinars. 
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