National Work Life Week is about acknowledging the importance of meeting a work-life balance. This is especially important for parents and carers who have very immediate work outside of the workplace.
Employers should show a level of understanding when it comes to their treatment of employees. The coronavirus pandemic illustrated that Britain’s workforce can be versatile in a time of crisis. Businesses all across the UK had to adapt to the unprecedented times that they were facing with some innovative methods of working – remote working being a mainstream example.
An article from The Times actually highlights that productivity increased during the lockdown periods, with many offices and web-based jobs operating on a remote basis. This was able to demonstrate our national spirit but it also shows our ability to work productively from outside the office and the workplace.
Long story short, the pandemic was an eye-opener for many of us. The opportunity for flexible hours and out-of-office working allowed workers to get a little more out of their daily lives. Being rigidly stuck in the same weekly schedule can limit the things you can do outside of work, such as picking the children up for example.
Controversy from Fylde
AFC Fylde recently posted a job advert for a position as the media manager at the football club. Controversially, the job description asked people not to apply if they needed to “pick up the kids” – a remark that was overtly discriminatory towards parents.
People who want to break into the sports industry often have to put a lot of work in to make their dream a reality. Fylde would be looking at the previous experiences of candidates, alongside qualifications, before they made their final decision.
People can become parents at any time in their life but it doesn’t prevent them from developing their career and working hard. To suggest that it does is incredibly condescending to all of those parents out there who bend over backwards to provide for their family whilst giving their all for the job that they do.
Such a tone indicates exactly why National Work Life Week is a thing; people are not commodities. A happy workforce is also a busy workforce at the end of the day, so it makes economic sense to make workers feel as though they are valued members of their work team. A key way to create that relationship is through respecting employees as living and breathing individuals.
As noted by Citizen’s Advice, you can make a statutory request to shift into flexible working if you have worked in your current occupation for 26 weeks. However, you will not be legally entitled to flexible working with a statutory request if you have already made a request within the last 12 months, and some stipulations are also in place for care workers and employee shareholders. It’s worth checking your rights before you attempt to make a statutory request.
On the other hand, a non-statutory request for flexible time isn’t made under the law of flexible working. It’s an agreement that you have with your employer. In the spirit of Working Life Week, we believe that non-statutory demands should be encouraged by all employers where possible, promoting the wellbeing of their workforce.
There are many ways to look out for the needs of workers and this article has explored one of them in particular. In the end, all that you can ask if that the employer tries to put themselves in the shoes of their employees.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to all businesses but holding empathy and care for workers is something that every company owner and manager should strive towards.