Flexible Working for Working dads

Louisa Traynor is the Head of Operations for SkyBlue, Carillion’s in-house temporary recruitment arm. She operates flexible working with several members of her team including Paul Rowan of the Working Dad’s Network. Paul met with Louisa recently and spoke to her about her views on flexible working.

As a line manager, what benefits do you see of agreeing Flexible Working with your people?

A better work life balance which I feel we should all strive for. We all lead complicated lives so trying to balance home life and work is becoming more of a challenge. There are very few roles that have to be completed between Monday and Friday 09.00 to 17.00. So long as people work their contracted hours, they we should be flexible. Let’s face it how many people do we know who work their contracted hours? Our people give more so we owe it to them to be flexible.

How do you manage the needs of the individual against the needs of the business when making any agreement on Flexible Working?

From experience if you offer flexible working it is the individual that makes it works. They appreciate the flexibility so have a vested interest to make the arrangement work. It is all about your relationship with your line manager, there will be times when it just isn’t possible to accommodate. If you explain why and the importance of the business need then a compromise can be met.

From a line manager’s point of view, how do you find monitoring/reviewing how well the Flexible Working agreement is performing for both parties?

Through regular communication/ 121’s. It is almost business as usual now for the majority of my team. We have stopped doing SKYPE calls at 08.00 as this was a challenge for a few in the team.

In your opinion, how has the productivity of your team been impacted since the introduction of Flexible Working agreements?

I feel it has an impact, recent feedback is that their mind was fully on the day ahead as they knew any child care issues had been resolved before hand.

What impact have you seen on the individual’s general wellbeing since Flexible Working was introduced?

I have seen people more focused, if they need to leave by a certain time, they plan their day better. I feel it can drive people to be more organised and focus on the priorities.

What advice would you give to a line manager who is looking to agree Flexible Working with an individual for the first time?

Be open minded, challenge yourself to ask can this be done?  Just because we have always operated one way it does not mean it is the right way.

For an individual thinking about flexible working, what advice would you give them on approaching their line manager?

Be open, explain why you need the flexibility and demonstrate your commitment to making it work. Have a plan to demonstrate how you would be able to work flexibly and still what is required. It is a two way commitment. It is down to you to make it work.