When flexibility in the workplace becomes the norm

Lynn RattiganThere’s never been a more relevant time to talk about flexible working. Changes in legislation, society and technology are all normalising the many different forms that flexible working can take, challenging the traditional 9-5 working week.

Take the introduction of shared parental leave. Government regulations now state that up to 50 weeks of leave can be shared between parents either at the same time or independently. It’s a solid step to modernising the workplace – challenging outdated stereotypes and encouraging people to have greater control over their work-life balance.

But let’s be clear. Flexible working is not exclusive to parents; it’s open to anyone and everyone: the runner in training for a marathon, the aspiring part-time author, carers, volunteers or anyone else who needs to balance their work and personal commitments.

In fact, one of the drivers for flexible working becoming a mainstream practice is the younger generation, who ‘work to live’. So called millennials are looking for flexibility in their career right from the start – the ability to take time out to do a secondment, go travelling, pursue a hobby, study or even set up their own business. New entrants to the jobs market are demanding greater flexibility and view it as a key deciding factor when choosing an employer.

Of course, flexible working has to balance the needs of organisations, clients and teams – no easy feat – but the benefits to be gained could transform a business by enhancing the lives of its employees, increasing productivity, attracting and retaining the right talent.

WHAT DOES FLEXIBLE WORKING MEAN TO ME?

I’ve been a partner with EY for fifteen years. I’ve worked with most of the FTSE’s top 100 companies and was recently appointed EY’s Chief Operating Officer in the UK & Ireland. I work flexibly – four days a week – and have young twins.

Whilst it’s not without its challenges – and yes, there are inevitably times when I have needed to answer the occasional email or urgent phone call – it’s an arrangement that has been of huge personal benefit to me. It has enabled me to spend precious time with my girls, and continue a career I love. I have never felt disadvantaged in my professional development by working part time – I have been able to grow and develop, taking on bigger and better roles.

And EY has benefited too. My day out of the office is a period of reflection; I come back to work the next day feeling energised, focused and committed.

THE EY WAY

EY is harnessing the power of flexible working to the benefit of our people, our clients and the communities we work within.

In 2013 the firm launched a significant change programme, empowering our people to decide how, when and where they work, to help them achieve their own personal and professional ambitions.

We aspire to be ‘flexible working champions’ – leaders in our industry – encouraging others to think about how it can work for them.

EY is working in partnership with Timewise to help unlock the potential of talented individuals who wish to work flexibly, right from the point of hire.

To find out more about flexible working at EY visit http://ukcareers.ey.com/

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