|Image credit: Stuart Miles | FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
I work 7.5 hours a day, five days a week and I have a commute that takes up another 2.5 hours in total (on a good day). They're long old days. I leave the house after having a quick breakfast with my children and come home just in time to give them a bath and get them into bed. If I'm lucky, we get about half an hour of playtime in there too. Then, once Sophia and Dexter are in bed, it's time to crack on with housework, this blog and, of course, my Working Parents United website.
On top of all that, I'm acutely aware that my in-laws, while fantastic in their commitment to look after my children while my husband and I go to work, are getting older and can't be expected to continue running round after Sophia and Dexter indefinitely. They've done a lot to support me and my family, and I want to be able to support them when they need it.
I've been lucky in that my boss already allows me to work from home one day a week but, for one reason or another, we've had to do it on an informal basis. It really helps me to balance things; I get to take my daughter to Pre-school; it gives my children an opportunity to wake naturally in the morning rather than being forced up at the break of dawn; I get to cook a family meal in the evening which we all sit down to together; my mother-in-law will still look after the children (unless my husband is at home with me) but we all get to have lunch together; and our new little cat gets some company all day too. Also, being the focused, organised person I am, I actually find working from home to be quite therapeutic and always seem to get lots more done when away from the distractions of the office, especially when I need to concentrate on a report, or have to write communications strategies and similar documents.
But now my boss is leaving and I'm unsure what that will mean for our 'arrangement'. So, I decided to submit a formal flexible working request. Although one day working from home is very helpful, my perfect scenario would be to have two days working at home with three in the office (I already know that going part-time isn't an option for the job I do). And that's what I've applied for.
Flexible working rights
If you're a parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 17 or a disabled child under 18-years-old and worked for your employer for at least 26 continuous weeks, then your company is legally obliged to consider your application for flexible working. They're only able to reject an application for business reasons so I'm really hoping I've covered all my bases.
I spoke to the people I line-manage, making sure they were aware of what I was planning and talking to them honestly about any concerns they may have. I carefully considered what impact the arrangement might have on my team and addressed each point in my application, setting out solutions to any potential problems.
My application is under consideration at the moment (although has been postponed until my boss' replacement arrives in post) and thankfully, my company has agreed to my ad-hoc working from home arrangement continuing in the meantime. But, I've got my fingers crossed that eventually, it might just possibly get the thumbs up from my employer. I can but hope.
Do you work a flexible pattern for your job? How long did it take for your application to be approved and has it helped your work-life balance?