Flexible working. Feminism. Fun.

Flexible working: let’s clean up the F-word

Flexible working: let’s clean up the F-word

I f-ing LOVE the f-word.

The f-word is the reason that I’m able to work. It’s the reason I can continue to pay my rent and occasionally buy something expensive and ridiculous, like those little tubs of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s the reason I get to spend my days doing something that I enjoy and, quite frankly, am pretty good at.

The f-word is probably one of the most important words in my life right now, along with ‘seebum’. According to my toddler, ‘seebum’ is the best and funniest word in the world. It’s refers to bums, I assume. She’s not clear on the definition.

There are a lot of employers out there who don’t appreciate the f-word as much as I do. They hate to even bring it up, and feel kind of uncomfortable when people do.

But f them.


Some employers see flexible working as an employee perk that allows lazy employees to swan into the office whenever they want and ‘work from home’ on sunny days. They don’t see the other side of it:

The employees who are more productive at work because they’re not stressed about missing the nursery run or facing a long commute.

The employees who feel more loyal to an employer who recognises their need for work-life balance.

The talented employees who might have otherwise quit because they couldn’t make standard office hours work with their family life.

I’m one of those might-have-quit employees. Faced with stupidly-expensive full-time nursery fees and a work schedule that would have had me and my toddler home practically at her bedtime, I had a choice: stop working, or talk to my employer about flexible working options.

They wanted to keep me. I wanted to keep working. So we made it work.

I work four days a week, starting early and leaving by 4pm to pick up my daughter. We get home in time to have dinner and play for a few hours before she has to go to bed. I can work from home if I need to. When she gets sick, I can stay home with her, no questions asked. My employer gets that toddlers have questionable hygiene.

I may not be in the office until 6pm every day of the week, but when I’m there, I get shit done. Having flexible work options has, without question, made me a better employee.

Flexible working is good for business, and the Digital Mums #CleanUptheFWord campaign aims to make that clear.

They’re campaigning to change the government’s definition of flexible working from solely focusing on benefits the employee (“Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg having flexible start and finish times, or working from home”) to “Flexible working is a way of working that works for employees and businesses.

Let’s face it – nothing is going to change as long as companies think of flexible working as something that they legally have to pay lip service to, rather than something that makes real business sense.

Sign the petition to #CleanUptheFWord. And, for f’s sake, let’s keep talking about this.

Rhyming with Wine

8 thoughts on “Flexible working: let’s clean up the F-word”

  • Yes! I’m right with you here. Parents asking for flexible working are not trying to get an easy ride. We just want to do our jobs without sacrificing our family life or missing nursery closing time and facing the “pick-up of shame” where your child is the last one there. My employer has been very understanding and I’m lucky but too many friends have faced an uphill struggle going back to work. Great post. X #blogcrush

  • I did flexible working until I sent self-employed. My company knew that when I was working, I was ON! They got the best from me because I knew I had to fit it into an allotted time frame. The other way of working can sometimes result in Presenteeism which is worse because people are just putting in hours without actually doing anything. #blogcrush

  • Yes! I love this. I think I’ve said it before but it just feels obvious to me that employers should (in industries where it’s possible) offer flexible working to any employees who require it. It’s so much better for everyone involved! And I know so many people who waste a huge amount of time while they are at work, ha.

  • Flexible working can make such a huge difference to an employee’s mental and emotional well-being, and that in turn improves their productivity. It also has the same effect on the employee’s family, making everyone happy, and further increasing productivity. Hubby’s flexible working means so much to us (he can work from home if he needs to) that he turned down a significant pay rise from a different company so because they weren’t willing to offer any sort of flexibility and he stayed where he was. It’s a shame that options vary so much from company to company but at least the dialogue is open and things are starting to change… #blogcrush

  • Massive supporter of flexible working and cannot understand why more and more people don’t introduce it into the workplace. It has found to make people ore productive and lift morale. I was lucky enough to return to work on a job share so flexible to an extend. Great post!

  • This is so important to me too – I feel like it depends on the field you work in but also that there is such a way to go before flexible working works for parents. I left my job recently as the ‘4 day a week’ job, was more like a full time job crammed into 4 days. It didn’t quite work for me but reading your post made me hopeful that things will continue to change and improve. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam

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