5 quick wins: family friendly practice

Is your practice flexible and family friendly for staff? Do you have employees who work part time, or those who have requested a career break? There is a growing trend for people to work flexible hours which can meet the needs of the retail environment. Career breaks and flexible work do throw up issues both for professionals and employers. Read on for five ways to improve your flexible work practices:

  1. Remind yourself of the legislation. Any staff member who has worked for you for 26 weeks can ask for flexible working. You have a duty to consider their request and respond. Get the full details here: www.gov.uk/flexible-working
  2. What cover does your business really need? Map out who works when, and keep an eye on times when staff are under-employed, times when you could really do with more people. Knowing the patterns of work in your business by day, by week and by annual events can help you assess if what you need is more staff who work lunchtimes, or weekends, or even someone who just comes in for holiday cover.
  3. Brush up on the different ways to work. Flexible working doesn’t just mean part time hours or job sharing. You can also consider compressed hours, working full-time hours but over fewer days. This can work well if your practice is open into the evening some days. Another creative approach that allows for you to employ someone who works more at mutually convenient times is annualised hours. The employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year but there is flexibility about when they work. Many practices already implement staggered hours where some employees have different start, finish and break times. Finally, phased retirement can allow valuable members of staff to cut their hours gradually.
  4. Look at what your practice policies say about flexible working. Are they up to date and in line with legislation. ACAS has helpful guidance on its website.
  5. Hold a staff training session about flexible working. This can help you as an employer or manager explain the needs of the practice just as much as it can help staff who may want to work flexibly now or in the future.