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Work Life Balance

Flexible Working
Emmie: So I was reading one of your articles on LinkedIn about the role of flexible working and how employers should be talking about flexibility at interviews or even mentioning it in their job ads. And that flexible working is the key to retaining and attracting talent, so I just wanted to talk to you a bit more about that.

Jessica: Yeah, it really interesting and it’s interesting that we’re talking about that today after me yesterday being with one of our new clients Abcam over in Cambridge. They did some work with London Business School, a researcher there, looking at the impact of flexible working on all sorts of different measures and that study basically found that offering people flex and embracing flex leads to higher levels of engagement and well-being and it’s an attraction and retention tool. My gripe is that organizations will often offer flex to people when they ask for it and usually someone has had to really think a lot before they are can sort of think. Oh, well, I built it all this goodwill I prove myself after I’m going to ask for it now and what that leads to is sometimes what we call trapped talent. So people staying in in a role because they’ve accrued that those feelings of goodwill and they proved themselves and they think’ oh, well, I can’t they were talking to other employers door because they’re not advertising flex or it might be really difficult to have to take a full-time role before I can then change the way that I work’ and we think that’s just awful.

So that blog post was talking about how employers need to talk about flex at the point of hiring. And it was something that came up at Abcam yesterday and many of the senior leadership team in the room were talking about when they’re recruiting and run job ads they are talking about agile working being the way they do things and being very outcome focused and we’re happy to talk about different ways of working. And as soon as you do that you send a signal particularly to women because it’s disproportionately women that sort of a doing the stuff at home, whether it caring for elderly relatives for young children that are seeking flex so what you do when you talk about that on a job app is you’re saying to everyone come and talk to us we would kind of place you want to come and be and we think it’s really important the employer talk about it. We put on job advert. They raised it in the first interview because otherwise, people can feel really fearful of mentioning it and think ‘Oh if I mention it will people think I’m not committed’.

Emmie: That’s really interesting. Actually, you mentioned, that maybe the growing problem with women is that you almost have to stay in your job because you feel like you can’t apply for something else 4 days a week. They’re just not going to allow it.