Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Benefits of a Flexible Retirement

5 Ways to Maintain Independence and Forge a Fulfilling Career After 50

Image via Life After 50

It’s 2014 and the UK’s older workers are more resilient, independent and tech-savvy than ever before. Like the majority of countries in the West, we have an aging population and, older workers are vital to the growth and maintenance of the economy. This is partly due to the removal of the previous default retirement age, which means that anyone can now continue working past State Pension age.

Although older workers are prized by many employers, ageism persists as a problem within the UK workforce, and many are victims of prejudice and discrimination at work.

Why should a competent and reliable employee be forced to ditch a career that they love, just because they’re getting on a bit?

Do you love the sense of fulfillment you get from your job? Maybe you’re thinking about starting a new career altogether. There is no time like the present, and age it no barrier to having a great career while the life you want.

  1.       Go flexible

Flexible working is the fastest growing form of employment the world over, and can include homeworking, telecommuting, job-sharing and part-time work. Flexible working can be an ideal solution for older workers who enjoy their jobs but who want to slow things down a notch. June’s upcoming changes to flexible working legislation means that every employee will have the right to request flexible working, subject to their employer.

Flexiworkforce is a job site exclusively offering exciting flexible opportunities. Our employers love experienced, skilled and conscientious over 50 workers. Say goodbye to the ‘nine to five’ and say hello to amazing flexible opportunities!

  1.       Go freelance

Another option is to take control your own schedule by going freelance.

‘This is especially suitable for seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience and contacts’.

However, even if you have no experience there is nothing to stop you from trying your hand at something new and inspiring. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to go into graphic design? Maybe you feel that now is the time to become a writer. The possibilities of freelance work are endless.

  1.       Make your own job

Alternatively, starting your own company may give you a new lease of life, inspiring new goals and broadening your horizons. This needn’t be too much of an upheaval, and could incorporate an existing past-time or hobby, such as dog-walking, jewelry making or even hosting students and teaching English as a foreign language.

  1.       Take care of yourself

Of course, this is important at any age, but never more so in your later years.  Remember to take care of your body by eating well, doing regular exercise including muscle-strengthening activities. Build a strong support network around you so you always have someone to turn to when stressed or in need to guidance.

Being proactive by doing a job you love can do wonders for your mental health and may even stave off degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.

  1.       Love your life.

It goes without saying that you should enjoy this period of your life, so it is important to not let stress take over. Don’t commit yourself to a working schedule which is detrimental to your overall well being. Take time to do what you love, see family and friends often and nurture hobbies and pastimes that bring you joy.

Worker

Image via Sydney Morning Herald

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Are You Really ‘Fine’??

3 simple ways to be more honest with yourself in your life and career.

Think back to last time when someone asked you how you are. More than likely, your reply was an immediate ‘fine’. But is fine good enough? And why should we accept ‘fine’ as being as good as we can hope to feel on a daily basis?

Why is everyone merely ‘fine’ and, and what impact does ‘fine’ have on the way we view our lives and careers? Ultimately, ‘fine’ has become semantically void within the English Language, being used to express a sense of bland mediocrity, passive acceptance of one’s circumstances or even to subtly convey passive aggressive anger.

Though ‘fine’ appears outwardly innocuous, its effects can be toxic. Convincing ourselves that we must all be ‘fine’ all of the time is damaging, in that it absolves us of the responsibility to foster change in our lives. Whether you’re enduring a toxic relationship, or the job from Hell, constantly telling ourselves that everything is ‘fine’ prevents us from taking the action needed to improve our situation. Here are three reasons how we may be able to gain a deeper insight into our careers and emotional lives by ditching ‘fine’ by being more transparent with our feelings.

Be Honest with Yourself

If you can’t be totally honest with yourself, who can you be honest with? But sometimes it’s very easy to lie to yourself about your circumstances, when the alternative seems too painful. However, being completely honest with yourself is essential to beginning to realise the changes that must be made. It can be helpful to sit down with a pencil and a pad of paper and map out the areas of life which are causing you unnecessary stress, and lay out a plan of action in order to deal with these unwanted burdens.

Be Honest with Those Around You

The next step in effecting change is to express you desires to those around you! It is all too easy to use ‘fine’ as a veil to cover disappointment, or to express aggression in a passive way. Therefore, ‘fine’ does nothing to help others understand how they can help you. Start being more upfront about your feelings and you may find that situations which you previously found unmanageable are far easier to deal with.

Learn to Accept Weakness and Seek Help When Needed.  

‘Fine’ is not the glue holding your life together; hence, it is pointless to avoid accepting weakness to the point where you risk stress and disruption to your general wellbeing. It is far better to ask for guidance or help than it is to stubbornly deny our need for assistance with a glib ‘fine’. The British, especially, are very bad at expressing problems directly, and so ‘fine’ is employed to quickly diffuse situations perceived as potentially awkward. The next time you feel that your workload or personal relationships are getting out of control, reach out to those around you for help.

 

How Flexiblility Works For Older Workers

Generation GapView Post

Image via Buzz and Trends

UK’s population is aging and it is vital that companies are able to access valuable, talented older worker in order to ensure the growth and maintenance of the UK economy.

There has been some progress recently in creating a more equal workforce. More older people are finding – and staying – in work, according to the latest job figures. But it is still much tougher to get back into the employment market if you lose your job in middle age. Overall, inequalities in job opportunities persist.

However, ageism is remains rife in our society, with statistics suggesting the difficulties of looking for work as an older person. According to a recent Saga article, 400,000 over 50s currently registered as unemployed, with 43% of those being considered to be ‘long term’ unemployed.

How Flexiworkforce Can Help to Meet the Needs of Older Workers

On a per weight basis, humans pack in more neurons than any other species. That’s what makes us so smart!<br />
From the TED-Ed Lesson What percentage of your brain do you use? - Richard E. Cytowic<br />
Animation by TOGETHER

 

Image via Ted-Ed

Firstly, Flexiworkforce offers a wide range of flexible opportunities, meaning that older workers who are excluded from conventional hours and full-time work are able to find fulfilling employment which fits around their needs and other commitments. Of course, many over 50s may be fully capable and willing to work conventional hours.  However, for those who require flexible employment, Flexiworkforce will provide these individuals with the high-quality opportunities that older workers need and deserve

Secondly, Flexiworkforce will introduce the over 50 generation to modern modes of employment. This includes temporary contracts and ‘interim’ work. Gone are the days of a ‘job for life’, we believe that these new ways of working  enable greater choice and autonomy, resulting in individuals being empowered to choose work which they find meaningful and rewarding.

Thirdly,  Flexiworkforce will enable older workers to strike a favourable balance between work and life commitments.  A large percentage of older workers require income to supplement their pension, and others choose to work later into their retirement years.

Finally, Flexiworkforce will contribute to the overall wellbeing of 50+ individuals by encouraging greater independence in old age. Challenging working opportunities provide the mental stimulation needed at any age, but especially by people in their later years.

Flexiworkforce is a specialist online job site dedicated to all forms of flexible work, due to launch shortly. For updates, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook.

How to Make Flexible Working Work for your Business:

Advice for Employers

green-office-meeting

Image via Office Now/Creative Commons

We recently covered what employees need to know about the forthcoming changes to flexible working legislation. Therefore, today’s blog post will be aimed at employers who wonder how best to make these changes work for their businesses.

Legislation coming into force in June 2014 will mean that all UK employees will gain the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks’ service, rather than only those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and those with other caring responsibilities.

It is clear that this new legislation will bring certain benefits, such an increasingly diverse UK workforce. However, some may be apprehensive about how such a change could affect their business. Here are a few of your top queries answered.

How Can the New Flexible Working Legislation Help my Business?

There is much evidence to suggest that flexible working may have a positive impact upon businesses.  This is due to a number of reasons, namely:

  • Flexible working may allow companies to hold onto valuable staff,
  • Flexible working allows companies access to a wider talent pool, including individuals who for whatever reason are excluded from conventional 9 to 5 hours. Companies with an interest in increasing diversity gain recognition for their achievements.
  • Flexible working may help to reduce absenteeism, and also may help to combat stress-related absences.
  • Flexibility may increase employee commitment, and there is evidence to suggest that flexibility boosts productivity.
  • Companies may be more able to extend opening hours due to the wider availability of the workforce.
  • Businesses may save money with the aid of remote/ flexible working, which would allow for resources, including office space and working to be used more efficiently.

What Kinds of Flexible Working Can My Employees Request?

There are many different types of flexible working that your employees can request. It is likely that your business already accommodates at least one of these flexible ways of working:

Job sharing: This usually means two people being employed in the same role and job and splitting the hours.

Working from home: This is when the employee does some (or all) of the work from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work.

Part time: This refers to any arrangement involving working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days).

Compressed hours: This means working full-time hours but over fewer days than normal.

Flexitime: The employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits). Usually, the employee will have previously agreed ‘core hours’.

Annualised hours: The employee is required to undertake a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work.

Staggered hours: The employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers.

Phased retirement: Now that the previous default retirement age has been phased out, older workers have more choice over their employment. This means that they might reduce their hours or work part-time.

What if Flexible Working is Unsuitable For My Business?

There are many forms of flexible working which are suitable for all businesses, regardless of size or turnover. However, if you find that an employee’s request for flexible working is unsuitable for your company, there are many reasons that enable you to deny the request. There include:

There are several reasons why your employer may turn down your request for flexible working. For example:

  • Implementing flexible working request may involve extra costs which would be detrimental to the business
  • Implementing the request would prevent the business to meet customer demand
  • It is not possible for the work to be reorganised among other staff
  • It is not possible for people to be recruited to do the work
  • The requested flexible working arrangements would have an effect on quality and performance
  • There is insufficient work to do during the proposed working times
  • The business is in the process of planning changes to the workforce

How Do I Deal With Requests For Flexible Working?

When you receive a request for flexible working, you should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss your employee’s request.You then must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and inform the employee of your decision.

If you accept your employee’s request for flexible working you must give the employee a new contract. It is worth noting that your employee has the right to appeal if you don’t agree to the request.

Where Do I Go to Get More Information on Implementing Flexible Working?

If you require more information on the changing legislation go to GOV.UK, or ACAS.

Furthermore, you could read advice on how to implement flexible working for SMEs, and tips for implementing remote working.

How Flexible Working Can Protect your Business

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Source: News Shopper

Use Flexible Working to Strike-Proof Your Employees’ Productivity!

After recent news of the threat of London tube strikes, there are fears that further rows could erupt, with the potential to cause maximum disruption and widespread chaos.

A planned three-day strike by London Underground workers in a dispute over ticket office closures was abandoned after last-ditch talks. The breakthrough was made on Monday, resulting in the Rail, Maritime and Transport union succeeding in guaranteeing that all members who are relocated or who have their roles changed will retain the same pay.

But does this mark the end of the dispute? According to some, it is unlikely that this is the end of the matter. Despite negotiations, the threat of disruptive industrial action still looms large.

The possibility of strike action strengthens the case for flexible working. With new technology, employees are more and more able to work remotely, including from their own homes. This, coupled with new statistics on the efficacy of flexible working further questions the relevancy of the traditional office in a digital age.

These recent events (and the upcoming changes to flexible working) show that it is high time for businesses to reassess, and view flexible working as a means of protecting their business from the chaos that would result from transport strikes, while simultaneously building an infrastructure which promotes growth.

Homeworking/remote working refers to work done at home, or outwith the primary office environment. However, remote working may also refer to situations where only part of an employee’s workload is completed outside of the office. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that a degree of remote working could be introduced into the majority of employees’ schedules. For businesses wishing to check up on the productivity of their workers, there are monitoring systems in place and this can reassure employers. There is also much to be said about the cost-effective nature of remote working. In a recent study by Deloitte it was found that 30 to 40 percent of physical working environment are vacant at any given moment on an average business day. Decrease reliance on offices and cut overhead costs unnecessary costs. There is even evidence that allow workers greater flexibility will boost productivity. Finally, increased flexible working could also be beneficial for the environment, in that cutting commuter traffic in busy cities would dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

While no-one can say for sure whether or not the threat of London Tube Strikes has subsided, now certainly seems like a good time for employees to take into account the diverse benefits that remote working can bring.