Tag Archives: career

Work Life Balance- a ‘Radical’ Decision?

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Max Shireson is the CEO of a top Silicon Valley software company. He received considerable media attention last week, after blogging about his ‘radical’ decision to opt for increased work/life balance, leaving his high-power role.

Despite his success in the world of work, the man was dissatisfied at the extent to which his position required him to take a step back from family commitments, and spending time with his three children.
“Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have a meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so,”

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Image via Business Insider

It is reasonable to question why has this case received so much attention, as a newsworthy story? Max Shireson is not the only man to have ever expressed a desire to spend more time with his family. More and more men are seeking jobs flexible enough to enable them to successfully juggle their work with family life. However, it’s rare to see the CEO of a high-profile company prioritising family over work:

“As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO”.

Max Shireson’s story is important, in that it will help to further smash taboos surrounding traditional gender roles, proving that a man’s decision to opt for work/life balance and family commitments is every bit as valid as a woman’s. It will take time to change long-held notions, but gradual change often occurs from the top down, meaning that Shireson’s story may inspire an entire generation of men to rethink the way they work.

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Should We All Just Forget About Work/Life Balance?

Does the quest for a ‘perfect ‘balance’ set us up for failure?

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It’s been hard to ignore the recent debate over the issue of work/life balance. ‘Work/life balance’ previously being viewed as something for all to strive for, has come under fire of late, as a vague buzzword, void of any real meaning. The term was slammed by Kate Hilton in the Huffington Post:  ‘Is there a more over-used and empty phrase in modern life than “work-life balance”? I can’t think of one. Perhaps that’s because I am asked several times a week how I achieve it.’

Others admit that the fabled happy medium is rarely achieved by successfully juggling all areas of life simultaneously, and that placing ‘work/life balance’ on a pedestal only sets us up for unrealistic expectations for our careers and lifestyles. The situation may be even more challenging for working mothers and fathers, who all too often, view a perfect work life balance as a way to cancel out ‘working parent guilt’.

A recent Forbes article by Edmund Ingham told us that entrepreneurs should simply forget about the concept of work life balance altogether: ‘ the curse of it is, the more successful you are, the less downtime you have.’

Even recent graduates are being told that attempting to balance work and life is detrimental to career progression. In this controversial article, the CEO of Backupify Rob May states that in order for graduates to get to the ‘equivalent of the Olympics’ in their career, they must stop trying to master balancing life and work, and instead focus aim to focus their energies on the latter, ‘The rewards in the future will be worth the sacrifices you’re making now” May assures us.

In 21st century employment it appears that work and life are constantly merging closer and closer together. We work from home, we check our emails after clocking off in the evening, and often pick up work from Friday at the weekend.  Now far removed from the 20th century attitudes of our forebears, many of us find ourselves ‘living to work’ rather than the opposite. So is work/life balance a myth? Is it better to cast off the idea as an outdated concept and move on, rather than to continue to strive obsessively for an elusive harmony which continually evades us?

One solution is to stop aiming for a perfect harmony between work and life, instead setting up a system of rough boundaries to limit the crossover between work and life. This might mean refusing to check your email after 7pm, or limiting the amount of time you spend working at the weekends to less than 60 minutes.

Live Well Spokesman Adam Green advocates using the ‘third space’ to improve work/life balance, which he describes as the period of time spent between finishing work at the end of the day and beginning downtime and leisure activities in the evening. He believes that a positive attitude is key to this:

‘Most people tend to dwell on the negative things in their day which can be bad news for your family who have to deal with you when you walk in the door. Try focusing on being positive and what went well in your day, what you achieved and how things will be better tomorrow’

Therefore, when understood as a matter of setting boundaries, work/life balance becomes a more tangible and achievable reality. If you do ‘live to work’ aiming a degree of separation between the two will have a positive effect on both your work and your life.

Getting Hired as Flexible Worker

3 you need to know when hunting for a new role

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This week saw new legislation come into place which allows all workers to request flexible working after a period of 26 weeks of continuous employment. However, there have been serious doubts as to how aware UK employers are about the change. MP Jo Swinson has argued that progress will be slow in countering  the predominant culture of ‘presenteeism’ in the UK workplace which curbs the uptake of flexible working, and limits the prospects of those who are unable to work ‘9 to 5’. For sure, there are still more than a few dinosaur CEOs who shrink from the idea of an agile modern workforce!

We at Flexiworkforce aim to offer a solution to those skilled candidates whose request for flexible working may be turned down by their employer. A specialist job site, you can be sure that every job we advertise offers some form of flexibility to fit around your lifestyle and commitments.

Looking for a new role is exciting but can also feel stressful especially after suffering a knockback or two.  Here are our top tips for getting hired as a flexible worker.

  1.       Be upfront about your availability and needs

If you find a job through Flexiworkforce, you know before the interview that some form of flexibility will be involved in the role. This is a great advantage for people who need or want flexible roles that mainstream jobs sites do not make easily accessible. However, remember make sure that you are upfront about your availability at the interview. It is far easier to make your preferred schedule known sooner rather than later. Employers will appreciate your honest and most will be willing to fit the needs of the right candidate.

  1.       Showcase productivity

It goes without saying that trust is an essential ingredient in flexible working arrangements. When you’re working from home, presenteeism is removed, meaning that your employer can only measure your productivity through results. At the interview, aim to give examples of times when you have worked well in a remote working environment, and give  examples of the results that your your hard work yielded. Instantly, the employer will come to  view you as a driven, self-motivated candidate, more than capable of working unsupervised for periods of time.

  1.      Brush up on  ‘personal branding’

In 21st century recruitment, the job doesn’t go to the best candidate. More often than not the jobs will go to the  candidate with the best online presence. Make sure that your online presence is immaculate, remove unfavourable content from social media, while deleting accounts that you no longer use regularly. Give your LinkedIn profile some love and curate the experience and skills you have acquired over the years.

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The Right to Request Flexible Working- It’s Finally Here!

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The legislation is officially coming into force today, 30th June 2014. Woohoo!

It’s finally here! UK employees now have 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.

But what does this really mean? Here are a few of your top questions answered:

What counts as flexible working?

Many different modes of working can be described as flexible employment. These include:

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.

Does the new flexible working legislation guarantee that I can work flexibly?

No, as there are reasons that your employer can use to turn down your request for flexible. However, in rejecting your request they must provide

For what reasons can my employer turn down my request for flexible working?

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

  • Implementing flexible working may involve extra costs which would be detrimental to the business
  • Flexibility would not allow 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
  • 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

Where should  I go to get more information on flexible working?

If you require more information on these changes go to GOV.UK, or ACAS.

If you’re looking for a new flexible role, sign up to Flexiworkforce today!

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Happy Flexi Day!

 

 

Entrepreneurs- Take Time to Recharge Your Batteries This Summer!

A new report has revealed that third of entrepreneurs are guilty of taking no time off over the summer!

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If you run your own business then more than likely, you’ll be familiar with entrepreneurial burnout- that feeling of exhaustion and overhwelm that seems to creep up after a busy period. Entrepreneurs are only human, meaning that even the most workaholic of CEOs sometimes need a break!

Shockingly, research provided by Sage reveals that last year up to a third of entrepreneurs took no time off for a break over the summer.

Work/life balance is something that more and more of us strive for, and yet, very very entrepreneurs consider themselves to be successful in balancing their business with family life and other commitments. Your business may be your life, but it shouldn’t take over your life!

There are many reasons why you should make time for holidays. Regular breaks from work will give your body and mind a well-deserved rest. A break will provide you with perspective, time to think and time to bond with your family. Going on holiday will allow your to return to your business feeling refreshed and more ready to take on challenging projects. A holiday may even give you time to come up with your next big idea!

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Before you go…

Make sure that you are able to delegate responsibilities before you leave for your holiday, to ensure that your staff have plenty to work on while you are away. Set targets and measure their productivity by what they achieve in your absence.

What about remote working??

At Flexiworkforce, we are fully aware of the benefits that remote working can bring to a business. Having the ability to communicate with anyone in the world at the touch of a button is nothing short of incredible. However, take care not to let your summer holiday turn into an extended business meeting! Check your emails a maximum of once per day, replying only to those that warrant your immediate attention. As for the rest, they can wait! Try to keep Skype meetings to a minimum .

Best Holidays for Entrepreneurs

A Spa Break

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What could be more revitalizing than some true R&R in a beautiful spa environment. This kind of holiday will be beneficial for mind and body, meaning that you will be sure to return to work in a calm and zen-like state! Try new treatments like mud wraps and botanical facials . Embark upon a detox programme and have soothing massages to melt away your entrepreneurial stresses!

The Great Outdoors

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Although the idea of leaving the metropolis might be scary to some city slickers, the countryside offers a unique sense tranquility that will no doubt be beneficial to your frazzled nerves. Life in the country forces us to slow down and enjoy operating at a slower pace. Make your holiday truly unforgettable by trying crazy new extreme sports mountain unicycling or perhaps even zorbing!

European Adventure

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If you’re more of a culture vulture, pack your bags and head to a quaint European city like Prague, or Tallinn. Experiencing new cultures is always great for inspiring new ideas, while allowing you to leave the daily grind of the office. If you like to always be busy, pack in a lot of galleries, exhibitions and museums, and by the time you return to work you will really feel as though you’ve some time away from your everyday life!

Happy Holidays, Entrepreneurs!