Let’s Talk About Flex, Baby: Flex Appeal and #BeBoldForChange

Let’s Talk About Flex, Baby: Flex Appeal and #BeBoldForChange

This International Women’s Day we join voices across the country and world, including many of our clients and customers, in the combined quest to forge a more inclusive and more gender equal working world.

Our people related focus on the Future of Law blog this month continues our examination of flexible working in the legal industry. This is not a new phenomena - we profiled innovative firm Halebury back in 2014 when the right to request flexible working became widespread* - but one that is an important part of the puzzle to crack if we are to succeed in a more inclusive and gender equal working world. We talk a lot about law firms, but today we are talking about you, the individual, the employee, the person, the human, which is why we approached law student turned copywriter turned campaigner Anna Whitehouse about her Flex Appeal campaign.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working is allowing employees greater choice over when and where they work.

“Flexible working doesn’t mean working less or slacking off, it means finding hours that suit your life and how you best work. If that happens to be sitting below strip lighting, so be it. But if you’re most productive working from bed/a park/the local library, employers should have the imagination to allow that to happen. And it’s not just an issue for parents, either…It’s one of the few issues that both the unionists of the TUC and the employers at the CBI agree on: flexible working is better for staff, and it’s better for profits.”

Anna Whitehouse, Flex Appeal

It doesn't have to involve working from home although often the desire for flexibility comes from spending too much time commuting and the emphasis employers place on presenteeism.

"In most roles that involve sitting at a desk (and that’s a good 80% of them in the UK), it makes no odds whether you write your report at 6am, lunchtime, or midnight. And even in those desk jobs that demand rapid responses, it rarely makes any difference whether you send that response from your sofa, or perched in front of your assigned piece of laminated MDF. But it can make a lot of difference to you."

Only a 'women's issue' though?

It is a fundamental misunderstanding that ‘flexible working’ is a women’s issue. It is not. In 2016 fo

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