I came across the #flexappeal when I began following Mother Pukka on Instagram. Reading the founder, Anna Whitehouse’s goal to encourage employers to use flexible working hours for their employees struck a chord with me. Previously, before having my child in 2011, I worked as a full time Primary Teacher. Although it was a job that commanded a lot of my time, I simply loved it and believed it was a career I would always want to do.
Roll on 2013, a year since returning from maternity leave and I found myself hating my job, not because of what I was doing on daily basis but the amount of time I was having to spend away from my son who I had put into nursery 4 days a week.
I eventually decided to leave a job I had been doing for almost 10 years because I could no longer commit to the hours spent marking late at school, at home and planning over the weekends. Luckily, Supply Teaching became my lifeline, it offered a way out of an endless battle of dividing my time between work and my family.
Mother Pukka does Flex Appeal
Anna Whitehouse (aka Mother Pukka) created the Flex Appeal campaign through similar circumstances. Being charged a late fee and chastised for collecting her child late from Nursery one evening, she took matters into her own hands. The birth of Flex Appeal was just the start.
She realised that it wasn’t so much the circumstance that failed her but instead it was a work system that was flawed. A system that seemed to demonise employees that had other responsibilities outside the workplace.
The Flex Appeal for flexible working campaign isn’t just for parents. It’s for anyone who would need flexible working hours due to a number of reasons. This could be health issues, a disability or being a carer for someone else. It’s a campaign which is promoting a need for change, change in the way we work to ensure both employer and employee are happy.
A happy employee is a healthy employee and one that will do their upmost to fulfil the duties that their job requires. Flex Appeal campaign aims to educate and inform UK employers of the benefits of enabling their employees to work suitable hours.
Nowadays, most people need a laptop and internet connection to do their jobs so location also plays a factor when discussing flexible working for employees. Connecting remotely from home to the office could mean a world of difference to the work-life balance of an individual.
Flexible working and job satisfaction
A survey carried out by McDonalds showed that out of 4,000 respondents, 70% had a desire to work flexible hours. 65% stated that working flexible hours would increase their well-being and their job satisfaction. Unfortunately, only a third believed their employer would be in favour of flexible working.
Flexible working is also something that could benefit people with a disability who are able to work. There are 11 million people classed as disabled in the UK. When it comes to working there’s a 30% difference between disabled and non-disabled people gaining employment.
When it comes to equal opportunites, adapting working hours to suit individuals is a must.
Anna Whitehouse believes that flexible working shouldn’t be a ‘nice extra if it’s possible.’ It’s time for companies to change and adapt to the way they expect their employees to fulfill their duties.
She’s campaigning for change in the way employers think about job employment for their employees. She’s serious about spreading the message far and wide. So far Flex Appeal for Flexible working Flash Mobs have occurred, a collaboration with McDonalds and an appearance on TEDx talks.
Spending long hours in the office or wherever your place of work is doesn’t prove your output is more. Hours that suit you means you’ll be more productive and motivated to get the job done. Consequently, the high quality work you put out is exactly what is expected of you. Therefore, Flexible Working is a win, win.
Employers who support work flexibility
More findings from the McDonald’s survey showed that 61% of people considered ‘good jobs’ to be those that offered flexible working. There are companies that already adopt a flexible working ethos here in the UK. They realise to get the best candidates for the job they have to provide flexible working opportunities.
Spread Awareness of the Flex Appeal movement!
What can you do to help spread the message? Share this story and the #flexappeal on your social media pages to spread awareness. Ask questions on your pages to open discussion for better working hours for all. Follow Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka on their social media pages for updates on this campaign.
Sign this petition here to get this heard by those in the House of Commons. Making progress to bring about this change to make Flex Appeal for flexible working available for all.
On the government website for Department for Business, there is a survey to complete. It’s an opportunity for you to put your views across regarding working hours transparency and family leave and pay. The survey also covers questions on job advertisements pay and closing the pay gender gap. You only have until October 11th to complete and it only takes a few minutes.