Flexible Working Options

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Even if your children are older, it is still worth asking your employer for a change to your hours. There are lots of different ways to do a job, and you may want to suggest some of the ones below, or read about how other mums have done it:

Annualised hours

An annual number of hours are agreed, and you then work out with your employer when you will work. This could be something like two weeks on, two weeks off, or you may be able to work all your hours in term time.

Compressed hours

You still do the same hours, but over fewer days. This could mean doing four 10 hour days, or perhaps working a nine day fortnight of nine hour days.

Matilda is a civil servant, who currently works a nine day fortnight. She’s tried various different working patterns since she had her children, now five and three. Matilda says, “I went for a nine day fortnight as a way to balance the need to earn money and continue my career with also having a little more time at home. I have to make the most of my day off, as there is never enough time to do everything. I’d always suggest to other parents to ask about flexible working – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Because I have always been allowed hours which suit me, I am open to give back into my job when it’s needed.  But I do think it’s important to stick to your overall hours:  even if everyone else seems to work long hours it doesn’t make it the best or only way”.


This usually means that you work seven and a half or eight hours between seven a.m. and seven p.m. A good arrangement for doing the school run at one end of the day or the other.


Could all or part of your job be done just as effectively from home? You will need to make sure you stay in touch with the office, and may need to attend meetings. Time you take off during the working day may need to be made up in the evening.


This is where you work with a partner, covering a single job, but splitting the days of the week between you. You will need good handovers, perhaps with a time where you are both in the office to discuss what is going on. It can be problematic to find the right job share partner.


This is where you select the hours to work that will suit you, and fit in with the needs of your employer.

Shift working

There are many jobs outside the traditional nine to five. Consider evening and weekend working and you may be able to arrange things so either youoryour partner is always there forthe kids

Staggered hours

Start and finish times can vary for different people in a team, so some finish early, while others start and finish late.

Term-time working

This works well if your company has seasonal demands, and is likely to be quiet during August, Christmas and Easter

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