Article by FabafterFifty
For many people caring for ill, injured or disabled relatives, whilst working flexible hours is an absolute necessity. This is because they need all the time available to ensure that the ones they love have all the care needed, but juggling a career with being a carer for family members can be hard work at the best of times.
Until June this year, carers were the only people in work who could make requests for flexible working hours to their employers. However, the government introduced a law change which massively opened up this right to anyone who has worked with the same company for a minimum of 26 weeks – exactly half a year. On the face of it, this could be positive for many carers.
Requesting flexible hours is something many older workers might feel like doing, especially in the event of one of their loved ones falling ill for a considerable period of time, but how is it done? Usually, it can be achieved by either sending a formal letter to an employer asking for flexible hours or by arranging a face-to-face meeting asking for it, but there are a few things to bear in mind, like:
- Showing employers that you can actually work from home – having proof of being able to do tasks by communicating regularly via phone and email and use of time management software can help with that
- Proving that you have a good reason to work from home – this means telling them about your duties as a carer and how your relatives might struggle without your help
- How you can work more effectively if doing so outside regular office hours – in your request, try to highlight how you can do work while others are at home, as it can help with meeting deadlines, for example
Change of perceptions
Aside from having to get the request accepted, people working flexible hours may also have to contend with negative attitudes from sceptical colleagues. There are some workers who look on at those on flexible hours with envy, while others believe those workers to be a little lazy as they might not be working as hard at home as they might do in the office.
As proof of a gradual shift in attitude, a survey by Powwownow, Europe’s leading free conference call provider found that 41% of all workers were willing to submit a request for flexible hours, showing that the new law is popular. However, it also found that workers over the age of 55 were least likely to submit these requests, possibly because a large number of them have flexible hour’s arrangements already in place.