Flexible Working Case Studies

The School of Computing Science supports a range of flexible working arrangements. The case studies below provide examples of how flexible working works for colleagues in a number of job families.

Gail Reat (Management, Professional and Administrative)

What is your current job role?

Deputy Teaching Administrator.
 
What is your current work pattern?

I consolidated my hours to allow me to take every Friday afternoon off.  

Mon – Tue 08:30 –17:00
Wed – Thu 08:00 – 16:30
Fri 08:30 – 12:00
 
What are your reasons for working flexibly?

The original main reason for asking for this was to be able to help my Dad out with any household or financial issues that required phone calls etc. But, also to give me a better work/life balance. 
 
Can you explain the benefits of working flexibly and the impact on your work-life balance?

Being off on Friday afternoons gives me the chance to either have time for myself or spend time with my husband.  Friday afternoons have become very important to us both as we both have high stress jobs.

I requested a Friday afternoon as this fit in with the other members of the team, caused the least disruption and mostly because meetings tend to take place in the earlier part of the week and this ensured I didn't miss anything.  I am also very flexible if needed and happy to swap hours around to suit any up and coming deadlines.

I currently work from home on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.  I find that this is the perfect balance for me as it allows me to concentrate on more time constrained and complicated tasks that are sometimes not possible to do in a shared office environment.
 
How has the School supported you in adopting your flexible working pattern?

The school has supported me well with this and approved my change in hours with no issues.
 
What advice would you give to somebody who would like to request a more flexible working pattern?
 
My advice to anyone considering requesting a more flexible working pattern is talk to colleagues informally to see what the consensus is before discussing with their line manager.  It is always good to have an idea of any possible impacts your request may have to your overall team colleagues.

Jonathan Grizou (Research & Teaching)

What is your current job role?

Lecturer in Machine Learning on the Research and Teaching track.
 
What is your current work pattern?

I work half-time, Mondays, Wednesdays afternoon, and Fridays.
 
What are your reasons for working flexibly?

I have had a baby recently and we decided to share childcare with my partner before the kid starts nursery. She started working back half-time after her maternity leave so we could even-out the impact on our careers while spending equal time with our child.
 
Can you explain the benefits of working flexibly and the impact on your work-life balance?

After some introspection, I realised spending time with kids before they start school was an important priority for me, as is for my partner. Working half-time allows me to set clear boundaries with myself as academic work can be all consuming, especially as a driven individual. Working half-time helps me winds down on days off, especially in the evenings when I usually kept thinking about work in the background and not be fully present. I now get to spend quality focused time one-to-one with my kid during the week which is priceless to me at this stage of my life.
 
Can you explain any challenges you have experienced in working flexibly?

Setting boundaries is always a challenge when you have your phone in your pocket all day. For me, it is important to keep reminding myself of why I choose to work part-time. I try to do journaling with prompts asking me about work, family, etc. It does help stay confident of my choices. It is also important to communicate with your colleagues clearly about your work pattern and remain flexible, where possible, when important meetings or actions need your attention, which sometimes ask for exception to the rules we set ourselves.
 
How has the School supported you in adopting your flexible working pattern?

The school has been very supportive. I was able to set my working days, so they work best for my role and align with my partner's constraints. I also teach a 3-week intensive course over the summer, and we agreed on adapting my work pattern around those weeks accordingly. I feel supported in my choice and trusted in my ability to deliver under this new work pattern.
 
What advice would you give to somebody who would like to request a more flexible working pattern?
 
Take some time to write down your priorities and identify potential impacts (salary implication, project you will stop or not have time to start, etc). It can be good to discuss this with friends first and collect their feedback. If possible, ask to do a trial for one week to see if it works for you, your role, your colleagues, and the school. Everyone involved wants you to do and feel well and expressing your needs is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you have flexibility, the choice of your working time/day can help minimise the impact on your projects. The mind does process information and solves problems in the background, in an unconscious manner, while you do other type of activities (e.g., care for others). Could you take advantage of this when setting your new work schedule?

Helen Border (Management, Professional and Administrative)

What is your current job role?

GTA/HR Administrator
 
What is your current work pattern?

  • Monday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday 8 a.m. 5.30 p.m.
  • Wednesday 8.30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Thursday 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.
  • Friday 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.

I am just about to change the flexibility to in August:

  • Monday 7.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
  • Tuesday 7.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
  • Off Wednesday
  • Thursday 8.a.m. - 5 p.m. with 30 minutes for lunch Friday 8a.m. - 5 p.m.


What are your reasons for working flexibly?

The reason for my flexible working is to help my daughters with my grandchildren especially my youngest who is expecting her 3rd baby. I will be watching her children on a Wednesday.
 
Can you explain the benefits of working flexibly and the impact on your work-life balance?

The benefits is that it gives me life balance and time with my grandchildren and children which makes me a happier person.

Getting up earlier has been a bit of a challenge but I have conquered this now.

How has the School supported you in adopting your flexible working pattern?

The school has been excellent and Morag has been so supportive.
 
What advice would you give to somebody who would like to request a more flexible working pattern?

The advice I would give is speak with your manager explain why you would like flexible working and how it would benefit both you and the University. One of the benefits of being in early is you can work through your emails with no interruptions and helps you prioritise other work easier.