Retaining and progressing talented women needs to be a critical part of any agency's strategy. If used well, flexible working can be an important tool to stop women from "opting out". Our top tips:
- Have a flexible working policy and make sure it is well communicated. Be clear that it’s not just available to women returning from maternity leave - making men an equal part of the conversation is an important step to challenging the reality that primary childcare responsibilities still fall disproportionately on women
- Celebrate your flexible working success stories – make sure that senior leaders across the business understand the benefits of flexible working
- Don’t be afraid to proactively suggest flexible working (a conversation about shared solutions is likely to be more successful than waiting for a request which you may not be able to accommodate)
- Remember that flexible working covers more than just part time working (e.g. working from home, flexi-time, compressed hours, term-time working)
- Once a flexible working arrangement has been agreed be clear about the expectations and make sure that it is regularly reviewed with continual feedback on both sides.
Time to flex those working patterns Her sense of relief was palpable. "I feel like I am coming up for air." Yet another senior woman in the industry was sharing with me why she was opting to take time out or, as she put it bluntly, "choose life".