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Flexi-time – are you working it out?

Flexible working is a buzzy phrase, but seriously - how many of us actually live the dream? Read on to find out how it could work for you.

We seek it here, we seek it there, but a decent work life balance still seems to elude most of us. I feel my life is wound up so tight that it could snap at any minute – I live a to-the-minute schedule of school pick-ups, copy deadlines, weekend child-ferrying, late night food shopping dashes and panicky fast cycle washing loads.

And yet, I’m sure I have it easier than many women, because at least I manage my own diary and can work around family life when I need to.

From left: Me; Hilary Spencer, Director of the Government Equalities Office; Roger Whiteside, CEO at Greggs; and Fiona Dawson, Global President, Food, Drinks, and Multisales at Mars Food

The whole area of wellbeing and work has never been so important, which is why I was so interested to speak at a new government equalities initiative by The Women’s Business Council. Yesterday it launched  #100waystoworkflexibly at Freud’s PR– a project whose aim is to prevent women opting out of promotion or returning to work and also help men share caring and domestic responsibilities to support women. Amen to that!

Banksy, Yves Klein, Warhol and Hirst. Not a bad collection for the Freud’s reception!

It was all pretty high flying stuff at the launch – I felt a bit like a child who’s sneaked into an adult dinner party. You’ll get what I mean when I tell you who else was on the panel! There was Hilary Spencer, Director of the Government Equalities Office; Fiona Dawson, Global President, Food, Drinks, and Multisales at Mars Food and Roger Whiteside CEO Greggs. And before we went up to the stage, I found sitting next to Baroness Williams, Minister of State for Equalities, but hadn’t clocked who she was so was busy slapping on last minute lippy and chatting to her about fake tan (she’s a fan btw). Only when she stepped up to the lectern and I saw her ministerial red box file next to me (look how close, so tempted to take a peek) did I realise it was her. Oops!

Plus Dame Cilla Snowball (above) introduced the event as outgoing Chair of The Women’s Business Council – what an amazing trailblazer she’s been – the former Group Chairman and chief exec of one of AMV BBDO one of the UK’s most successful ad agencies and real advocate of women in senior positions.

Are you getting the picture here?!

So anyway, we had a panel discussion about things like…. how small businesses are often better than big corporates at being more flexible (we’re super flexi on Muddy, I can’t make it work any other way!); why the culture of working longer, harder, later isn’t sustainable any more; about why flexible working needs to be normalised for both women and men; but also why an idea that sounds so good in principle is still taking so long to flippin’ happen for so many.

Now that I’ve slept on it all, I’ve woken up wondering how you feel about your work-life balance? Do you think a more fluid approach to your work timetable would help you be more productive and happier at home?

I’m super-interested  to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment below and do take the Muddy anonymous flexi-work poll on whether you think your company actually delivers on flexible working  – it’s a yes or no so will take you, oooh, about 2 seconds PLUS I’m going to deliver your verdict back to the government so it’s worth doing!

In the meantime if you want some flexi inspo, check out these #100waystoworkflexibly case studies and also Muddy’s testimonial. We can make this happen!!

Find more ideas here

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