Flexible working is a right all employees are eligible for once they have completed at least 26 weeks continuous employment. Once this criteria is met, any employee (not just those returning from maternity leave) can make a flexible working request, but only one request can be made in any 12 month period.
It is therefore disappointing to read that a survey undertaken by flexible working experts 'Timewise' has concluded that two-thirds of part-time workers feel isolated and struggle to make professional connections.
In an age where technology and communications are far more advanced than they have ever been, it is not surprising to see that large companies such as Lloyd's Banking Group and EY have taken positive steps to increase the number of roles with agile working arrangements, but how do SME's successfully accommodate these arrangements?
The practical challenges will continue to be difficult to manage, but I would urge all businesses to look at their business structure's internally and consider what, if any changes they can make.
Timewise is calling on businesses to do more to harness the potential of their part-time employees by taking a more proactive approach. The organisation is launching the PowerFlex Network - the UK's first cross-business network to support middle and senior management part-time and flexible workers. It plans to offer networking opportunities, speakers and training, in order to help those working part-time and flexibly who are currently missing out on the opportunities that their full-time colleagues take for granted.