The end of 9 to 5...

I’ve been to Westminster this week and called for a revolution! I want to see a revolution in the work place, and an end of the 9 to 5.

While launching The 9-2-3 Club at The House of Commons I called on all businesses to advertise their next hire as a flexible one, and called on all candidates to ask about flexible working arrangements in their next interview – not a demand, just a question.

Of course 9-2-3 only works on roles with flexible working arrangements. We believe that flexible working leads to increased productivity, fewer sick days, greater staff retention – and a more motivated and engaged work force. And flexible working needn't mean part-time hours, for some it means working full-time but with compressed hours or home-working. Flexible working is for everyone.

The 9-2-3 Club is all about giving individuals the opportunity to get together and share experiences in an informal setting, and for those who have had a career break, hopefully enable them to gain in confidence before re-entering the workplace. We have more meetings planned in London and the Thames Valley and some really inspirational speakers lined up (keep an eye on for all the details).

While at Westminster I also revealed the findings of a new survey commissioned by 9-2-3. It found the British workplace landscape will be changing substantially over the next 5 years as nearly 3 out of 4 (73%) office workers envisage that working flexibly will become the norm.

Flexible working is here to stay. Let’s start taking action to help it here faster!

As anyone who’s spoken to me will know – I’m passionate about flexible working, and I was thrilled with the support The 9-2-3 Club had at its launch. Representatives from businesses – big and small – along with candidates (those who have had career breaks and those who haven’t) plus others, such as Digital Mums, who like me, are campaigning for a more flexible workplace. The launch wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Victoria Prentis MP, who sponsored the event. She said:  “Having job shared before I became a MP, I am really supportive of any initiative that encourages flexibility in the workplace. It is not just mums and dads who have career breaks – increasingly we are seeing people taking on caring responsibilities for elderly relatives as well. Helping these talented professionals to continue to work is so important.”

I was also delighted that Margot James MP (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility) came along and spoke passionately about the benefits of flexible working – for both employees, employers and society as a whole.

It’s funny to think that all this started a few years ago, while I was pushing my children on the swings at my local playground. I had been struggling to find any flexible or part-time work, and I looked around and saw I wasn’t alone. The playground was full of talented and experienced professionals all looking for flexible opportunities. And at the same time I realized there were lots of businesses out there struggling to find the talent they needed to help their business thrive and grow.

9-2-3 now has more than a thousand candidates on their books, and we look forward to welcoming many more. Companies of all sizes are also being invited to take part in The 9-2-3 Club, and join in the revolution!