compressed hours

#northernflex - shouting about the love of flex up North with.....

Danielle Ayres - Senior Associate Solicitor at Gorvins, Manchester


1. Tell us a little about you?

I was born and bred, and still live, in Manchester. I am an employment solicitor, specialising in pregnancy and maternity discrimination cases. I work 4 days a week as I am also a mum to 2 young boys. My husband and I “share the load” in respect of School drop-offs and pick-ups.

2. Your fave spot in Manchester?

I recently had the opportunity of doing the Bee in the City trail with my sons. It allowed us to see so much of the amazing City we live in, and visit lots of the lovely buildings. We got to go in Manchester Cathedral and didn’t realise what a gorgeous building it was until then - despite living here all my life.

3. How would you describe your ideal working week?

Would be to finish on a Friday not having to worry about how much I had to do the next week, in terms of workloads and distributing that amongst my working days and also the worry of juggling the kids drop-offs, getting into work on time, finishing jobs off at work to then have to leave and pick kids up from after school club.

4. Fave Manchester inspired music?

Not necessarily Mancunian but I am, and have always been, a massive Take That fan, so anything by them (some of them coming from Manchester) would be my preference.

5. Why does flexible working appeal to you?

It allows me to have a work-life balance. It means that I can continue to do a job I love but not have to miss out on dropping my children off at school, picking them up and being there for carol concerts, assemblies and parents evenings and spending time with them during the summer holidays.

#dadsflextoo - A blog by Greg



Written by Greg, dad to two, husband to one...doing the best he can!

I spent last weekend with my family, enjoying the weather ( a lot) and the cut and thrust of Chessington World of Adventures (a lot less...). This weekend, however, I am working late shifts both days and will be home from work long after my two young children have gone to bed. And so it goes with shift work…


When most people hear that I work 6 on, 3 off shifts, they normally comment on working six consecutive days. Usually, it goes something like this:  “You work SIX days per week?! I couldn’t do that.” But it doesn’t take long for people to soften their view. As a result of my shift pattern, I work fewer days per year than someone on a more ‘standard’ Monday to Friday pattern and my leave goes further too. These two revelations get people’s attention but there are other benefits too… 


I’m sitting on my sofa, it’s a Thursday, and in addition to shoehorning in a bit of NETFLIX I have done half the school run, taken my son to his swimming lesson, enjoyed a meal out with my family, helped with homework, read a bedtime story, put the bins out and worked a 7.5 hour shift. Oh, and cobbled together this badly written diatribe... A good example of how you can make shift, and work well. 


I have had a number of jobs over my relatively short working life most of which have maintained what you would call normal business hours, apart from the odd temp job in retail-there is definitely therapy in stacking shelves.


You know when the best time to do almost anything is? On weekdays. Everything is a touch less crowded, which makes the shops nicer, the roads quieter and taking my daughter to the park a little bit more peaceful (sometimes). Admittedly I quite like spending time by myself and also seek quieter environments with my family so perhaps I am a little biased but I find I spend less time in competition with others for space, or jostling for my place in the queue... 


I don’t know how people get to the doctor or dentist or get their car serviced etc when at work during the traditional work pattern, I find an awful lot more flexibility in my work rhythm despite essentially being contracted to the same number of hours a week. These more mundane tasks tend to be far easier to sort with my current regime.


If there is a downside, perhaps sleep patterns are one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I get enough sleep, but the timing can change depending on work. Some people probably benefit from greater routine on that front. Also, the rest of the world arranges many things for the weekend (obviously) which means I can regularly miss them unless I deem them vital enough to take annual leave... 


Work-life balance. I will finish with this as this is what most people strive to achieve when it comes to their lives. I certainly have it and consider myself very lucky as a result and get this, it certainly doesn’t involve a 9-5.


So what is flexible working anyway?

You’ve most likely heard the term a million times, especially of late, but some of you may be wondering what it means to work in a flexible role.

It’s our speciality, we recruit for roles that support this way of working and won’t accept anything less for our candidates, so we’ve seen a variety of methods offered by companies to help supply the work/life balance and flexibility modern working families require.


Flexible is the future!


We have a large pool of talented parents, men included, that absolutely need this way of working. Most feel that they’re unable to work due to the inflexibility most roles offer - add this to the growing number of employers we speak to who are in need of finding talented individuals and what’s the solution….Flexible working!


9-2-3 helps businesses tap into this pool of talent. Our candidates are motivated, driven, keen – they WANT to be in the workplace. Research by Workplace Flexibility shows that flexible workers are more engaged – they also have fewer sick days, there’s greater staff retention and increased productivity! The climate is right for 9-2-3!


So what is it?


So we’ve established – I hope – that flexible working is a good thing. Good for both employees and employers. But what is it? It’s not just part-time hours… 


Here we list some of the most popular ways of flexible working:




  • Working from home / Remote working is one of the most popular and productive ways of working flexibly - it avoids the commute to and from the office, better using this time to work. Many employers will offer this one or two days of the working week which allows time for the all-important nativity or sports day and means you can fulfil your working duties at times that suit you and your family.


  • Flexible hours - It can mean so many things! We speak to businesses who have core offices hours and allow employees to flex at either end of the day. It can even mean that you can do the school run back and forth each day, working in-between these hours and perhaps working additional hours in the evening - making that juggle a little easier.


  • Compressed hours – If you don’t mind working long days, then this could be the perfect arrangement for you, working all your contracted hours in fewer days. For example, fulfilling full-time hours over 4 days. Some companies are even offering Annualised hours which can really help with the school holiday juggle – allowing employees to work all their hours in term time.


  • Job sharing - It makes so much sense when you think about it! The business essentially needs a person to do a full-time role, yet they’re unable to fulfil this due to the inflexibility of the hours. So how about hiring two people to share the job? Two brains and two lots of experience in one role. The salary is divided, as well as the hours and we’re seeing this method rise in popularity. If you’re coming along to our NatWest Markets day on June 27th you’ll see this for yourself as we’re lucky enough to have two senior NatWest Markets employees join us to tell us how they make this work. (Why not come and join us for the morning – we still have some tickets left: )


So the workplace is changing…


It’s not just about mums wanting to have flexible working arrangements. It’s about dads wanting to do a weekly school run. It’s about those who have caring responsibilities for elderly/sick parents. It’s about those wanting to fit in a bit more exercise or healthy cooking or general life! Younger “millennials” are increasingly looking at 9-5 desk jobs as old-fashioned…and we can totally see why.


Flexible working is for everyone.


We’ve explained the most popular ways of flexible working, however, there are so many other ways that this can be implemented within a business, as showcased by insurance giant Aetna…




Aetna is a company that uses flexible workspaces to boost its bottom line…


  • 35,000 employees
  • 14,500 do not have a desk 
  • 2,000 employees work from home a few days a week
  • 47% of the company’s workforce uses flexible workspaces.


Thanks to these policies, the company has been able to get rid of 2.7 million square feet of office space, giving the company savings of about $78 million per year (once you add utilities, housekeeping, mail service and document shredding). Not to mention a reduced carbon footprint.


Amazing stuff and I feel that it’s only getting better!


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