Case studies and thoughts on flexible working today.
Filtering by Tag: flexible working benefits
“Job experience and design” - it might not be a term that you are currently familiar with, but this driving force behind flexible working will soon be hitting headlines everywhere. In simple terms it means embracing technology and re-appraising working hours to create a bespoke job experience that suits a person’s individual lifestyle no matter if they’re a flexible worker, freelancer or a small business owner.
Over the last 20 years digital has disrupted industries including retail, hospitality, transport and entertainment, creating a completely new way of how we interact with brands. Just think about Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Spotify and how these brands now seamlessly fit into your life and deliver a dynamic experience.
To facilitate this, a whole swathe of new roles have been created including user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) designers. These “experience designers” are working away behind the scenes to cleverly orchestrate the way that we use an app, website or interact with a brand at every single touch point. They are the architects who make our interactions with tech enjoyable, fulfilling and productive.
Now let’s turn our attention to the workforce. Tech is also creating a revolution in the way that we work. We now have access to instant messengers, video calls, email and shared drives. Remote working has never been more viable – it’s cost effective for businesses and beneficial for the workforce. It’s proven to save money and lift morale. Business owners are finally embracing flexible working (which encompasses compressed hours, part-time hours, split hours and remote working) and they are reaping the rewards.
As we move into 2019 and beyond, we will really see the rise of Job Experience and Design (JX&D). Forward-looking companies will continue to embrace flexible working, and hire job designers who will really drive change from the ground up. They will create a whole new way of running a workforce. If businesses are slow to do this, then the workforce will simply go out and create their own opportunities: freelancing, starting a small business or taking on contract roles (or a blend of all three) becoming an architect of their own career.
However, this is a journey where we all need support. Driving change before it’s the norm is a brave thing to do, and we all need to stay connected to other people who are just like us to give ourselves the best chance of success.
That is why I started The Flex Network in 2018. I wanted to support people who want to break out of the traditional way of working, and who are passionate about creating a different design of career for themselves. Flexible working, freelancing or owning a small business can easily lead to isolation, imposter syndrome or feeling flat and I wanted to stoke the fires of all the talented men and women who are embracing a new way of finding work that works. Networking, and curating my own tribe, as well as tapping into other networks totally transformed my experience of working from home, my confidence, and the way that I viewed how I might approach my own job experience, and how I might design a new career to fit in with my own personal circumstances.
Find your tribe both online and in person:
Find local networking groups that are embracing a new way of meeting people who are just like you. Check out Space at 61, Takes a Village and Parents In Business and Six Simple Steps here for London-based events, but there are so many going on nationwide.
Follow flexible working advocates on social media. You can follow The Flex Network on Instagram and Twitter. Mother Pukka flies the flag for flexible working and works with high-profile businesses to drive change.
Slack can be used as a virtual co-working space to make you feel connected to other people doing the freelance/flexible working/ small business hustle. Join The Flex Network’s channel here.
Stay informed about the latest updates in flexible working, freelance, and digital news. Join The Flex Network’s weekly newsletter for the latest in Job Experience and Design, social media updates and marketing innovations, straight to your inbox every Friday.
Not only do we love the name of Laura’s business, but we’ve been following her page on Instagram for a while now and love the content she pops out on there.
Take a read of the blog she’s written for our #25dayflexup about how she makes ‘working from home’ work for her.
I’m a freelance publicist and from Monday to Friday, you can find me working from my kitchen table. Before we moved from London up to Leicestershire, I worked 3 days a week based at a gallery whilst juggling my publicity business and my young daughter. After the move, and when my daughter started school, I went freelance full time, but not on full time hours. I work 9am to 3pm most days so that I can still be available for school pick-ups and after school activities.
I’m more efficient and motivated working from my home then when I was based in an office. Here are my rules for how I make working from home work for me:
Have a routine. This is vital not only for you but also for your clients and colleagues. After I drop my daughter off at school, I head home and straight into the kitchen where before we left for school, I have cleared away the breakfast detritus and put my laptop and notebook out. When I walk through the door I can get into ‘work mode’ and not first have to clear away things or put washing out. I’m focused for the next hour on catching up with emails and looking through my ‘to do’ list which I write the evening before.
Get your tech ready. Make sure that you access to decent broadband and phone signal. When we moved there wasn’t any superfast broadband and it made me less efficient. I changed phone suppliers as one provider had better signal than the one I was using. Sign up to Skype as well.
Get a ‘work chair. ’ I work from my kitchen table and not from a study because my kitchen is the warmest room in the house during the winter and the coldest in the summer. I was using a normal kitchen table IKEA chair until I started getting really bad backache. It didn’t occur to me (I know I know) that I wasn’t getting the correct lumber support for working at a computer. Last year, I treated myself to a proper, swingy, cushioned chair. It’s amazing and when I sit down, it helps get me focused on the workday ahead.
Set out clear working hours – I work for myself but I tell my clients that they can reach me between 9am to 3pm.
Give yourself a break. I use an app to record the hours that I work per client. I also have tea breaks during the day and try and get away from the laptop for 30 minutes for lunch. It really does make a difference.
Tell people that you work from home – it is amazing how many calls I used to get from family and friends who didn’t really understand that although I was at home, I wasn’t available for a long chat or a quick cuppa. I used to screen calls and I still ignore ‘group chats’ whilst I’m working. It’s harsh but otherwise I would end up working longer hours to make up time. Which wasn’t what I wanted.
Use social media – there are so many brilliant accounts that offer advice for staying motivated when working from home. It can get lonely at times and I do miss the camaraderie of the office.
Get out – every Wednesday morning I take myself to a local café, garden centre or National Trust property to have breakfast. I don’t take my laptop, but I have my phone so that I can answer any urgent emails. Instead I take my notebook and run through the week so far. This is also my brainstorming time for new projects or posts for my blog. Sometimes I meet with a friend as well, I find that the time is never wasted and I often do my best work on a Wednesday afternoon as a result.
Put the laptop and notebook away each day. I endeavor to do this, I’m not perfect but I do find removing it from the kitchen allows me to switch off and focus on our home life.
Write a quick list at the end of each day to highlight everything you need to do the next morning. Without regular progress meetings (that I used to have when office based), it is easy to get bogged down with the minutiae of certain tasks and thus is a good way to keep on track.
Working from home does have many benefits but it is important to also get a balance between work life and home life. This has taken me years and I’m still a work in progress!