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Steeple Aston

9-2-3 is a recruitment agency that specialises in placing high quality candidates into jobs with hours that fit in around the school run.



Case studies and thoughts on flexible working today.


Filtering by Tag: networking


Helen Wright


“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:

3 FAB tips for networking by Helen Bryce @ Guilty Mothers Club

Helen Wright

Honestly, networking is not my favourite topic and I find it can be something that falls down my list of priorities as a result. However, undoubtedly some of my most successful career moves and business results have come from building a network of strong relationships.


- A long time ago I read about a 3 second rule when it comes to networking in person and it really works. Basically within 3 seconds of thinking, "I'd like to chat to them" you go and do it. That way you don't have time to convince yourself not to or feel the fear. It has DEFINITELY worked for me in the past and can even work virtually too. If I find someone on IG for example, and think we could collaborate or would like to build my relationship with them, I try and send that DM before I change my mind! 

- Try not to think of it as 'networking'. For me and I know some others, this word itself feels formal and forced and a bit urgh. I think of it more as looking for opportunities where a relationship could be mutually beneficial. That moves it from feeling like I am selling myself or meeting people with an agenda to just being interested in others, starting interesting conversations and finding ways we could both help each other out - much nicer. 

- With the above in mind, when making contact with someone new I tend to find that starting with what you can do for them works better than going straight in with a request or cold intro. It doesn't have to be anything huge, sharing a link to an article you think they'd like, introducing another contact, offering a freebie, even just being honest and saying you really like what they are doing or their brand or whatever.


Check out the Guilty Mothers Club NEW Game Changer Programme online - definitely worth a look!

‘I want to help others to feel supported and inspired and able to make these sorts of decisions that will lead to more happiness and fulfilment. Be that apply for a promotion that is fully deserved or get out of a job that is sucking the fun out of life. 
I want to provide a sort of village so that we can work together to change the game, and I’m really proud of the one that is currently growing all the time. 

That’s my why.’

Next intake starts 28.1.19

When networking women come together!

Helen Wright


Some people may shudder at the thought of networking, I for one used to dread this situation…how do I start a conversation, ask the right questions, do I hand over a business card? 


I can honestly say that the more you do these events, the more confident you’ll become at simply being yourself and ultimately representing your own brand, better than any other tactic you may have going on in your head.


Here at 9-2-3, we have seen many women come together over a cup of tea, share (sometimes very emotional) stories and even come away with the prospect of finding a new career for themselves.


In a day where technology is king, it’s sometimes so nice to actually talk in person to one another about a shared view or topic. 


Here’s a fab article that highlights just how important it is to go out and network, especially when you’re a Mum.


So…what exactly is the 9-2-3 Club?


You may have heard us mention the 9-2-3 Club so here’s a little low down on what it is and how it became what it is today…


The 9-2-3 Club aims to enable women to connect with one another, and be inspired by others who might be able to help further their ambitions. 


We line up a variety of speakers:


  • from those campaigning for more women on boards of big businesses
  • to those who are successfully running their own business 
  • and HR directors working for progressive companies who are looking to recruit flexible talent


Some meetings will take place at the offices of big businesses, which will give members the valuable chance to step back into a workplace environment - and realise it's not scary - it's actually quite exciting!


The big launch!



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.


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 realised there were lots of businesses out there struggling to find the talent they needed to help their business thrive and grow.


The 9-2-3 Club will be holding their next (and possibly biggest) event on the 12th September 2018 where we will be encouraging business leaders, employees and in fact, everyone to work flexibly for one-day #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay. We’re lining up some brilliant speakers and panels so do keep in touch and keep an eye out for more news on our website and social media pages! You can register for a free ticket here or join in online on the 

If you can't make it in person, why not join some of our panel discussions! We'll be providing a link (and times) on the day so that you can view these from your laptop! We'll even be hosting a Facebook Live so that you can ask questions to the panel when the live Q&A happens. Why not join in the conversation and tell us how you're already working flexibly (and all its benefits) and post/ tweet/ comment these using our #LetsAllFlexTogetherDay hashtag, we'd love to hear your opinion and photo's would be GREAT!

Haven't tried flexible working before?

This is your perfect chance to give Flexible Working a go for one day! Let us know about it online if you do!