The PeopleAlchemist Edit: change & transformation, business & lifestyle experimentation for TheWomanAlchemist
What does flexible working really mean? Or the rise of the fake flex?
Campaigner for Flex Appeal Anna Whitehouse first popularised the term “fake-flex.”
WHAT IS FAKE-FLEX?
It is the illusion of flexible working arrangements, meaning working from home, with the expectation, explicit or implicit, that employees are to be “always-on” and available at irregular times.
Pre-pandemic, the landscape of the working world was changing, but progress was frustratingly slow and full of debates. Many industries were still operating pre-pandemic in a very rigid and old fashioned way with many restrictions.
But last year, the world of work had to change just to survive. In fact, change was the only constant and invariable during 2020 and so far in 2021.
Working from home and flexibly became actually necessary for the survival of businesses. The old stigma of working from home had to give way to necessity. The physical restrictions during lockdown/s moved work online in places where before the thought of fully flexible working was unthinkable.
As we plan for the future of work and create a new post-pandemic normal, we need to prevent the rise of the fake-flex from happening. Or normalising. And there is a particular danger if employers keep on focusing for the majority on where people will work in the push to return to an office-based environment. Rather than how or what they will be doing.
Fake-flex could lead to parents and carers (who statistically happen to be women in the main) been disadvantaged and missing out on the benefits that true flexibility/flexible working brings.
WHAT IS REAL FLEXIBLE WORKING
Real flexible working includes working hours and working patterns alike, location, contract type and type of work. It is not just about remote working, and it offers broad flexibility that benefits both employers and employees.
According to the Government Equality office, flexible working can help address an organisation’s gender pay gap by enabling women to reconcile work and caring responsibilities and remaining in work/staying in roles that reflect their skills, potentially reducing the gender pay gap.
Moreover, it can help to create a more inclusive workplace culture in the future for the many and not just the few.
I’ve been talking about the “new normal” for quite some time now (even without the pandemic on the scene). This feels a bit like groundhog day.
What about you? How is flexible working/flexibility working for you? Or perhaps, not working?
Please do share, it’s good to talk.
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