ViewPoint: Careers Advisers – Are We Ready for the New Normal?
August 26, 2020

By Sarfraz Ahmed, Careers Advisors, Leicester College

Since March 2020, the vast majority of career services, and providers such as schools, colleges and universities transferred all their services to providing a service remotely.

© Sarfraz Ahmed, August 2020 - Member of the Careers Writers Association

For our own health and safety, the vast majority of us worked from home.

Through the combination use of:

  • Telephone Guidance
  • Video Chat
  • Live Streams
  • E-guidance
  • Social Media

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, all of us have had to rethink the way we work and engage with our customers, Although this has meant a shift in the way that we engage with our customers, it has been a positive in the sense that many of us have had to embrace technology such as using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, using Streamyard for Live Streams.

Personally, whilst in lockdown, I’ve had the opportunity to record my first podcast and been a guest on local radio in Leicester and nationally as well. Telephone guidance has been successful for providing advice especially to support Educational, Healthcare Plans (EHCP) reviews, and has allowed the College Careers Team to effectively support the work of Additional Support Managers to effectively provide progression for students from their current course.

Live streaming has taken Careers Advisers and placed them in front of a ‘live’ audience albeit through a variety of social media platforms. This has for many taken away from the traditional method of delivery and has taken them out of their comfort zones. Live streaming can be daunting, as not only are you seeing yourself on a screen for the first time, but your advice and the way that you give that advice is immortalised online, and available on a variety of platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube. Live stream content can be readily accessed time and time again, locally, nationally and internationally, as with any careers activity, preparation and practise is essential something that is crucial for a success live stream.

Another activity that careers advisers have engaged in is blogging, whether its physically writing articles or ‘blogs’ or creating ‘video blogs’ or podcasts. I personally find these a fun way to engage with an audience, and often practitioners point of view will provide real life context that may support an academic piece of research. Lockdown and working from home has given rise to engaging in webinars, within a week I could be engaging in at least four or five webinars a week. These were provided by universities, colleges, careers publications and websites.

I particular found the webinars from Youth Employment UK, Career Pilot, Amazing Apprenticeships, DMH Associates and EMSI particular useful and informative. Engaging with other professionals can make you feel that you are part of wider collective, especially we are all in the ‘same boat’, and a lot of the issues and concerns we had were similar. Often these webinars led to further debate and discussion on sites such as LinkedIn, as shared our thoughts, articles and findings and collectively we supported each other online.

Now three months on, the ideas of going back to work in the office can appear to be a very daunting thought to say the least

Talking to career professionals there are many areas of concern. First and foremost safety and protection for both themselves and those that they serve, whether or the use of screens and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and hand sanitisers will be enough to adequate protection. Will social distancing be feasible within a careers setting such as in interview rooms and in offices where we provide 1:1 careers guidance, interview rooms will have to ventilated and not crowded and be able to provide adequate protection, this includes spaces such as classrooms and group work settings. Large assemblies and events will have to take account health and safety issues and in many cases will have to be re-thought.

There clearly needs to be a more flexible approach to working, as the last few months have shown that many career services can be run successfully remotely. This could include a more staggered return to the office allowing some staff to work from home, so that staff is not in the office at the same time, ensuring that social distancing guidelines are met.

In the past few months many of us have embraced technology, especially the use of Microsoft Teams to have meetings with colleagues, to contact students, to conduct video interviews, and deliver group work sessions online. This shift for many has been challenging and a huge learning curve as prior to the lockdown very few of us used Microsoft Teams or any other similar technology.

I feel a ‘blended approach’ is crucial for a safe return to going back to work, although working from home can still be maintained to a certain extent. Travelling to and from work and to other venues are also issues for many career advisers as safety could be also be an issue on public transport. For those working in schools, colleges and universities, there is still a concern of potential risk of having large number people gathered in one place and how this will be managed and maintained.

The recent upsurge of interest in career guidance as well as the government’s commitment has meant that the government will be looking to increase the number of advisers to help address issues of unemployment and misplacement as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As such we do not know how this will be tackled and indeed if there enough advisers to meet the demand, we will have to wait and see.

Many careers professionals have been concerned about the level of pay and its inconsistency across the board. Career advisers in schools and colleges are yet to be paid a wage that is reflects their level 6 minimum level of qualification, (equivalent to degree Level) and many have additional postgraduate qualifications and higher as well as the constant research and training necessary to keep up to date, especially in times of change, this has been evident in the recent pandemic crisis.

In recent times due a shift in policy which has led to a downsizing of services such as Connexions, meant many Careers Advisers have had to refocus and retrain and as such the profession has lost a lot of talented and dedicated advisers, through a barrage of pay cuts, redundancies and a loss of opportunity to progress in their own careers. Clearly these underlying issues will still need to be addressed if the is a demand for careers advisers in the future.

Why careers guidance is more important than ever

Interesting enough Sir John Holman’s recent blog entitled “Why careers guidance is more important than ever”, published on the Association of Colleges (AoC) website (10 July 2020), highlighting the need for good careers guidance, especially in the current climate.

He also emphasised that careers guidance needs to be a priority in schools and colleges, and that careers guidance needs to be taken seriously and that commitment needs to come from the top through Career Leads, ensuring that “careers is being embedded across the curriculum”.

He felt that “Colleges are critical for protecting those vulnerable students in their community who have most to lose as the jobs market goes through turbulent change. As job opportunities disappear, new ones will appear, and good career guidance can steer students towards them.

Recent governments guidelines in terms of the Gatsby Benchmarks (2014), and the Careers Strategy (2017), will still have to be adhered to, however Careers Services and Advisers may need to rethink the way there guidance is delivered in a post Covid world.

As careers resources may need to be adapted traditional guidance techniques for a new generation, using new technology to deliver to groups, and to perhaps adopt a more ‘blended’ approach, through the use of live streams, and uploading content onto readily accessible platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube.

In preparing for the new normal, our services and our practises will need to be flexible and adapts to ensure that we operate in a safe environment that helps to meet the needs of our customers more than ever.

Outcome Stars: A Tool for Measuring Wellbeing
March 24, 2020

By Anna Good, Research Analyst at Triangle, the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Stars.

The Outcomes Stars are a family of evidence-based, sector-wide and person-centred tools for frontline services, available under licence and with training.  

Outcomes Stars are evidence-based tools designed to support positive change and greater wellbeing, with scales presented in a star shape and measured on a clearly defined ‘Journey of Change’.

The Outcomes Star is completed as part of conversations between individuals and support practitioners such as key workers. All workers complete a one-day training course as a minimum, focused on how to complete the Star collaboratively and how to use the Journey of Change to target action planning.

There are over 30 versions of the Star tailored to different sectors, settings and service user groups, such as The Family Star Plus for working towards more effective parenting, or the Well-being Star for people with long-term health conditions (figure below).

The Wellbeing Star focuses on eight areas that patients, doctors and other health professionals have identified as being central to maximising well-being and independence when living with a long-term health condition.

The outcome areas are supported by research evidence showing for example, the importance of addressing social isolation, poor mental health and material hardship among those with long-term health conditions (Emerson, Honey, Madden  & Llewellyn, 2009; Mossabir, Morris, Kennedy & Blikham, 2014).

Both the development process and the use of the Stars in practice are based on the empowerment, collaboration and integration principles of Participatory Action Research (Lewin, 1946).  They aim to empower service users to be active participants, working collaboratively to devise solutions alongside professionals.  The Outcomes Star has been said to encourage a “reversal of role, underlined by power and knowledge, usually represented in evaluations by the powerful funder, the mediating evaluator and a less powerful service user” (Ardvison & Kara, 2013, p.13).

In the Star development process, service users, managers and key workers take part in workshops and provide feedback on the tool as part of an iterative process. 

All versions of the Stars are then tested for at least 6 months in frontline settings, with feedback from all parties captured and the psychometric properties of the Star examined.  This makes sure that the constructs and language in the tool are relevant, robust and as helpful as possible for the people who use the tool.  A review of existing literature in the sector is also undertaken to support development (for more information, see MacKeith, 2011.)


In contrast to many outcome measures, completing the Outcomes Star is an integral part of keywork and is intended to support as well as measure distance travelled.

Emphasising the keywork benefits, a team leader using the Wellbeing Star in a community Pulmonary Rehabilitation team, notes that “used as part of initial conversation with someone referred to the service, the Star provides a consistent structure for that first interaction, and the information captured with the Journey of Change helps the team prioritise the right mix of interventions and personalise the programme so it can be as effective as possible”.

This team is led by an Occupational Therapist and uses the Wellbeing Star alongside clinical measurement tools in a 6-week programme helping people with lung or respiratory complaints manage and live well with their condition.

The integration of outcomes, measurement and keywork can minimise the resistance often encountered when measurement is seen simply as a ‘tick box exercise’ and means of surveillance. Organisations using the Outcomes Star report that the process of engaging with the Journey of Change and reflecting on the data can itself result in positive movement and naturally facilitates person-centred and outcomes-focused action planning (York Consulting, 2013). Formal research is planned to evaluate the impact of the Star as an intervention in itself.

Service users respond positively to the Outcomes Star, and value being involved in identifying their strengths and needs and of seeing their progress visualised on the Star.   The Journey of Change underpinning the scales is strengths based and identifies progress in terms of attitude, motivation, and engagement with services as well as changes in practical circumstances and behaviour. There is a growing consensus that these outcomes are important to achieving longer term change and maintenance of positive change and well-being (McNeil, Reeder & Rich, 2012).

How Learning a Foreign Language Can Give You a Career Edge
February 28, 2020

With the search for employment becoming increasingly complex, it might feel impossible to stand out. Learning an additional language can open doors in a career and broaden employment opportunities.

Here are just four of many reasons why learning a new language may help you stand out from the pack.

A second language offers a point of difference

Knowledge of a foreign language is extremely valuable and can impress the hiring department of companies looking for new intakes. An additional language on your CV could be the thing to make you stand out over a pile of applications. Not only is it a useful skill to possess, but the act of learning a new language also demonstrates commitment and flexibility, which only increases your employability.

You’re a great candidate for global companies

Many companies want workers who can travel overseas and explore new business opportunities or greet overseas visitors. In an age that’s only becoming more interconnected, overseas travel is more and more necessary for workers in large-scale businesses. Being fluent in another language can open a lot of doors — some of these may even be plane doors.

You’ll have improved confidence and communication

Learning a foreign language can improve other areas of speech and presentation. Acquiring a new skill can give your confidence a boost, which can only make you a more appealing prospect for employers. Also, the development in learning one language only makes you a better communicator in your primary language — the need to rehearse speech out loud bodes well for when you present to clients, boards or other workers.

Your memory and capacity for multitasking is greater

Learning another language takes a lot of memory practice, as the constant rehearsal and consolidation of new knowledge requires continual usage of your memory. It also sharpens your mental processes, as the amount of energy and power required to discern between two languages increases your overall brain capability.

The constant switching between different languages also increases the brain’s reaction to changing between stimuli, which in turn makes for more effective multi-tasking.

TUPE’s Application to Workers
February 25, 2020

According to a recent employment tribunal case the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (‘TUPE’) do apply to workers

The employment tribunal previously considered the question of whether TUPE applies to workers in 2013 in the case of John McCririck v Channel 4 Television Corporation and IMG Media. It held that a worker could be considered an employee for the purposes of TUPE because of the language in regulation 2(1). In particular, it stated that this was the very purpose of the phrase ‘under a contract of services …or otherwise’.

This view was supported by the Court of Appeal case Governing body of Clifton Middle School and others v Askew, which considered that all that was necessary for TUPE to apply was some form of contractual relationship between the worker and the employer.

The employment tribunal in Dewhurst v Revisecatch & City Sprint considered this point in more detail. The tribunal looked at other employment legislation and noted that the Equality Act and the Working Time Regulations both provide protection for workers under the definition of ‘employee’. The employment tribunal went on to consider that the only parties excluded from the TUPE definition of employees are independent contractors without any employment rights.

It is highly likely that the decision in Dewhurst will be appealed, and if the judgment is upheld this will have considerable implications for employers going through a TUPE process.

If the decision is upheld on appeal workers will automatically transfer to the new employer under TUPE. This means the transferor and the transferee will need to inform and consult with the representatives of both employees and workers.

This is perhaps more complicated than it first appears – workers will need to be considered when making decisions in relation to trade union recognition, the structure of and election of employee/worker representation, and the implications of any changes expected to occur after the transfer is complete. Due diligence exercises will need to be robust to capture any ‘woodwork’ workers and transferees will rely on more comprehensive warranties.

Although the decision is yet to be confirmed on appeal employers should consider workers when making TUPE arrangements.

Transferees should undertake increased due diligence on the business’ entire workforce. This will include considering the relationship between the transferor and its contractors who may actually be classed as workers.

Tread carefully, as treating an individual as though they are covered by TUPE may give weight to an individual’s argument on worker status, but failure to include a contractor who is in fact a worker in the process means that they may be exposed to claims.

Even though workers may be protected by TUPE they will not enjoy protection from unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act.

Nickie Pickernell is a member of the employment law team in the London office of McGuireWoods

The Lie of Overwork and How it’s Harming Us
February 11, 2020

Bruce Daisley, a former Google, Facebook and Twitter executive, says he’s seen the damage of overwork, which often takes years or decades to manifest itself in poor health.

Often it’s the lie we tell ourselves — that the success of this organization is down to the immense hours that we’re working — and we neglect the harm that it’s doing to us,” he argues. 

Full Story: Chief Executive online

Are You Tackling Modern Slavery in Your Midst?
January 31, 2020

Almost five years after the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act, what are HR departments doing to make sure their organisations are not at fault?

Many people associate slavery with a bygone era. Yet there are around 25 million people in slavery in the world today – more than the population of Australia and more than at any point in recorded history.

To address this issue, in March 2015 the Modern Slavery Act received Royal Assent. The Act was introduced to combat modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK and set out new requirements for organisations.

These requirements include publishing a statement spelling out the steps the business has taken to ensure there is no slavery in the business or its supply chains.

But almost five years on from its creation, has the Modern Slavery Act achieved what its backers hoped it would? And what role can and should HR play in rooting out modern slavery from organisations?

When the Act was introduced it was considered ground-breaking and it has led to some positive change, says Susan Banister, head of business development at the Slave-Free Alliance.

But, if the events of 2019 are anything to go by, modern slavery is very much alive in the UK. Back in July members of a West Midlands criminal gang were jailed for their part in the biggest modern slavery network ever exposed in the UK. Dubbed Operation Fort, the investigation uncovered a network of more than 400 victims.

Banister feels part of the challenge is that traffickers have become more “entrepreneurial and innovative”.

“We had a number of businesses that got caught out in Operation Fort, but had the HR team been more aware, and had staff been trained to look for the signs of modern slavery, we think that they would have picked up that there were victims in their organisation,” she says.

“People are not looking in their own organisations because they don’t think it could happen to them. As a result people are being hidden in plain sight.”

For many involved in recruitment modern slavery simply isn’t on their radar, says Ian Pettigrew, director and coach at Kingfisher Coaching and trustee of Retrak, a charity that helps street children across Africa.

HR’s role

“Most HR people are ignorant of modern slavery and trafficking,” says Pettigrew. “If you have a chat with the average HR person they are probably no better informed about modern slavery and trafficking than the average person on the street.”

He doesn’t believe HR has made a conscious decision to ignore the issue though. “I think HR is constantly being bombarded with new legislation and with business change, and this is something that just hasn’t made it on the radar. I think it’s genuinely just a lack of awareness.”

HR can’t afford to stay in the dark any longer, says Banister, as – government penalties aside – there is also a growing financial imperative to conform. “The City is now looking at compliance and sustainable businesses because they want to be investing and lending to businesses that tick all of those boxes,” she says.

One company leading the charge on this front is CCLA, which manages investments exclusively for charities, religious organisations and the public sector.

In November the charity fund manager brought the issue into the spotlight again, when it claimed that virtually every company in the UK has connections to slavery somewhere in its operations and warned that little progress had been made since the Modern Slavery Act came into force.

“What we’ve seen is a lot of companies have stood up and developed really good policies, processes and modern slavery statements related to the work that they’re doing, but we are slightly concerned that with 25 million slaves in the world – and despite these modern slavery processes and policies being put in place – very few companies are actually finding or reporting finding instances in their supply chain, and we think that’s really odd,” explains James Corah, head of ethical and responsible investment at CCLA.

“So there’s a real mismatch between what people recognise as the scale of the problem, what people say they are doing, and the results of what they’re doing.”

CCLA has developed an initiative called ‘Find it, Fix it, Prevent it’ to help companies identify and address issues of modern slavery in their supply chains.

“Normally I go to companies and talk to them about how ‘we want you to make sure that you’re not finding a human rights abuse’, whereas actually this programme is all about saying ‘you have it, it’s in your supply chain, we’ll help you find it and fix it’.

“And instead of vilifying the people who’ve done the right thing and stood up and found it, we should actually be celebrating those who have policies and processes in place that are working,” says Corah.

He acknowledges that this will require a “huge, huge mindset change” – something that HR is well placed to shift.

Quintin Lake, executive director at Fifty Eight, which works with organisations to improve working conditions in their global supply chains and address the challenges of modern slavery, says HR should also be setting policy and assessing practices on how an organisation engages with and contracts temporary or agency labour providers.

“Temp and agency labour is a known area of modern slavery risk in the UK – particularly in organisations that use seasonal or low-skilled agency labour in sectors such as agriculture, catering, cleaning, security, hospitality and logistics,” says Lake.

“Migrant employees/workers are most at risk of modern slavery in the UK, and special attention needs to be given to policies and practices relating to migrant workers. Even if robust HR policies are in place, migrants may have experienced exploitation in the early stages of recruitment and migration. Checks should be in place to help identify these issues and provide support or remediation.”

Lake adds that HR also has a vital role to play in supporting procurement and operations teams in the way they engage with suppliers on modern slavery due diligence to better identify issues or improve practices.

Awareness in the Workforce

It is a sentiment echoed by Melanie Flogdell, divisional HR director at waste management compay Biffa. Since 2016 Biffa has been working with international anti-human trafficking charity Hope for Justice on a programme that promotes awareness of modern slavery among the workforce.

“We fully recognise the important role that we as a business can play in supporting the fight against modern slavery,” says Flogdell. “We review all potential modern slavery risks related to our business and undertake training for managers and employees to ensure that we minimise risk of slavery in the company.”

Flogdell goes as far as to say HR should be the one taking the lead in this area.

She says: “We are the conscience of the organisation and the guardians of our people – but it needs business buy-in, particularly procurement and risk and executive support.”

ARTICLE BY: Simon Creasey

Ex-Charity Worker Convicted of Giving Unlawful Immigration Advice
January 17, 2020

London City Associates Director, Alexandra Zernova to pay £5,500 after pleading guilty to providing unlawful immigration advice.


Alexandra Zernova, sole Director of London City Associates and former employee of charity Solicitors International Human Rights Group, (SIHRG), appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday 13 January for sentencing following a successful prosecution brought by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Ms Zernova of London, had pleaded guilty on 13 January 2020 to seven charges of providing unlawful immigration advice through her company London City Associates. At sentencing she was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

The offences occurred whilst Ms Zernova was working as an education and training officer at SIHRG. Following Ms Zernova’s departure from SIHRG, the charity became aware she had been providing illegal immigration advice and alerted the OISC.

Upon sentencing the Magistrate said:

“You knew that you were not to provide these services. That is for good reason…Those who seek immigration services are often the most vulnerable. You know about these things as you trained in this, you are trained about clients, about their vulnerabilities and about the duty on us as a profession to abide by the highest standards of ethics towards our clients. You did not do that.

“The offences are aggravated by it being over a number of years with several distinct clients. There is no guidance on sentencing for such an offence. I have noted the aggravating features as I see them, but also the fact that you have cooperated as far as I can tell, and your guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. I will deal with you by way of a fine. This is the first time I do so with one of these cases. I take these offences seriously, as it undermines the legal protections in this country.”

John Tuckett, OISC Commissioner said:

“Immigration services are regulated to protect some of the most vulnerable in our society and to ensure people are getting the advice they need. This is why all immigration advisers must be registered by the OISC or be a qualified lawyer to ensure they meet standards in knowledge and ethics.

“We are pleased with today’s result, and that we have been able to bring forward another successful prosecution. However the length of time Ms Zernova was able to operate illegally reinforces the importance of people or organisations like the SIHRG coming forward and reporting knowledge of poor or illegal immigration advice to the OISC.”

December 30, 2019

ARTICLE BY Kirstin Furber

Why is it important we keep learning?  Whether we like it or not, we are learning every day:  it might be a new way of buying a product or using a phone that has updated technology. All this change and innovation means we need to embrace learning.  

The world we are living in is complex, competitive, fast and busy. In such an environment, it’s critical organisations focus on learning and constantly develop their capability. Many organisations have adapted their learning model from one of traditional classroom teaching to a blended learning approach including face to face presentations, coaching and learning whilst doing. These methods embed learning quickly and fit better in busy work days. There are also some skills we can’t go on a course to learn, especially in digital space, as the work has not been done before and therefore the learning is very much on the job, through trial and error.

With the ability to learn its critical for organisations to remain competitive, adapt and stay ahead of the competition, how do we create a learning environment that supports individuals being their best? With the five characters of a human culture as a foundation, I believe companies need to focus on the following five areas:

1.Purpose: Purpose provides organisations with a direction, a mission to get behind, and the opportunity to communicate how each employee’s role contributes to that purpose.  A clear purpose also provides ‘guard rails’ and focus.  When everyone is learning, creating new ideas, and developing as individuals and as a group, it’s easy to get off track. Having a clear purpose that everyone understands and buys into means that ideas can flourish ‘on strategy’ and be translated into action.

2.Authentic Leaders: We know leaders are important role models, in everything they do and I have blogged before about the importance of authentic leadership.  Leaders have an opportunity to create an environment of learning through ‘bringing the external in’ and by ensuring the organisation does not get too internalised. Reading and sharing, participating at conferences, bringing speakers in to contribute new ideas and perspective, and by creating an environment of curiosity where it is safe to ask questions, is the perfect environment for learning to take place.  Remembering that they should always be open to learning also enables leaders to learn from their teams. After all, one of the best ways to learn is to have your thinking challenged. It’s important to be open to doing things differently and to update your perspective as the world changes. Authentic and vulnerable leaders who admit they don’t know everything, keep learning. 

3.Telling your story: Learning is about sharing and translating lessons learned into every day operational best practice.  Organisations that provide ways for individuals to share their learning with others both informally, e.g. at team meetings, and formally (through films, podcasts, or via company intranets) allow this translation of learning into the organisation to happen in the most organic way possible. This helps learning embed in the organisation.

4.Diversity: We all learn differently, and its critical organisations taken this into account. Some of us like to read about a subject in-depth, form views and then debate, others like a planned learning approach with many different forms of content: video, discussions, face to face sessions. The reflectors among us can get annoyed with a discussion group full of extroverts’ whist the extroverts are feeling very much in their comfort zone. Companies should enable time for reflection and processing as part of learning as well.  Cultures, physical and mental health, and learnings styles all need to be considered alongside how best to use technology to customise learning so it lands well enabling people to engage with it for maximum impact.

5.Workplace: Finally, where do you learn best?  Traditional learning used to always be offsite, but with budget cuts and because of people’s productivity suffering if they’re out of the office for long periods of time, this has changed. Training has moved to ‘bite-sized’ learning with different views on timing, ideally no more than 90 minute learning sessions, for individuals to learn best, as outlined in this article.  Some of us like to learn at home, in the cafe, with others, in the office.  With learning being produced, delivered and customised through a variety of learning platforms, opportunities for where and when employees can learn are expanding. Some of us are better at learning in the morning, others in the evening, we should factor that into our learning approach. What is the best period of time to learn? To brainstorm? To make a decision?  To create an environment where employees can learn, all of these factors need to be considered when developing a curriculum.

A learning environment does a number of things: it builds capability to drive performance and helps attract the best because of an attractive development offering. It also helps retain the best because they grow and develop by utilising new found skills in a number of ways, especially when promotions or pay rises aren’t an option.

Creating an environment where it is easy to learn goes a long way to creating an environment where people can be their best selves at work because an environment where everyone can learn is one where everyone can flourish.

Kirstin Furber – Chief People Director of ClearScore

Is Flexibility the Key to the Modern-Day Workforce?
December 6, 2019

The concept of flexible working arrangements has been a game-changer in recent years, allowing workers to meet personal responsibilities while still fulfilling the requirements of their role.

Is Flexible Working Key To Attracting New Talent?

A flexible working arrangement usually refers to where the work is completed from (i.e., from home or the office) and when it is done. While the list of benefits is exhaustive, there are also potential pitfalls to be wary of. We take a look at both sides.

A shortcut to a better work-life balance 

Flexibility in hours can help workers at any age or with any type of lifestyle. Working to a schedule or from a location that benefits the worker can allow people to live regionally and still work in capital cities, and it can give parents the opportunity to spend more time with family. Those with mental health issues can greatly benefit from a more flexible schedule. Lessening the pressure of these everyday life stressors can lead to better focus while at work. 

Time saved on commuting 

The time saved on a commute gives people extra hours each week that would usually be spent travelling to and from the premises. Even the introduction of flexible hours can reduce commute time, as employees aren’t required to travel at peak times.

Morale and productivity

Improved morale is the biggest positive involved with flexible working. Giving workers more choice in how they organise their working week has links to higher enjoyment at work, as well as increasing productivity. By offering flexibility in contact hours, employees feel more in control of their schedule and can better meet their health, social and family needs. 

Financial benefits for the business 

Companies who encourage flexible working arrangements often increase their revenue through less personal leave taken by workers. Better morale generally translates into a lower staff turnover and thus reducing hiring costs.


This one really depends on the type of person and level of accountability required in the role. Working from home or in the office at times that others are not around does sound enticing; however, it’s all too easy to use work hours to attend to household chores or personal errands. It can be a great exercise in discipline for those easily distracted.

Remote collaboration can come with its challenges 

Despite technology allowing workplaces to communicate from anywhere, some meetings, pitches or critical interviews are best done in person. The extent of these challenges does come down to the type of person, how outgoing they are and how comfortable they are contributing to meetings over video or phone.  

Switching off takes more discipline

Sitting on the couch under a blanket or working with a cuppa on the porch can be just the thing to meet a big deadline. However, bringing work into the home environment can make it difficult to draw a line between working hours and relaxation time. The same goes for having flexible hours — some may find it difficult to switch off and not remain contactable at all times.  

Food for Thought
October 25, 2019

Sharing two images which may give you food for thought.