Compressed hours

Working full-time hours but over fewer days.

Paul Trenell

Paul Trenell

Head of Analytical Services

Employer: Civil Service, GEO
Sector: Public Sector

Flexitime Compressed hours

“When our son Joseph was born I moved onto a compressed hours working pattern after my wife Cathy went back to work. Working 10 days in 9 with every other Friday off to look after Joseph allowed us to limit the number of days that he initially went to nursery, helping to get him ready for school gradually, and saving a bit of money on childcare bills!. There were some challenges, and Thursdays were often busy, but that chance to spend some regular father-son time with Joseph was priceless. I taught him to ride his bike and took him on his first camping trip on these days, which are memories I will never forget.

When he started school earlier this year I reverted to full-time, but now use flexi-time to drop him off each morning and pick him up from school early every other Friday, which is a treat. I’ve been very grateful to be able to balance my work and home life like this, and pleased by how supportive bosses and colleagues have been.”

Neil Alexander

Neil Alexander

Enterprise Architect, Technology

Employer: Royal Bank Scotland
Sector: Finance

Compressed hours

“I work full time but I compress my hours into 9 working days each fortnight. I spend every other Monday looking after my 2 children, ages 5 and 1. I also work 2 days a week from home.

After the birth of our first child my wife wanted to get back to work, so we decided it would be good if he wasn’t in nursery 5 full days a week. Working compressed hours allowed me to have some time with him on my own. And it meant one less day of nursery fees!

I spend more time with my 2 kids and have an even better bond with them. Working from home makes it easier for us to balance commuting with the need for nursery pickups – whoever is at home is only 10 minutes away from nursery, rather than 45. My wife also does the same pattern which means that if we need to be in the office on what should be our off days we can swap which allows us to flex to the business needs as well as our own.

With the help of flexible working I can perform my role in a way that provides me with a much better work life balance, without getting in the way of doing the job.I work with 1 other person who uses flexible working but by making sure we spend the same days in the office and plan our face to face activities around them we don’t tend to have any issues.
In terms of working at home I find that there are days that it would benefit me to be in the office rather than at home which means I either swap days or spend more days in the office. The biggest challenge there is making sure we have cover for nursery pickups and that I can book a desk in the office. My line manager was very supportive. When I first started this pattern it was on a 6 months trial to allow me or them to change our minds. 5 years later and no one seems to notice that I’m not around once a fortnight.”

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell

Employer: Barclays
Sector: Finance

Compressed hours

“I now work compressed hours of five days in four, working 08.00 to 18.00. This gives me a day off during the week to spend some real quality time with my family and care for my wife.”

Jonathan Beckett

Jonathan Beckett

Reporting Lead / Product Owner

Employer: Royal Bank of Scotland
Sector: Finance

Compressed hours

“I work compressed hours, taking a Tuesday as my non-working day. The four days that I do work I split between the office (Gogarburn) and Home.

I took the decision to work flexibly when my daughter was born as I wanted to play an active role in her child care. Compressed hours offered me the ideal balance between playing an active part in her care while also continuing to progress in my roles within the bank.
On a personal level I get to spend the day with my daughter which is fantastic.

From a business perspective I’ve found that I have learned how best to effectively use my time.
Overall the number of challenges has been very small. The main one was when a meeting or event was on a Tuesday when I was scheduled to be compressed however this was easy to overcome as on these occasions I would move my non-working day. The ability to log on from home is also great as it means that I can login early in the morning or at night to make sure that I get everything done.

It’s all about compromise, I value the flexibility that RBS gives me so I’m happy to be flexible as well to make sure that the job gets done and done well.
RBS is leading the way in terms of supporting flexible working both in terms of compressed hours and also working from home. I’ve watched flexible working grow over the years and I think this is fantastic for both the business and the staff.”

Joanne Austin

Joanne Austin

Financial Crime Risk Assurance Manager

Employer: HSBC UK
Sector: Finance

Flexitime Working from home and remote working Compressed hours

“I care for five of my closest family members aged between 19 and 79 and who all have different disabilities/illness and needs. My caring role involves facilitating appointments, managing all of my families’ affairs, providing emotional support, dealing with education and healthcare providers and supporting with personal care.

I work a nine-day condensed fortnight which basically means I fit two weeks’ worth of hours into nine days and have a day off once a fortnight. In addition, when appointments arise I sometimes
start early in the morning, take the required break during the day and then work late. I also work from home up to three days a week which makes a considerable positive difference to my well-being.

There are two main reasons why I work from home – it enables me to juggle appointments as my travelling time is minimised by being at home and it also helps me to manage my epilepsy by ensuring I get enough sleep.

Flexible working has its benefits from a work perspective too. I sometimes work with colleagues based in other jurisdictions so I can have calls with them at what would traditionally be classed as unsociable hours. It also enables me to work at quieter times of day and get more done.

I am very grateful for the support I receive from HSBC UK. They provide me with the opportunity to pursue a career together by working flexibly to provide the care and support required by my family. My team are very supportive, there’s always someone to have a coffee and a chat with and to make me laugh, even when things are really difficult. My line manager is equally supportive helping me to manage my workload, giving me a different perspective of things and just being there when I need him. Working at HSBC UK has made a huge difference to my wellbeing and that of my family.”

Hilary Spencer

Hilary Spencer

Director of The Government Equalities Office

Employer: Civil Service, GEO
Sector: Public Sector

Compressed hours

“My husband and I both have jobs we’re passionate about, and when we had our first child, we wanted to make sure we spent proper time with him, but also carried on doing our professional roles effectively. We’ve found that the best pattern for us as a family is that we both work a nine-day fortnight, so we each have a Friday where we spend 1:1 time with our son. When we had our second son, and I was on maternity leave, my husband changed his working pattern to four days a week, so that we could spend more time together welcoming this new addition to our family and supporting our elder son as he started school. We’ve since returned to both doing a nine day fortnight again.

Because we both work this pattern, it means we can swap our days if something urgent comes up at work – and we’re both available to our teams if something crucial comes up while we’re out of the office, but both of our teams respect that we want to spend some dedicated time with our children. Working flexibly in this way has allowed us both to enjoy parenthood and work, and it feels like a good balance for us and our two sons, and for our employers.”

Daniel Feeney

Daniel Feeney

Head of Visitor Services, Buckingham Palace

Employer: Royal Collection Trust
Sector: Tourism

Compressed hours FEATURED

“After my wife returned to work in a senior role with the National Trust we both made the call to take the same flexible working steps, condensing our hours into 4 days so that each of us gets one full day with our son and the full weekend together as a family.

We’re 6 months into it now and it certainly feels like it is working, and indeed we think he is benefitting from having the three days at nursery too in the middle of the week. From a personal perspective, I know that I am benefiting from having a day of dedicated Father and Son time, and am more motivated when in the office knowing that I have an employer who understands how important my role as a Father is to me.”

Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Deputy Director Organisational Development and Design

Employer: Public Health England
Sector: Public Sector

Compressed hours

“When our twin boys were born in 2001 we already had a daughter under the age of three and we needed to balance work and child care while considering the best arrangements for our children.

Maternity leave was shorter then and my wife went back to work part time after 16 weeks. We took advantage of the 8am to 6pm nursery provision but felt we were missing out as our children developed and thoughts turned to me taking one day a week off work.

I was working as a private secretary for a director general in the Department of Health, and at first I didn’t think it would be possible.

However, after discussion with the director general we agreed that I would take Mondays off but remain a full-time employee, so I worked longer days Tuesdays to Fridays.

It was great to be able to take a day off to look after the children, though I sometimes felt guilty that colleagues were working when I was enjoying a sunny morning playing with the children in Battersea Park. That feeling soon passed.

Back then very few men of my generation were out and about with young children. This has radically changed, which is surely a good thing, though clearly there is a long way to go.

In my experience, my managers in the Civil Service have been more open to my request to work flexibly. It has always been a matter of negotiation and discussion in every one of my 10 different roles since starting working flexibly.

I have gained two promotions and am now at deputy director level so it should not be a bar to progression, regardless of gender.

Working flexibly at a senior level has been a really positive experience for me. It can only be a good thing for our health and wellbeing and something we should be proud of in PHE. It is good for us as individuals and reflects well on us as an employer.”

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