Could flexible working be the key to a healthier work-life balance in 2015? The UK Government recently approved legislation that means from 30th June 2014, any employee has the right to request flexible working, for any reason, and employers are required to give the request "reasonable consideration." Of course this doesn't mean we're suddenly going to have thousands of people across the UK working from their sofa in front of Jeremy Kyle with a cup of tea and a laptop, but it does open up the possibility for individuals to find a new way of working that allows them to achieve a healthier work/life balance. In reality, flexible working is happening for most businesses already, and if you're the kind of person that sends emails from their mobile at night or does preparation for a meeting on the train, you're already doing it. But why not stop to consider what else you could be doing to make the most of time? Working from "the cloud": Many people will go into the office every day because that is where they have everything they need to do their job. However, in today's connected world there is a wealth of technology and software out there that can enable people to access documents and collaborate with colleagues just as efficiently as if they were in the same room. Just think of the extra time you would have by cutting out the need for a daily commute into the office. Condensing your hours: Would you be able to get the same amount or more! work done in four days of ten hours, rather than the usual eight hours Monday to Friday? If so it might be worth condensing your hours to save a day of commuting and give yourself a whole extra day of quality time. Finding a working environment that suits you: As long as your company has the technology and infrastructure to support flexible working, you might find you can be more productive while you are shut away at home, sat in a coffee shop or even getting some air in the park. Escaping the office, even occasionally for a change of scenery, can free you from distractions that are taking you away from key tasks, inspire a bit of creativity and generally relieve some of the stresses and pressures associated with the office. Staggering your hours: Does your job really require you to stick to the same set hours as everybody else, or would it actually be a benefit to the company if staff's start and finish times were staggered either side of core business hours? By shifting your working day earlier or later than the traditional 9 to 5 you can miss rush hour traffic giving you a quicker commute, or even make sure you've always got time for a gym session in the morning, you're free for dropping the kids off at school or you're back in time for precious kids' story before bed. The reality is flexible working isn't right for everyone. It might not be practical for your particular role or you might simply not have the self-discipline to perform as well when you are outside the office environment. However, the most important thing to take away is that working isn't a one-size-fits-all thing, and YOU now have the power to tailor-make a solution that gives you control of how you live your life.
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