Flexible working can be a good thing, even in a downturn

Your article ‘Downturn triggers debate over ways to cut staff costs’ (News in Depth, DW 29 January) made me both spit and smile.

Your article ‘Downturn triggers debate over ways to cut staff costs’ (News in Depth, DW 29 January) made me both spit and smile.

It seems that the economic crisis may finally be forcing employers to think in a more flexible, up-to-date way, a way that working mothers have been thinking for a long time.

Thanks to an enlightened employer, I have been able to return to work after the birth of both of my children, and now work a four-day week as a sales person.

I couldn’t believe the dinosaur views expressed by Omar Honigh.

We are a small business too, with several part-timers, but we make it work.

I think Honigh does his clients a disservice when he assumes they wouldn’t be able to handle the fact that people weren’t there one day a week.

Hello? What about modern communication techniques, like telephones and e-mail?

In our office, we use old-fashioned teamwork to cover each other’s workloads, and if you really need to speak to someone on their ‘day off’ (ever spent a day with two toddlers?) then you can simply ring them up.

Hopefully, our clients understand – some of them may even be part-time themselves.

Surely, the design industry should lead the way in creative employment attitudes.

Most working mothers that I know are so happy to be able to work flexible hours that they are more conscientious and loyal than ever. They also usually achieve the same amount of work in their reduced timetable that they did before.

Flexible working hours can work for the employer. They can help to retain experienced, knowledgeable staff and keep recruitment costs low.

If the downturn encourages more employers to consider flexible hours, due to requests from mothers or for other reasons, then that can only be a good thing.

Abigail Chandler, Viaduct UK, by e-mail



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