Give the gift of flexible working this Christmas

Balancing work with Christmas doesn’t have to be hard. Tracey Allison-Ward, People Policy Consultant at Telefónica UK, explains how you can have an unforgettable Christmas for all the right reasons.

As the old jazz tune goes, “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)”. This is particularly true for how you balance your work and home life, especially at this time of year, with its unpredictable weather, Christmas shopping demands, school plays and interruptions from winter bugs.

At O2, flexible working isn’t something we only offer our people at Christmas; it’s just something we do all year round. One of the main challenges we faced was changing the way people think. We put the tools and the policies in place to enable our people to work from anywhere – then it was just about making our people realise that if the weather is treacherous, or if they’re waiting for a delivery, it’s fine to work from home.

We also needed to challenge accepted habits. People in our Leeds office would often travel the 200 miles to Slough for a two-hour meeting. This just isn’t necessary anymore; so we always push for a video meeting or conference call instead.

It’s ideal for the environmentally conscious too – the CO2 saved each year from cutting out travel to meetings is staggering. In the month following the launch of flexible working at O2, we saved an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 in reduced commuting – enough to fill Big Ben three times. This equated to an estimated 100,000 saved miles for our people – that’s enough to take you around the globe four times.

We believe that flexible working helps to keep our people happy. Great people are the key to making our business work, so we want them to stay with us as long as possible. Offering flexible working is a great perk to attract and retain good people.

It’s working for us. Since extending our approach to flexible working in June 2012, our research shows that more than 60% of our people make use of it more than once a week, feel more productive and are confident they will continue to use it.

A nice side-effect of flexible working is there are more free desks for people who still enjoy coming into the office every day.

So this Christmas your people needn’t miss special Christmas deliveries, worry about driving into the office in hazardous conditions, or struggle to find childcare. The right tools and a positive change in mindset are all that’s needed to create harmony in the way work and life go together.

To find out more about getting your business set up for flexible working, visit o2.co.uk/enterprise/our-solutions/joined-up-people/flexible-working or call Matt Worth on 01235 433 507.