Detailed information on how to apply for flexible working, and the practicalities associated with a formal change in contracted hours, is available on the University HR webpage on flexible working.
The possibility to work flexibly is available to all staff, and requests to do so must be done formally.
The flexible working procedure begins with submission of a ‘request for the Flexible working’ form, available on the HR website. If approved, contracts will be formally changed to reflect agreed upon arrangements for working.
SPEIR remains committed to supporting flexible working for staff and encourages staff to discuss their individual circumstances with HR, their line manager, and the Head of School to identify appropriate arrangements.
SPEIR encourages the use of email signatures that support flexible working patterns and emphasises the importance for reasonable work-life balance at meetings.
Examples of flexible working in the School
"I have worked compressed hours since returning to work in 2016 after the birth of my second child. This means that I continue to work a 1.0 FTE but that my hours are compressed over 9 days, so that my agreed upon hours are longer, with a shorter lunch break.
This enabled me to have every other Friday off so that I could look after my children, and relieved some of the financial burden of having two pre-school aged children in nursery. My husband was similarly able to move to compressed hours to look after them on the Fridays when I work.
The process for moving to compressed hours was fairly straightforward, and I was supported in my application by the Head of School. I plan to continue to work this way until my third child goes to school.
At times, it can be difficult to communicate to colleagues that I work some, but not all, Fridays, so I rely on my email signature to ensure people are aware of when I work and when there may be delays in replying to emails."
– Sam Rawlings, Associate Professor in Economics
"I joined the Department of Politics and International Relations as a Lecturer in September 2018. After a year of full-time working, I decided that I would like to reduce my hours to allow me to spend a day at home with my youngest child who was in nursery.
I put in a flexible working request to change my contract to 0.8 FTE/4 days. The application process was straightforward, and my Head of Department and Head of School were both very supportive.
I have maintained this working pattern now that both of my children are in school, to allow me to drop off and pick up on Fridays without wraparound care. My sense is that relatively few people holding similar posts to mine work part-time.
I think sometimes academics are reluctant to reduce their hours because academic work is endless!
There is a perception then that part-time working simply means trying to fit the same amount of work into fewer hours. However, my experience has been that moving to a four-day week has had a significant positive impact on my ability to balance work and family life.
Of course, not all tasks can be reduced, and the time I have available for research has decreased. But because the Department operates a workload model, my core teaching allocation has been reduced by a fifth.
During busy periods, I might have a meeting on my day off, or catch up with admin. But generally, Fridays are protected time, which I find hugely valuable. Having secured a permanent change to my contract, I plan to continue this pattern of working in the long-term."
– Alice Baderin, Lecturer in Political Theory
"I joined the School of Politics, Economics and International Relations in September 2017 as a full-time Executive Support Administrator. A year later I was delighted when my request to work flexible hours was approved by both my Line Manager and the Head of School.
Although employed on a full-time basis, I now work a nine day fortnight and benefit from every other Wednesday away from my desk. This does mean that my working day is slightly longer, at 8 hours, but that is not a problem.
My core hours are also 10:00-16:00 with flexibility to fulfil my remaining working hours to fit around work commitments.
There are occasional events which I have to attend on my days off, but these are always known well in advance and I can alter my day off accordingly to ensure I am able to fulfil the responsibilities of my role in full.
Personally I have benefitted from the flexibility offered by this arrangement and it has been good for my wellbeing and enabled me to balance a busy homelife, the school run, study and full-time employment.
Working from home during the pandemic has enabled further flexibility within my role and, going forward, I will continue to work from home two days a week."
– Vicki Matthews, Executive Support Officer, Office of the School Director of Teaching and Learning