Interview with Skills4Women: Flexibility is key

As part of our guest blog series, Four Day Week has had the opportunity to discuss flexi-work with Shirley from Skills4Women, an organisation that delivers employability workshops for women in the UK. Here’s why she believes flexibility is key.

Skills4Women aims to support women in achieving financial independence through providing skills training in the development of CV’s through to the job application process and interview techniques. 

Have you found a demand for increased flexibility in the workplace through the work of your organisation?

I have found a demand for increased flexibility in the work place particularly in regards to the issue of suitable hours for working mums.

Increased flexibility is helpful, especially in cases where childcare is not subsidised, as flexibility can help to reduce the time children spend in childcare facilities. This can often be from 7am-6pm, which can be extremely costly and in some cases the same cost as a full-time salary. 

Could shorter or more flexible working weeks provide more opportunities for your clients?

Yes definitely as it would provide the time for more of a work life balance, which can contribute to a decrease in stress, illness and mental health all contributing to healthier and happier workforce.

Can you share any examples where flexibility positively benefits women in the workplace?

An example of where flexibility positively benefits women in the workplace is where the woman is the sole provider of a child/ children.

Opportunities to work from home, for example, when there is child illness can be very beneficial as it cuts down on employee absence whilst allowing the parent to continue working instead of having to use up precious annual leave.

In terms of well-being and stability, are these also factors that you consider to be affected by a working schedule?

Yes I believe so, the reason being in some companies and organisations there is often money being saved which shows in terms of staff shortages.

Where this is the case employees have to make up for the shortfall resulting in more time being spent at work and less time being spent at home with children/ family or taking care of oneself.

Increased stress related illness and lack of quality time often result in a more highly stressed and unhealthy workforce who are always trying to play catch up.