By Jan Morissette Gernale



Flexible working is often portrayed on social media as starting work as soon as you roll out of bed, which can discourage individuals who treat it as such. Flexible working can have many individual benefits, which if exercised, can boost your productivity, health and well-being.


Did you know flexible working has been around since the 1960s, originating from an aerospace company based in Munich?! You could say it pretty much started within technology and engineering, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the term ‘flexitime’ was adopted in the UK. This was when individual organisations began implementing their standards for employees’ start and finish times, particularly to give more parents enough time for school drop-offs and pickups. Although many tech companies were already operating with flexible working hours before 2020, it wasn’t until the workforce was expected to go back into the wider world post-pandemic that this became a bigger topic of discussion. 


A core aspect of what makes flexible working great is the freedom it gives you to schedule and plan your calendar around not just your career, but also life commitments. Whether you’re an early morning riser, an afternoon person, or a night owl, flexiwork can help to work around your body clock especially if you are working in global teams that may require you to adapt to different time zones.

As women, our internal clock can fluctuate throughout the month, especially with the highs and lows of our hormonal cycles – some weeks may be more productive than others. Flexi-work can help you ride those peaks of productivity to smash your goals but also provide a little support during times when you may need to slow down or recoup.


Check out cycle tracking apps such as Clu or Apple Health – they can help you track your cycles and symptoms, and log any bodily changes to help you predict when you might need to adjust your schedules!

Becoming more vocal can encourage your teams to become more open-minded about topics like menstrual cycles or menopause. According to the National Health Institute, 40% of women with endometriosis reported that it has impaired their careers. Flexible working can offer the opportunity for women who suffer from chronic illnesses to continue working at their own pace, with support to thrive in their careers if they choose to do so. It’s not only beneficial for women in the organisation, but can also create wider awareness for everyone to speak up about what support they may need that can be addressed through flexible work. 

Flexible work even alleviate the stress and anxiety of scheduling and attending medical appointments that can often only be scheduled during the weekdays. It helps to encourage more employees to put forward their physical well-being, which can lead to a health-driven, positive and trusting environment.


Flexible working can greatly benefit our mental health for various reasons, especially for women who may be juggling family life, studies or other responsibilities alongside their jobs. According to this article, 51% of women have considered leaving their jobs due to stress, which often stems from long working hours or being overwhelmed with work. 

We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and sometimes we may even feel guilty about shutting our computers earlier than 5pm or taking longer lunch breaks to get some fresh air or exercise. But that shouldn’t be the case! You’re not a machine. Your mind and your body need time to rest to restore energy and mental resources. Fitting in some time to go to the gym during the workday, or even some meditation time outside to soak up the sun can help to calm your central nervous system down and shift brain states

But you can do that in the office too right? Perhaps for some, but not always! Some women may feel too shy to do so in the office or fear they will get reprimanded if not seen by their desks. This goes back to being able to build trust and open communication amongst teams, and allowing for staff to manage upwards as well as create a healthy relationship with their management.

  1.  Set a daily routine on your calendar to take some rest during the day away from the screen. Make this be 10 – 20 minutes minimum, twice a day to recharge
  2.  We know it might be tempting to bring your laptop to the dining room table during lunch or even an early dinner, [#GUILTY] but try to have your meal away from your devices as this will help you chew more mindfully and also aid digestion
  3. Tech can be your friend! Some devices, such as Apple watches, can also remind you to stand up, meditate and even warn you if your heart rate drops as a sign to get up and do something for your body


According to Owl Labs research, 83% of remote employees feel they operate at the same, if not higher, productivity level than they did while working in the office. Some people thrive better in their own environment, whether this be their own home offices, a shared workspace, a coffee shop or even a library. For neurodivergent individuals, flexible working work is greatly appreciated as it allows them to work in environments they feel safe and comfortable in. Flexi-work truly helps to not only be inclusive but also supports the growth and development of individuals to feel nurtured -allowing for better productivity and concentration. It can also help to build trust and autonomy which is an indispensable component of motivation and a key driver of performance and well-being. According to our stats, 52% of our community members would not apply for a role if they had to be in the office 5 days a week. If you are in a management position or lead a team, you might miss out on real talent by not offering remote work to current and potential employees! 


If you like to work in different spaces but get distracted by noise, invest in good earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. Alternatively, if you work better with ambient background noise, then you can play live Cafe sound videos on YouTube or live lo-fi music. Platforms like let you choose different sounds and moving backgrounds to suit the mood you are in.


All this talk about doing something for your mind, body and workspace, leads us to talk about how more women purchase home workout bikes or under-the-desk treadmills to help them stay active during the workday – without leaving their desks. 

Walking around offices or shared spaces can be distracting for others, but can also be frowned upon by ‘desk-job’ types of organisations. However, prolonged periods of inactivity, like sitting down, can lead to negative health outcomes such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. If you are on certain medications, such as contraceptive pills, you might be at a higher risk of thrombosis which can lead to other health implications. 

This is something that is not often openly discussed in organisations but taking preventative measures to protect your health can lead to better work-life balance and career longevity.


In her book ‘Forget Having It All’ Amy Westervelt surmises the working mother’s guilt through the quote “We expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work”. For many working women who are also mothers, it’s common to have guilt and be made to feel like they have to pick either their career or their children. However, this can lead to very quick burnout for women who are lighting the candle at both ends. Many women feel as though they have to sacrifice one or the other, but that doesn’t have to be the case. 

It’s tough being a super-mum but it can also be highly rewarding. However, the reality of being a parent whilst juggling a career to provide for your family and achieve personal goals can get exhausting! 13% of our community have said their current companies do not provide any support around childcare and 29% felt they’ve been discriminated against as a parent working in tech. Flexible working can provide more compassion to parents who may need some time to fit both personal and professional schedules as well as recover from burnout—hopefully resulting in happier and more balanced families and employees who feel more in control of their lives.

Flexible work can help many more women to spend time with their children and experience their growth. Mothers can make it for moments that matter, such as parent-teacher meetings, school events, doctor appointments etc. without having to take leave to do so. Childcare has been the top challenge for 43% of our community, so flexi-time work can help out parents who may not have the access or financial capabilities to afford daycare. In retrospect, this not only benefits parents but also helps children to feel more connected to their families.


A concern many flexible working moms encounter is that working from home may cause work and life boundaries to disappear, and many women feel as though it’s transitioned them into being working housewives. Flexible working may not be for everyone, which is why it is flexible! Having a combination of set days working remotely and in the office may be a good balance to keep both environments separate. Creating healthy boundaries at home is a good place to start creating schedules such as booking meetings in blocks during quieter hours at home, communicating with family about what support you also need and having a dedicated workspace with realistic expectations. 


Have you ever experienced wanderlust? A famous quote once read “Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul”, so why sacrifice the ability to work or travel when you can work AND travel? 73% of our community considered becoming digital nomads, who are known as people who work remotely often from various locations but stay connected to their work with technology.

One day you could be working at a Starbucks in London, and the next week a beach in Bali! Sounds like a dream right? Well, it’s becoming more of a reality for many women who are opting for companies that allow them the opportunity to do just that. As of 2023, 50 countries now also offer a digital nomad visaAccording to our annual community survey 47% considered becoming digital nomads for the freedom to travel. 


Being a digital nomad can truly empower women to take charge of their careers – no matter what level they may be at, whilst developing their wider view and understanding of the world. Travelling can bring you a whole new breadth of knowledge and inspiration that can be reflected in the quality of your work. Away from mundane routines, you get to experience new challenges and grow as a person whilst detaching from learned behaviours that may be hindering your growth. Every region has their own rules and practices, so being a digital nomad can even help you to learn about how different cultures work – and then bring new learnings back to your team!


According to our survey around 78% of our community members think that in the next 10 years, the majority of workers will be hybrid. Based on many factors such as individuals prioritising work-life balance, concerns around the rise of living costs, and efficiency with working smarter not harder becoming contributing factors in the support to changing the traditional workforce.

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