In present day, amongst my family, friends and colleagues; specially due to scarcity of reliable external help (which was plentiful during previous generations) we find that most career mothers (and even many fathers) are always caught up between their family responsibilities and work responsibilities. Actually this has been a common issue globally for decades and decades and that is one of the main reasons for the emergence of the practices of ‘flexible working’.

Any work arrangement which is different to the standard work practices of an organization is called as ‘flexible working’.

It is all about being flexible in the workplace to accommodate personal needs and vice versa. Flexibility can be in terms of working times, work hours and work location. 

In developed countries such as the US, UK, Australia, etc. flexible work arrangements have been practiced commonly for many years now. In fact in most of these countries, there are legislations on flexible working under their employment laws and certain employees (such as care givers, resources with disability and long-term employees) has a statutory right to request for a flexible work arrangement.  As such, today organizations in these countries (even though they are not obligated by law) encourage and support flexible working for its employees and it is thus fast gaining popularity.

Unfortunately in my corner of the globe (in the Asian region, especially in Sri Lanka), these practices are still very rare. However this shouldn’t discourage us from exploring these options locally. After all these options could be your solution. The more the people start requesting, initiating or practicing flexible working, the better the chances for making it more locally acceptable and standardized and even legalized in the near future. It is encouraging to see that organizations such as the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon beginning to value the concepts of ‘flexible working’ and planning for relevant initiatives in the future. (Reference: New Employment Compact for Emerging Sri Lanka)

So my humble request to anyone who is genuinely venturing down this same path; is to get knowledgeable on flexible working and start practicing at some level or other. After all it is You who can Make It Work.

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