Flexible work for small businesses and freelancers

By Guest Contributor Rebecca Harper

Flexible work is a great way to take control of your life and give you the time to achieve your dreams. Whether you’re a freelancer hoping to launch a side project or if you’re a full-time worker dreaming of making your side hustle a full-time project, flexible work can help you achieve your goals. In the UK, flexible work requests are protected by employment law, while in the USA, it’s down to individual companies to decide if they want to offer flexible work arrangements. While the two countries differ in their approach, there the advantages and disadvantages on both side of the pond. Regardless of where you live, there are ways you can make flexible work arrangements work for you.

Flexible work for freelancers

Freelancer

If you work on a freelance basis, you’ve probably experience many the traditional working norms. For many freelancers, the advice is to create a schedule and then stick to it. The theory is that, without structure to your work day, your personal life and work life will merge identifying the balance will be difficult. While keeping your work and personal life separate might be smart advice, it overlooks a major point about freelancing. Many people turn to freelancing as a way to eschew the 9-5 norms. It’s supposed to be about freedom and the ability to define your own passion project. Rather than setting strict work times in order to separate your work life, try creating a dedicated work space. This will allow you to be much more flexible with your work hours, without compromising your personal time and space.

Flexible work for small business owners

Small business owner

Flexible work requests fill small business owners with dread. They are already contending with so many new challenges, so complicating the HR process isn’t always welcome. However, offering flexible working as a small business owner can help to widen the hiring pool. If you are flexible in your approach to shifts and hiring, you could end up with two part-time workers with complementary skills rather than one worker with a limited skillset. For small businesses hoping to grow quickly, offering flexible work also shows that you are serious about the welfare and wellbeing of your employees, which will improve your staff retention and lower your HR costs in the long run. In short, flexible work is a bold move for business owners, but the benefits are well-documented.

Flexible work to help start your business

startup

In the UK, every worker is entitled to request flexible work after 26 weeks of employment with a company. For anyone hoping to launch their own business, requesting flexible work is a great way to free up some time and help you to make your dreams a reality. There’s often a lag between the moment you realise you can make money from your passion and the time that it becomes a viable way to support yourself. By requesting flexible work, you can free up your time, keep a portion of your income and allow you to dedicate your attention to achieving your business potential. Before you know it, your side hustle becomes your full-time job.

Flexible work regulations in the USA and the UK

As mentioned above, the rules for flexible work will vary depending on where you live. In the UK, worker’s rights to flexible work are heavily defended and there only a small number of reasons that an employer can turn down a flexible work request. All you need to do is submit a written application for flexible work and outline how you imagine the arrangement will work. If you want to work fewer hours, you will have to offer a solution as to how you are planning to manage your workload. If you feel that your request hasn’t been given fair consideration by your employer, then you can involve dispute resolution solicitors to help mediate on your behalf.

In the USA, there is currently no legal recourse if you would like to create a flexible work schedule. It will be down to individual companies to decide if they want to offer flexible work. If your company doesn’t currently offer flexible work, you can always request a change to your work schedule to see if they are amenable to the idea. Many businesses operate daily task using their computer. Assigning schedules and task is now easier than ever. For a small business, there are now resources available to operate their smaller scale management system for an affordable cost. If you decided to turn your passion into a career in dance with a studio, you can easily manage the different instructors with their availability. Having a booking system management system that can manage the employee schedule will put an ease to your business. With many technological resources, businesses can easily rely on affordable options that regulations are not as necessary.