Spotlight on: Anna Whitehouse, Mother Pukka
I kicked my week off with a bang and interviewed Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka for Support Local magazine! Wanting to find out more about Flex Appeal we dived straight into the hot topic:
How did Flex appeal begin and why is it so important? It all started when I was doing the nursery run, I was routinely late getting there around three mins past 6pm. I was being charged a pound for every minute I was late and it ended up feeling as though I wasn’t living but more just mentally surviving. So I asked my employer for a little flexibility and requested 15 minuets either side of my day. Unfortunately they said no as it would open the floodgates to others seeking to do the same thing. I guess my main question here was why that would be such a big issue? I quit the day after and launched flex appeal, I posted on social media about not being able to make it work no matter how determined and career driven I was. I wanted to understand why people weren’t asking for flexible working. I’m not campaigning for it to be made available, but campaigning for it to be used. Its all about creative thinking rather than seeing the business world in the same old structure its always been and holding the hand of employer and employee to do it. There are lots of case studies showing businesses actually saving money by getting behind flexible working, BT being one of them. I want to highlight the good, its not about mums wanting to spend more time with their kids its about people wanting to live and thrive not just survive. Theres been lots of governmental lobbying and at the moment you can only request flexible working if you’ve been working for more than twenty six weeks in a role sow e’re looking into that. People often don’t progress in their career as they are worried that if they apply for a promotion they may loose their flexible working, we want to change that. Some people are also expected to cram the same five day a week job into four days for less pay which isn’t flexible working.
So flexible working isn’t just for parents? No its for everyone, some examples of people who might request it are people with disabilities, people with elderly parents, not just mums, its for people who just want to live. Flexible working is often seen as just a parental issue, so we want to find out why is it seen like that. Flexible working is about being creative, job shares, new thinking. For example there is an app in whitehall which is a bit like Tinder for jobs! You meet up for lunch, chat over what you’re looking for and put yourself forward for a job share.
Any tips for someone approaching their employer about flexible working? Go in positively with business in mind. Don’t get to the point where you’re saying “I need this” do it before it gets to that point. Knock them dead with a power point presentation, suggest a trail period.
Talking about smaller businesses, do you think there is more or less room for flex working? I think there are different challenges for different sizes of businesses. For example a customer service based business might find flexible working easy because they can sit at home answering calls. Its about thinking creatively.
Can you tell us a bit more about being an influencer, did it take a long time to establish a voice? And what would your tip be for anyone looking to find theirs? My first post about flexible working was to my 62 followers and got 200 comments so its grown massively since then. I think this is when I realised this was an important topic and I could really make a difference. My suggestion to anyone wanting to shout about something they are passionate about is just if you believe in it do it and if you don’t get a huge response do it anyway.
Interview by Hope Marshall Owner of Support Local Magazine
To find out more about Anna click here