Opinion / 18.06.19 / 4 min read

Give it some flex

I recently learned that just 10 per cent of creative jobs are open to people looking for any kind of flexible working. I can’t be the only one surprised that an industry with a constant eye on changing trends should be so far removed from the flexible working revolution. Creative businesses around the UK are choc-full of big brains that begin every new brief by dashing away preconceptions, yet on the day-to-day many of us are still keen to see bums on seats by 9am and think that working late is preferable to starting early.

Give it some flex

So what does that 10 per cent stat say about the workforce in the creative sector? Are we all just superhumans hiding in plain sight, perfectly capable of ‘having it all’ with no need for flexibility? Or have the remote workers, part-timers, parents and carers gone elsewhere – taking their talent, experience and skills with them on their search for work life balance and leaving the wearied majority to the 9 to 5?

Mr B & Friends is proud to be ahead of this curve, having introduced flexible working arrangements years ago. It turns out that happy people make more productive employees, and who would’ve guessed that every one of us is more than capable of assessing our priorities and putting work or home life first accordingly, without core business coming crumbling down.

When I joined Mr B & Friends I had an 8-month-old baby, so flexible working was something I was vocal about from the very start. I, like many other creatives, love my job, and like every other parent, I love my child – it never occurred to me that I’d have to make a choice between the two, and thankfully no-one has ever asked me to. Striking the right balance isn’t easy but if your employer is on side it can be a whole load more realistic.

Over the years I’ve relied on flexi to allow me to drop my son off at nursery every day, to condense my hours to spend quality time with him, to work flexible hours from home when he’s poorly and to attend a variety of ridiculously cute little parties at his nursery. At the same time I’ve been able to stay in a career I value and to keep on striving for more, because I know that at Mr B & Friends flexible working isn’t a barrier to progression.

Louise Lepic, Animator/Creative Artworker & mum (mam)

But don’t just take my word for it; here’s what some of my friends think…

I think when I partnered with Simon at Mr B & Friends we’d both worked in places where the pound of flesh was sought. Working late, hard and long was normal service. I think that’s fine as we’re in a service industry, and deadlines are tight, and to be honest I love what I do, so I don’t have any problem working late. But the relationships with our team are give and take. As Directors we also value downtime and family time, and want our team to have the chance to connect with family and friends.

From a personal perspective, being home for dinner and bathtime, school drop offs and such has meant I’m part of my children’s lives growing up. Now both are teenagers, I’m nearly out the other side – it’s just a lot of Dad-cabs these days! I generally switch back on again in the evenings, and take advantage of flexi working for school events, plays, sport etc.

Our benefits package not only helps to make this happen, but also attracts the best talent. Now we enjoy yoga, fitness sessions, various events, beer club and socials, which while we all want to enjoy flexibility, make it engaging and fun while we’re here.

Steve Richardson, ECD & Dad

And it’s not just the parents that feel this benefit…

Jen Neville – Senior Account Manager & lifestyle guru

Working from home means I can get up and do a workout before work so starting later is nice, plus I can cook something nicer for lunch.

Gareth Atkinson – Senior Planner & style icon

I can get a haircut on my lunch once every two weeks without worrying about taking a longer lunchbreak.

Rosie Bridson – Junior Designer & devoted traveller

Flexi is definitely useful when I’ve got a flight or a long train journey after work.

Neil Lenihan – Creative Artworker & dedicated cricketer

Flexible hours meant I was able to make it back in time for cricket training on Tuesday evenings during the Summer, and make sure I kept my place in the team.

Sarah Dennis

Marketing Director