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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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O2 pilots shift-switching initiative for frazzled working parents

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O2 has started piloting a scheme to enable parents working at three of its stores to swap shifts among themselves in order to better meet their childcare needs.

The so-called ‘Working Families’ Contract’ enables groups of between two and four working mums and dads to decide between themselves how to cover their shifts over the course of a month. The aim is to help participants balance their work commitments with activities such as the school run, children’s holidays or unplanned emergencies.
 
Ann Pickering, the mobile phone operator’s HR director, said: “We recognise that family comes first and we want to make it as easy as possible for our people to be there for their family when they need to be, whilst managing their job responsibilities.”
 
The importance of work-life balance in determining loyalty and job satisfaction among the firm’s 11,500 staff was “integral to us offering our customers the best service possible”, she added.
 
The trial will take place at the company’s stores at the O2 arena in Greenwich, Edinburgh and St Albans and will be aimed primarily at workers who intend to remain with the firm into the long-term.
 
The Contract was developed with support from the Mumsnet web site, which was set up to provide mothers with advice about parenting and other family issues, as part of its Family Friendly programme. The programme aims to boost organisations’ parent-friendly employment practices.
 
 
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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