This article was written by Gemma Horton whilst on work experience at GoThinkBig.

So there’s one question which needs answering: do you go straight into work or do you continue studying? For those who want to do both the government could become your best friend. They are hoping the expansion of flexible hours will benefit young workers who want to take up further training or simply go straight into work.  Previously, flexible hours had only been offered to carers and people who had to look after children, but now anyone can apply.

To celebrate Flexible Working Awareness Day, we looked into why flexible hours could be just the ticket if you don’t fancy spending hours in a lecture hall.

Why work flexible hours?

Understandably the thought of paying £9,000 a year in tuition fees can be scary and the thought of moving away from home even scarier. But university isn’t for everyone and many people prefer to work rather than study all the time.

Working flexible hours could offer both training and work in comparison to a debt totalling over £27,000. Besides, most employers’ value experience as much as they do a degree, so long as you try not to use the flexible hours for lie-ins on Monday mornings there’s always the potential to work your way up in a company.

There’s always a downside to most things and there is one with working flexible hours, too. It’s great, but you need to find an employer who is willing to let you work the hours you want to let you do the training you want to do. On the plus side, you can at least ask an employer instead of assuming an outright ‘no’ will be the answer.

A modern approach

Flexible working hours can also give you the opportunity to choose where you work. An O2 Business survey showed that one in three 18 to 24-year-olds would prefer to work somewhere else, like a coffee shop, if they had permission from their employer. Oliver Potter, Managing Director of Wholesale at O2, explained that flexible working can be positive, as long as it’s done smartly. “With the correct technology the case is strong; commuting time saved, business travel avoided, better connected leading to quicker customer or internal response times, more effective use of office space, employees aligning work type to the best environment to get it done. Work is what you do, not a place you go,” he said.

“The answer must be a mixture of the two; smarter working allows businesses and employees to adapt to their role and tasks. Collaborate and innovate together on-site. Work from home on tasks that don’t need lots of creative collaboration. For some employees this will mean working from home frequently, for others very little.”

Some bosses may not be overwhelmed with the idea of their employees working away from the office. There’s always the fear that no work will get done, but showing reliability when working out of the office can help improve your reputation, so obviously watching Netflix is out of the question.

Is it worth it?

The old saying of ‘asking never hurt anyone’ certainly applies here. The worst answer you can receive is a no to working flexible hours. But if you’re certain that working and training is for you then it only makes sense to take advantage of the new flexible work scheme and earn money while learning at the same time.

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